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Touring Scotland and Ireland - August 2019

             For our long trip in 2019, Felicia, Susie, Larry and I went to Scotland and Ireland for 2 weeks. We drove through
            the Scottish Highlands and drove around southwest Ireland.  Then Felicia drove us across Ireland to Dublin on the
            east coast, and was our designated driver after we took a tour of the Tullamore Dew Whiskey Distillery.
            missed another good trip due to her college schedule, we missed you!

            This is also the year that we decided to travel for 2 weeks with only a backpack each.  When we first started taking
            some long trips, I remember hauling big duffel bags and large suitcases around. We are smarter packers now;
            our packs went into the overhead bins for each of our flights so we did not lose any bags. We were wrinkled but
            happy to travel light.

            Adventures in Getting to Scotland
            Getting to Edinburgh, Scotland turned out to be a lot of work. We bought our tickets 6 months early to go on
            AA and BA flights from DFW >> LHR >> EDI. That was the only thing we booked early on this trip.

            On the day we were to leave we got texts and emails that there was to be a strike at London Heathrow Airport
            starting on the day we were to land there. Instead of a strike, the proper British name is “Industrial Action”. So,
            our flight from Heathrow to Edinburgh was cancelled, just like that, 6 hours before we were to start our trip.
            Many flights from Heathrow were cancelled so I found and bought us 4 tickets on BA from London City Airport
            to Edinburgh. Just a few hours before we were to head off to DFW we got notice that strike had been postponed,
            so now we had 2 sets of tickets to get from London up to Edinburgh.

    Adventures in Eating and Drinking
            I had haggis and black pudding every day we were in Scotland. Tried to drink Scottish beer and had Scotch Whiskies while we
            were there too.  We drank and ate at the oldest pub in Edinburgh,  the White Hart Inn.  This is where we had our first haggis.  
            Then we started to go into the smallest pub in Edinburgh, the Wee Pub, but this place smelled so bad that I never actually got
            inside the door.  In Edinburgh, we also ate at Bertie’s Proper Fish and Chips for two nights in a row.  First visit I had fried Cod
            and chips and lots of beers. Second visit I had to try the fried sausages.
            After 2 days of eating fried food in Edinburgh I felt like I had spent a bad day at the Texas State Fair.

            In Ireland we switched to Guinness and to Irish whiskies. Not bad.  We took a tour of the Tullamore Dew Distillery
            to tell Rhonda we have been there.  We have had shots of Tullamore Dew at Irish pub in downtown Dallas, so that
            and Jamison’s are the only Irish whiskies I know.  Thanks to Felicia for getting us to Dublin safely. Then we went
            on a tour of the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.
 Very popular, but buy tickets online before you get there.

            Adventures with Restaurants and Lodges at Loch Ness
            Susie Googled and found us a good sounding restaurant in Inverness, Scotland.  She typed the address into Google Maps
            to get us to the Main Street of Inverness.  I thought it was strange because the menu had all kinds of southern seafood,
            gumbo and hush puppies.  We looked for that restaurant up and down Main Street in Inverness, Scotland for 10 minutes before
            we realized the Google description for the restaurant was for Main Street in Inverness, Florida!

            Then Felicia got locked inside of a women’s bathroom on a pier outside of Inverness. Something to do with her
            not pushing the green button to get out.  That was pretty funny so we decided we decided to eat seafood there
            at the pier since it was getting late.  Many places in Scotland close early, around 6:30 or so.

            We were scheduled to stay for 2 nights at the Loch Ness Lodge, a really nice 5-star bed and breakfast right on Loch Ness.
            Due to the fact that there are 3 lodges & hotels with the same name and a screw up by Travelocity, we got booked into
            the 0-star Loch Ness Hotel down the street. Susie and Felicia went to look at our rooms and both came back saying
            “I’m not staying here”.  So we left and got 1 nights stay at the very nice Loch Ness Lodge where we had thought we would be
            staying.  I got my first proper Full Scottish Breakfast there.

            We walked beside and drove down the west side of Loch Ness but did not see any monsters.  I had expected something
            like a big, dark scary looking lake but it is a beautiful lake about 30 miles long and less than 1 mile wide.  Water was
            pretty clear. It is pretty remote with high hills and forest all around.     

At left is haggis, tatties and leeks at the White Hart Inn,
the oldest pub in Edinburgh.  
Not everybody gave the haggis a thumbs up.

At right beside my fish and chips is a Scottish Egg
and some black pudding.  
Scottish Eggs are boiled, battered and fried.

Far right is my full Scottish Breakfast including haggis and
black pudding

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         Glamour Camping in Scotland
         So we started out on our 4th day in Scotland with no place to stay that night and no directions to drive towards.
         We drove west to the Isle of Skye on the west coast of Scotland in the Atlantic Ocean and spent most of the day there.
         Very small 1 lane roads with pull outs, lots of fog and rain, several miles of driving on unpaved roads. I could not
         understand their thick accents (but they probably thought the same thing about me) saw tough men wearing kilts
         and no raincoats in the rain (they probably thought the same thing about me).

         Felicia looked for a place to stay when we had cellular coverage, which is not often there in the north Highland
         area of Scotland. She found a place, showed Susie but not Larry and me and booked our place for the night. I have now
         been Glamour Camping (Glamping) in a wooden teepee with living area, king size bed and bathtub all in one room,
         large animal skins tacked to the roof and a loud stream right outside our window. There were 6 wooden teepees
         behind a very old house and a very old church and cemetery.  We rented 2 of the cabins - fun place to stay!

        The wooden teepees (they called them cabins) were outside the tiny town of Ballachulish.  Directly in front of us was
        beautiful Loch Leven and on the other side of the Loch was Britain's highest mountain, Ben Nevis.  We were happy that
        our shortened stay at Loch Ness did not turn into a disaster and we got to see more of Scotland than planned.  From
        Ballachulish we drove south through several national parks to spend the night in Glasgow.