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Fall Fling Scotland Northern Ireland


I see Markun has beaten me to the task, but then they were not stranded an extra 3 days like ourselves!

Made it back safe and sound despite the Superstorm Sandy, and we are starting to get back to normal from the long trip home, with one extra leg/stop more than usual.  Barely made the 45 minute connection in Atlanta, but that was our only choice if we wanted to get back on Friday. (Should have stayed one more day!)

For this first part of the trip report, I will just start off with an overview and some general observations about our 4th trip since 2006, to the Olde Sod (and Scotland).

Not sure I would advise anyone to do 2 separate areas in 2 weeks, even though Northern Ireland and Scotland are technically the same country.  Spent 1 night in Belfast, 7 nights in Scotland, and 6 more in Ireland (plus a bonus 3 nights in Dublin).  If I were to do it over, I would have flown open jaw....into GLA or EDI and back home from DUB or SNN.  We did enjoy the rail-sail, but it took a quite a bit of our time just in traveling to and from Scotland.

After arriving back in Ireland, and driving northward from Knock toward Sligo, all 4 of us in the car agreed that we liked Ireland better than Scotland...probably based on our trip to Southern Ireland for our foursome just 18 months ago.  The  friendliness of the people, the scenery, the pub scene just makes Ireland really hard to top.

More to come.....Dan



-- Edited by murphy on Tuesday 6th of November 2012 05:07:17 PM

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Dan,

Welcome home. Glad you made your close connection in Atlanta. Hope you didn't have to sprint through the airport. We will look forward to your trip report as soon as jet-lag abates and you have the time. Glad to hear that Ireland's appeal did not disappoint...again.

Michele

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Just to clarify:  I am using the Webster definition of "fling" here, not the Urban dictionary definitionbiggrin

Fling: noun  a short period of enjoyment or wild behavior.  (since we were celebrating 2 October birthdays "L" and "DW" it got just a little wild...but overall a very enjoyable trip! 

The idea for this trip was hatched not too long after our last trip to Ireland which was in the Spring of 2011. Had a great trip then with another couple who have been close long-time friends of ours. They say you really should know someone well, in order to spend 2 weeks in close proximity on vacation! We have survived 2 such trips, and we are all still on speaking terms!

L&G are the type of travelers who usually prefer to go the "Globus" route, and we are just the opposite. Really surprised they agreed to try our method....told them some day when we get old, we will try the "Globus" style of travel! Both last trip and this trip, they were content to let me do the lion's share of the planning.

I am of the strong opinion that a motor-coach style of trip to Ireland can NEVER be as good as a self drive due to all the great attractions off the beaten path where you will NOT find the large coaches. We did see a 9 passenger CIE van coming down from the Sleive League Cliffs as we were going up. That is the extent of it...for one of the greatest views in all of Ireland! If stuck solely on a large coach?? you just wouldn't get there! I am aware that for some who are too young or too old to meet the qualifications of renting a car, or who are just to nervous about driving on the left side....the coach tour might be the answer.

"L" called me up one evening in early April, after we both had agreed to start watching the computer for possible good deals on flights to Ireland and/or Scotland. He had spotted a $749 fare available on "One Travel.com" I voiced my concern about using a consolidator, but agreed to take a look. I couldn't find anything really bad about this company so proceeded. From the get-go, the 90 minute layover in Chicago concerned me. After booking the flight, I found out that we would have to change terminals in Chicago AND go thru security again. I was really concerned then, but that problem took care of itself about mid August, when they changed our departing flight from Phoenix....going out earlier, and giving us a little over 2 hours layover in Chicago. One Travel sent us internet notice that the flight had been changed, and we were to respond by clicking "accept" on the exchange box, which we were happy to do. Shortly thereafter, we received notice from Flybe Airlines that our Edi to Knock flight was also to leave early, which was going to make it rough...a 3:15AM wake up call in Edinburgh instead of 5:15!

Unfortunately, One Travel didn't comunicate with the airlines involved. The booking was primarily with Aer Lingus, but they were using code-share partners United from Phoenix to Chicago, and US Airways from JFK to Phoenix on the return.

We NEVER intentionally check luggage going to Europe...will not let Murphy's law interfere and have to deal with lost luggage! We travel light, with a 20"roller bag, and 1 personal item that slips onto the roller bag handle. This allows us to print our boarding pass the night before, go straight to security, then get our pass port validated at the departure desk.

This was not to be on this trip. Could not get the boarding pass to print for the 1st leg....PHX to ORD. Message came up: "unauthorized" Called United, and they indicated that they didn't get authorization from us on the change to the earlier flight. We assured them that we had agreed to the change, and they said One Travel had not informed them of that. They advised we call Aer Lingus since it really was an AL booking and they had to authorize it also. Called AL and they said: call United. Told them I did, but they couldn't even see the document on their computer. I asked them about printing out the boarding pass for the ORD-DUB portion. They said yes, but needed to wait till 24 hours prior (had to wait 2 hours). 3 hours later we were able to print that boarding pass. Still not able to get the United boarding pass. AL had advised calling One Travel. By this time it was after hours on a Sunday evening, couldn't get anyone at One Travel, so gave up.

Worried about it all night, then tried One Travel again at 8AM Monday morning. Just got a recording telling us to leave a name and phone number and they would get back to us within 48 hours! It is now within 3 hours of flight time and we are really worried. Called AerLingus back. They agreedto try to contact OneTravel. They got thru (One Travel must be more willing to talk to airlines direct than their customers!) They got it all sorted, and assured us that we would get our boarding passes at the kiosk at PHX

After booking the flight, we had promptly bought trip insurance from Seven Corners thru insuremytrip.com Still think it is money well spend...at least eliminates some worry from a financial standpoint. Took out a $1500/person policy on all 4, and if any one of us 4 had a problem, we would all be covered since we booked together. Would have hated to test out our trip insurance, if they had failed to get the flight change authorization sorted out  in time!

Our flight departed on time at 11:23AM for an uneventful 3 hour 9 minute flight to Chicago O'Hare,arriving at 4:35PM. The 2 hour layover worked well, and we had good luck getting from terminal 2 to international terminal 5, and no big lines in security. Had a short panic attack, as L thought he had his pass port lifted when his luggage came thru the screening machine. It was just hiding good, and he finally located it. Then a similar thing happened to me with my boarding pass. It must have come out of my shirt pocket with my iPhone...and it was gone. Went to AL boarding gate desk, explained what happened, and they printed me a new one. whew! L makes a comment like; we are getting too old for this "travel stuff"

Boarded the AerLingus flight on time at 6PM and had an on time departure at 6:50PM for the 6 hour 45 minute flight to Dublin. Wish they would have done the meal service first instead of the beverage service first...it really cut into my intended 5-6 hour sleep on the plane. If I had it to do over, I would have bought a light meal at Chicago to take on board, and forgot about the airline meal...always pretty marginal quality of food anyway.

The flight was good...all 4 of us seated together in the 4 middle seat section of the Airbus330. There was one crying baby right behind us, but settled down fairly quickly. At 6AM Ireland time, breakfast service started. The captain announced that we would be arriving 1 hour early....7:30 instead of 8:30AM local. Had a huge tail wind, and right away was thankful that we would have an extra hour to spend in Belfast.

Was off the plane by 7:40 and no long lines at customs etc. Walked from Terminal 2 to terminal 1 in a brisk 44 degree temp, and spotted a Bus Eirann sitting out front in the bus ranks with a "Belfast" sign top front. Put our luggage under, and hopped on at 8:15 for the 2hour 5 minute ride to Belfast! Great timing...will arrive in Belfast at 10:20 instead of noon as I had assumed in our pre-planning. The price for the one way ticket was 16.20 Euros. Could have done much better on price, if we had gone over to area 12-14 for one of the economy buses (Ulsterbus or Goldline) that run for about 7 Euros, but no waiting around, as this bus was leaving in 2 minutes.

One kind soul who frequents this websight sent me a UK sim card for my tesco cell phone, and after passing thru Newery...into N.I. I attempted to top it up with my cc. No luck, as tesco mobile wouldn't accept my US credit card....customer service said it needed to be a uk cc.

I had made arrangements with Bobby from: bobby@cabtoursni.com for a black taxi tour of Belfast to see the Catholic side of the wall, Unionist areas, murals, and points of interest relating to "the troubles" He was also suppose to gather us up at the bus station for a ride to our hotel. No cell phone....so couldn't call him to advise that we were early. Walked out of the bus station, and found a cab at the taxi rank in front. Arranged a ride to Premier Inn on Alfred Street. Was able to check in at this early hour (at 11:20AM).

"G" had suffered a mini stroke back in May, and she was really tired. We could see it on her face, and the slow pace that she kept up to this point. She decided she really needed a nap. Went down to the lobby, and there was a bar/rest just off the lobby so had my first pint of Guinness! YUM. The desk person gave us directions to the nearest Tesco and to a lunch spot, while G slept. Topped up my phone, called bobby and confirmed our 1:15 pick-up time for our black cab tour, then headed down the street. Spotted a bank to exchange some dollars to GBP, then on to the Avoca store where they had a great lunch counter. Had potato and lentil soup and 1/2 sand. It hit the spot! Back to awaken G from her nap and down to the street to meet Bobby

The blackcab tour was really good. Very informative with numerous stops for photos. Bobby gave us a magic marker to leave a message on and autograph the peace wall. The tour cost 50GBP for the whole group, and was well worth it. He dropped us off at the new Titanic Exposition for no extra charge. We had prebooked this, as it has previously filled up, and didn't want to take a chance on not having walk-up tickets available.

Arrived at this brand new building and it was awesome! Had a 3:15 timeslot, and spend just a little over 2 hours there doing a self guided tour. Cabs were waiting at the taxi ranks out front so took one back to the hotel. Had thought about going out to find dinner and some trad music, but we were just too pooped! Managed to down another Guiness, shared a fish & chips meal at the hotel restaurant with DW, and was down for the count by about 9PM.

More to come!

Dan



-- Edited by murphy on Friday 9th of November 2012 06:49:28 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Friday 9th of November 2012 06:52:59 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Friday 9th of November 2012 06:58:50 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Friday 9th of November 2012 07:03:04 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Saturday 10th of November 2012 10:46:25 AM

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The clear writing of an experienced traveller. I can imagine the chaos that would have occurred here with Christina climbing the walls and myself just letting the world right itself. At least it worked out at the start. No idea why TescoUK wouldn't take your card provided it was Visa/mastercard possibly the phone jockey couldn't handle the post/zip code (you had it sorted with TescoIE as I recall). I will at some stage have to take the Black cab tour, see what changes 30 years have made. Look forward to the next instalment.

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Great detail! I'm enjoying reading about your trip.

Mark


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Dan,

Great start. Glad you got the initial kinks worked out. My husband has proclaimed that The Crown has the best ribs in the world!

Michele



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 I missed one important stop in Belfast:  The Crown Bar!  The cab that brought us back from the Titanic Exposition, deposited us at the Crown for one pre-dinner pint!  We were lucky enuf to land one of the classic "snugs" and were really impressed with the decor.  The Crown has become a govt historical property instead of a private owned pub, but was well worth a stop.  We were able to walk back to the hotel, which was only a few blocks away

Concerning Belfast....I could have spent a couple days nights there...just got the feeling there is more interesting stuff there to see and do.

Tony, you are right, it was the zip code that they wouldn't accept.  The next time I tried to top up with cc, I ended up calling a customer service rep.  It was they who told me it needed to be a UK credit card.



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Wed Oct 17

Wake-up call at 5:45 AM from front desk of Premier Inn Alfred Street. GRRR....not enough sleep after a jet-lag-day! Who planned this itinerary, anyway? Probably assumed there would be plenty of nap time during a long half day of travel to Glasgow. NOT!  Had their all-you-can-eat continental b-fast for 5.25 GBP.  Not bad, considering that we were encouraged by the staff to take some rolls, fruit, and yogurt along with us for later.  Worked out great for a snack on the ferry, since we heard that food/bev was expensive on board.  No one hungry on the ferry, so we stashed them away in my backpack for later in the day.

Had arranged to get a cab ride with Bobby's partner to the ferry terminal.  15 GBP for 4 people.  Our internet paperwork from Stena Line stated: arrive at least 30 minutes early for check-in. Bobby said: not necessary, so planned for a 15 minute window. No one else was in line. Had prebooked, prepaid tickets (59GBP/person), so checked in quickly, depositing our 20 inch roller bags on the conveyor belt, and made the lengthy walk to the waiting area. You guessed it...we were the last ones to check in and arrive at the boarding area! Whew! We waited less than 2 minutes before they called us to board! Good thing there was no heavy traffic on the streets of Belfast that time of morning. My advice? Allow at least 30 minutes!

The ferry was HUGE! It seemed very luxurious, compared to the Washington State ferry that we had been on a few years ago.  Comfortable seats, big screen TVs, but not very many people on board.  It was a rainy blustery morning, (one of only 3 in 17 days!) so we were worried about a rough crossing.  Not to worry, it was as smooth as butter with just a slight rocking motion, which was great...because DW and I tend to get seasick easily.

The final 30 minutes of the sail, were along the coast of Scotland, and we got our first glimses of Scotland during the sunbreaks which were starting to become more frequent.  The ferry docked at Cairnryan at 10AM, and after only a 10 minute wait, we got on the motorcoach for the approx 90 minute ride to Ayre.  Again, after only a few minutes wait, we were on board the train to Glasgow.  We were impressed with UK train service, and had a very comfortable 55 minute ride to Glasgow Central Station.  Had a bit of a walk, and reached the central mall area of the train station, and sure enough, B was there with her suitcase, raincoat, and waving her pink rain hat!  She was drenched, as she had a quite a walk in the rain from her apartment, (she lives about 20 mi. east of Glasgow) to the bus stop, and then another walk in the rain after getting off the bus and walking to the train station.  After greetings and hugs all around, it was time to call Arnold Clark to get our rental van.  They agreed to pick us up at a coffee shop quite near the train station.  It just happened to be a "Starbucks" and of course, we were all ready for a latte! while waiting for the shuttle.  Imagine that....travel 7000 miles from the Pacific North West....and the first coffee on Scottish soil was Starbucks!?!  Would have rather had a UK coffee shop....I tend to get away from ALL the familiar stuff we have in the USA like cookie cutter coffee shops, golden arches etc! I make it a point to at least try all the native stuff I can in the line of food, beverages, groc. etc when in a foreign country.  Oh well, it was much needed caffeine, since I was faced with a fairly long drive ahead of me, out of Glasgow city all the way to Fort William, jet lagged, in 7 passenger mini van, manual shift, on the wrong side of the road, and with one additional back seat driver!!  Soon our shuttle arrived and depositied us at the rental car office, which they assured me was on the way OUT of Glasgow on the way TO Fort William!  Whew!  Didn't even want to think about driving thru or around Glasgow!

Trips like these are always full of surprises, and often times these surprises have to do with "rental vehicles" thinking back on all my experiences.  Our surprise was a good one!  They had upgraded us to a 9 passenger people hauler, automatic, and Diesel-for no extra charge.  It turned out to be built on a Mercedes Chasis!  So we felt pretty special....touring Scotland in a Mercedes!  They even took a quite a bit of time helping us get familiar with the vehicle...which I have never experienced in Ireland or USA.  Now instead of having the 3 ladies all scrunched into the 2nd row of seats, we had a 3rd row of seats that 1 lady could lounge in (DW) and way ample room for all the luggage, amounting to 9 pieces, in the very back of the van.

I hooked up my trusty GPS, having a freshly installed but untested UK/Ireland sd card (purchased from Amazon.com for $44 with shipping), and upon pulling out of the car rental lot, "Jenny" started talking to me right away, the first of many helpful suggestions over the next 2 weeks!  Of course there was the usual number of "recalculating" the first sign that you were lost due to taking a wrong turn, or failing to take the correct turn.  It turned out to be a very good investment (both the gps and the sd card) and I wouldn't consider going again with out it.  The drive out of Glasgow was uneventful, and Jenny put us right on to A82 a nice 2 lane highway that was to take us along Loch Lommond and thru the Trossachs, along Loch Leevin, and eventually Loch Linhee, the narrow part of which lies beside Fort William.  Was awesome scenery, despite the overcast, slightly drizzly day. 

Now, it turns out that there were not too many cities/towns along this route....just loads of great Highlands Scenery.  Kept talking about stopping for lunch, but not much available untill we got to a wide-spot-in-the-road, where there was a petrol/convenience store/coffee shop type restaurant.  It was called the "Green Welley", and turned out to be the one and only, main tourist oasis between Glasgow and Fort William.  Stopped about 3:30 PM for a much needed toilet break, some coffee, and meat, cheese, chips, and bottled water to add to our Premier Inn provisions of buns, yogurt, and fruit and had a nice "van picnic" since it was too cold and damp to eat at the picnic tables.  After about a 40 minute stop, we were back on the road again, refreshed and ready for our final push into Ft. Wm.

Jenny didn't  seem to have a place in her data base for the address for our  lodging, and Glenlochy Apartments didn't come up in the lodging sections of the gps either, so had to wing it.  Was easy to find, on the north side, just outside the city limits on A82, by the Nevis bridge, and situated right on the north banks of the Nevis River.  This facility had been a B&B/Guesthouse previously, but was now a small self-catering apartment complex of 5 units total.  Had booked on the internet, after research showed that it had good ratings and comments on TripAdvisor.com, so ended up with a 1 bedroom efficiency apt for L&G, and a 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment for B, DW, and Myself.  The 1 bedroom apartment (apartment 1a) was fairly small, but our  2 bedroom apt(apt 3a) was spacious...both of them clean and comfortable, and typically the type of place that hikers and mountain climbers utilize (Ben Nevis, the tallest Mt. in UK, has trail heads that are nearby).  This is Fort. Wm's main attraction, besides being centrally located in the highlands, which is why we chose this town to headquarter, for our day trips into the highlands.  The apartment was far enough off the main road that it was quiet, and a peaceful setting by the river and turned out to be just what we had hoped for.

We arrived about 5:30 PM,  and it was just starting to get dusk, and by the time we all got settled in, the clock was saying:  dinner time, but after such a late lunch, no one was hungry.  We had all congregated in our larger livingroom of Apt 3a, and  DW broke out the bottle of Irish Cream she had snagged at the Green Welley, and we all had a huge toast with Irish Cream on the rocks, a toast to our 1st night in Scotland!  Had a planning session over the maps for our next 3 days, and got caught up on all the latest news from Scotland and America. 

Finally decided to head downtown for some provisions.  Had decided that we would do breakfast in the apt, make sandwiches after breakfast, and take with us for lunch-out-of-the-cooler....for day 2 and 3, however would eat lunch on day 1 in a Mallig restaurant, after the outbound leg of the Jacobite Train ride!  Since the kitchen was sparsely furnished, we decided to eat evening meals out, instead of cooking.  Headed down to Morrisons, a UK chain grocer that B liked, and stocked up. 

Then off to downtown Ft. Wm to find the Grog and Gruel, one of the better places for pub grub, according to the information left at the apt by our hosts.  As is usually true of all "good" places, there were no tables available, and they predicted a 45 minute wait.  It was now near 8PM, and didn't want to wait much longer, as we normally don't sleep to well on a full stomach from a late meal, so opted to go down and accross the street to the Ben Nevis Hotel's pub/restaurant.  Pub on ground floor, restaurant up stairs.  Only a 10 minute wait there, so had an adult beverage in the pub, till they called us up.

Ended up being our favorite restaurant in town; some menu selections we chose were:  Hunter's Chicken, Fish & Chips, 1/2 baked chicken, and shepherds pie.  All very tasty!  The fish & chips was such a huge serving, and so very good, that we vowed to return one more time just for fish and chips, before leaving FT. Wm.

  No one had the courage to order Haggis, tatties, & neeps for a full meal, so we opted for the haggis starters.... of which we all tried a taste test, starting with "B" who needed to verify that it was the real thing!  She said it was just like it was suppose to be, so we all had a taste, after a little prodding for "G"!  Since it is a sausage dish, you never know what the butcher might put in it....been then I assured "G" that sausage ingredients in the USA are pretty much up to the discretion of the butcher there too....and that never stops her from eating sausage!  No one disliked it, but I liked it well enough to order it 2 more times during our week in Scotland, as did "B".  It has a distinctive spice medley that is quite good, along with some grain, and of course various cuts of pork!  Finished our beer/wine, and had to have a night-cap, so lingered and visitied.  Finally got back to Glenlochy about 10:15, and crashed by 10:30.  And thus ended our 1st day in Scotland, with many miles traveled since 7:30AM departing Belfast.  We did not need to worry about a wake-up call, as our Jacobite train was not scheduled to depart Ft. Wm till 10AM.

Dan



-- Edited by murphy on Thursday 15th of November 2012 01:14:12 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Thursday 15th of November 2012 04:16:28 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Thursday 15th of November 2012 04:43:39 PM

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Michele,

Bobby mentioned that the food was not as good at the Crown since it was no longer held by private ownership. Wished we had eaten there now...I have never tried Irish ribs!

Dan



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Dan  --

You're making me want to re-visit Scotland!

Did you hear the legend about the Crown's famous, namesake mosaic ?

Bob



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Bob,

It seems that Bobby told us about that when on the black cab tour...but don't recall the details....we were on "information overload" after 2 hours with Bobby, and still jet lagged! You can refresh my memory...if you care to.

Dan


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According to the story that I heard, the Crown was a POPULAR Loyalist hang out, but the owner was a closet Republican.  Years later, the family stated that the large mosaic of the English Crown was positioned so that all who entered would be forced to Tread upon the English Crown, in order to gain entry ...

I wonder if he also had the Crown IMPRINTED into the bases of the spitoons, as well?????  

Bob 



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Bob

Yes...I recall now. That is accurate! But, believe it or not, I was so much in awe of what I saw on the walls and up....that I forgot to look at the floor on the way in!
LOL about the spitoons....some other porcelain fixtures come to mind, that might be appropriate to have the crown IMPRINTED into too....considering the 700 years of the Irish being "under crown" rule!

Dan


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Dan, mo chara,

Great minds think alike...I was thinking along the same... chamber pots...etc



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Oct 18 Thursday

Finally got to sleep in late...if 7:30 qualifies!  After coffee and breakfast for everyone in the larger apartment, we departed for the train station about 9:15.  The station is near town center, only about 1/2 mile from our apartment.  We had pre-booked and pre-paid on the net, cost: 34GBP/person ($55),  and we already had car and seat assignments.  It seemed kind of expensive at first, but considering that it was entertainment and an outing that took up most of the day, it was well worth it.  We were advised to prebook, since it was nearing the end of the season for the Jacobite, and there was a fall break for schools during that time.  I believe there was 8 or 9 cars, and of course a beautiful old coal fired steam engine!  By now the engine was belching great amounts of black smoke, and the whistle blew from time to time to let everyone know departure time was nearing!  Excitement was building as we walked thru the turn-styles, and we all somehow knew that this was an opportunity not to be missed.  In doing research for this outing, we were told that this would be a "wow" experience, and we all agreed 100%.

We found our seat, the arrangement being a group of 4 at a table, 2 would be seated facing the direction of travel, and 2 facing the rear.  3 of our group was on one side of the aisle, and 2 on the other.   We were surprised at how many senior citizens boarded WITH their dogs!  And large dogs too!  They had to sit under the table, which made it crowded for foot room!  Luckily we didn't have table mates with large dogs!   The smell of buring coal kept wafting into the car, as it did numerous times on the outbound trip, adding to the ambiance of the experience, for most!  I was concerned about how my asthma would react, and by the end...I could feel it in my lungs.  My rescue inhaler salvaged the day!  At one point, little bits of soot came filtering in the  upper windows, that were opened and shut periodically to dissapate the smoke and allow photographs to be taken, as the lower window could not be opened, and were steamed over due to the 40 degree temps that morning and that many warm bodies in a small area.  Wiping the windows from time to time with a napkin allowed us to see fairly well.

 

It was quite a trip.  Many people had brought along snacks and beverages, but there was a dining car in the middle that sold water, pop, coffee, breakfast sandw, lunch sandw. candy, cookies etc.  The train passed thru a few tunnels, and that ended up being a smokey black-out, but part of the experience!  Soon there was a hustle of excitement passing thru and car, and people began to stand up and press closer to the windows to catch a glimse of the tressel (Glenfinnan Viaduct) that was made so famous by Harry Potter.  It was taller than I imagined, crossing over the valley that forms the start of Loch Shiel.  Just caught a few glimses of it as we approached on a gentle curve in the tracks, and it was awesome!  Since the main highway from Fort William to Mallig (our ultimate destination) lies adjacent to the train tracks for most of the way, there were numerous vehicles stopped along side of the road, and the tourists and travelers out on the shoulder of the road with cameras ready to snap a shot of the train going over this tressel.  At numerous small villages along the route, it was common to see photographers in action as we passed by.  Quite exciting for all involved!  Shortly there after, we made a 15 minute planned stop at the Glenfinnan Station.  Most everyone got off, and meandered around to stretch their legs, look down into the canyon where the village was located.  There was a gift/coffee shop at the station, but was not open on this day.  Went to the dining car instead and snagged a coffee and snack, and settled back into our seats for the 2nd half of the outbound part of the journey, which took about 1 3/4 hours total.

Next we travel along side Loch Eid for a what seemed like many miles, also along Loch Ailort, Loch nan Uamh, Loch nan Ciell, and finally rolled to a stop at Mallig, a seacoast town on the Sound of Sleatt.  From Mallig, you can catch numerous ferrys to the small islands of Canna, Rum, Egg, and Muck, as well as the Isle of Skye, and the mainland at Inverie and  Tarbert.  I could plainly see that our 2 hour stop at Mallig would not be nearly enough.  Most everyone on the train made there way to the front of the train for a photo op of the old steam engine, gasping her last puffs of black smoke and the 3-4 crew members posed for photos too.  Then  we moved on to the shopping or restaurant areas of Mallig.  Just a short walk, and we arrived at the Fishermans Market, whose brochure on the train had caught  our eye, and entered to have lunch.  L&G opted for the coffee shop upstairs for soup and bread, and B, DW, and I had lunch in the downstairs dining room.  The entire menu was mostly seafood, and it was good....being a seacoast fishing town.  Our table by the window overlooked  the harbor.  DW and I split a scampi/chips dinner, and B had fish and chips.  I tried my first Scottish ale, called Red Cullin.  Was tasty.

Stopped into a nearby gift shop after eating, and all too soon it was time to head back to the train.  At the start of the trip, it was cloudy, soon became partly cloudy with more and more sun breaks, and by now severe clear sky and abundant sunshine...the best kind of day you could hope for on the 18th of Oct during and outing like this.

Returning to the train, we discovered that the seating assignments had changed...if you were on the left side of the train car outbound, now you were shifted to the right side.  Makes sense...you get to see the scenery on both sides of the train during the journey!  This time we were more prepared for the Viaduct, so were ready at the window with the camera, and the iPhone taking videos!  The trip back seemed to go much quicker than the outbound journey.  Visited with a couple who had family roots in scotland, and who had spent the previous day on Skye, so was able to get a heads-up on what we could expect for the next day.

Arrived back at Fort William at 4 PM, and headed to Morrison's Groc, located directly behind the train station.  They had a lunch counter in there, we looked at the menu and decided it would be a good place to return later for a lighter evening meal.  Went back to the apartment to undwind, have an adult beverage or 2, catch up on emails via the available wifi, catch up on tv news etc.   Also checked the road map for our planned trip to Skye for the next day.

 About 7 PM we returned to Morrisons for dinner.  Was probably the poorest meals we had on the entire trip.  Mashed potatoes and veg were cold, and fries soggy.  They were sold out of some entrees and desserts, but then this will happen once in a while on holiday...esp when you take your chances on eating somewhere that you didn't get a chance to research earlier.  The waitress the night before had suggested Morrisons for breakfast, said it was really good! and it might have been ok for b-fast or lunch, but was just not a good choice for an evening meal at 7PM  esp when they close at 8PM.

Back to the apartment to have a night-cap, watch TV, and look over the road map for our outing to the Isle of Skye planned for the next day.  We re-capped our steam train trip to Mallig and back, and all agreed that who ever rated this the #1 Scenic train trip in the world, must have gotten it right!

Dan 



-- Edited by murphy on Saturday 17th of November 2012 11:46:41 AM



-- Edited by murphy on Saturday 17th of November 2012 11:51:21 AM



-- Edited by murphy on Saturday 17th of November 2012 12:01:14 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Saturday 17th of November 2012 12:05:11 PM

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I noticed that it has been almost a month since my last post, and I apologize.  We relocated to Yuma for the winter months,  right after the Ireland/Scotland trip, and both DW and I have taken on part time employment in the RV park where we have owned property since 2004.  Our fish and chips business on the Washington Coast is very seasonal, so we shut it down for the off season.  Getting settled in here in Yuma, and the new jobs has taken more time than expected, so now will attempt to finish this trip report by the end of 2012!

Friday, Oct 19

My 81 year old Mother,has had a non-funtioning kidney for the past 5 years, and in early autumn a cyst started to grow on it.  She scheduled the surgery to have the kidney and cyst romoved, for Oct 18, and so we were on pins and needles during the steam train trip to Mallig the day before, but a quick phone call after departing the train revealed that she had come thru the surgery in great shape!  We were relieved.

 

We departed the Glenlochy apartments at 8:15 AM with overcast skies, sort of dreary weather.  As we drove it improved quite quickly, and we once again enjoyed the fall colors of Scotland as we headed North on the A82, then turned Westward to Skye on A87.  We soon spotted the Eileen Donan Castle, and utilized a couple of scenic turn-outs for photo ops.  We stopped at the castle parking lot for more photos, but opted not to go inside due to a full day.  Onward to Kyle of Lochalsh, the town nearest the Skye bridge.  Crossed over onto Skye and drove a short ways and discovered a coffee shop called "The Mill" located on a small stream, and the site of a grain grinding mill in days gone past.  Had coffee, lattes, and scones....yum!  Drove on to a petrol station for some snacks and a detailed map of Skye and the Highlands.  Drove on westward, turning off on the A863 destination the small village of Carbost, home of the Talisker Distillery.  It was located on a very narrow road, a few miles past Carbost.  It was glistening white washed white and quite stunning set in the rural Scottish countryside. on the shores of Loch Harport, with connections to the ocean...as we would discover was important to get grain barged in for the production of whisky!

 

We checked on the tour schedule, and were advised that the next tour was 35 minutes out, so decided it was time for our ham/cheese sandwiches, cookies etc at the picnic table opposite side of the parking lot, right on the banks of Loch Harport.  It was a bright sunny day by now, a little breezy but quite comfortable with our light jackets and layers underneath for an autumn outdoor picnic. 

It was a great tour, our 1st of 3 such tours we took in Scotland, and was by far the best and most complete of the 3!  Learned that the smoky flavor of Scotch is due to the burning of peat during the grain drying process....hence the smoky flavor, and not from the charcoal lined barrels, which I had somehow been led to believe.  A very informative tour, and since there were just 6 of us total, had lots of time for questions.  At the end, we were treated to a taste test.  This was a learning experience in itself!  Our tour guide explained how to drink Scotch!  He said Never, Never, Never mix with soda.  He said never, never, never serve over ice....only room temperature!  He advised us to swish it around the glass, observe the oily residue on the side of the glass....a sign of good scotch, then smell....then taste.  Wow...was good.  Then he explained, as he held a small pitcher of water, the real secret to GREAT scotch is to add a dash or 2 of water...which he did in all of our glasses, and then advised us to taste.  What a difference....flavor about 10 times greater than without water....he says the water releases the flavors!  We enjoyed our sample, went to the gift shop and purchased some small bottles of Talisker, recieved our Talisker Lapel pin.

 

Backtracked about 5 miles on the wee road, to get back to the A863 northbound.  Destination: Dunvegan Castle and Gardens.  Upon arrival, much to our dismay, we discovered that it was closed for the season on Oct 15.  Bummer!  Maybe there would be time near the end of the circle route around Skye to see the Eileen Donan Castle.  Headed eastbound on the A850 to loup around to the north, then back south to the main town on Skye:  Portree.   Was not a very impressive place as we drove through, but many Skye tourist headquarter here and then spend muliple days on Skye.  I could see that there were some good things to see north of our loop, but just not enuf time in 1 day to do Skye justice.  Started our return to Fort William, back tracking much of the route during the return.  Was too late for Eileen Donan Castle, so kept trucking onward.  Wow...it gets dark early this time of year....then overcast, then fog!  Our return was later than we anticipated, about 6:45PM.  Stopped by the apartment to freshen up, then downtown for our evening meal.  Decided to try the Grog And Gruel, and this time it was early enough....no waiting.  Seated immediately and looked over their award winning food/beverage menu.  One of their specials was the Chicken, bacon, and mushroom pie for 10.25 GBP.  We all opted for that, and we really enjoyed it.  No Scottish ale caught my eye, so opted for Guinness.  It tastes just as good in Scotland as in Ireland!

Back to the apartment around 10PM.  Discussed our plans for the next day, and turned in fairly early for another great night's sleep.



-- Edited by murphy on Thursday 13th of December 2012 09:54:29 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Thursday 13th of December 2012 09:56:15 PM

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Lot of years ago when I was a kid my grandparents used to run the Fish and Chip shop at a Caravan (rv)park in Morcombe UK. just on the coast below the lakes in the Summer, sort of insignificant really just stirred a few memories, thanks. It always rained as I remember?

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Sat Oct 20

This day was to be spend trying to spot the monster of Loch Ness.  L thought that he spotted her a couple of times, and had bet "B" a beer that he would see her.  "B" won the bet!  We also wanted to do a couple more distillery tours, but as we were driving along enjoying the shoreline of Loch Ness, we spotted Urequay Castle

We pulled in, ready for a break in the drive, and promptly purchased tickets....a 3/for deal costing around 22.50GBP if I remember correctly, but it not only was good for Urequay Castle, but also Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle.  Saved us a few bucks by buying the package, as we had planned to see all three anyway.  Opted for a cup of coffee/latte and scone in the coffee shop/gift shop, in order to build up energy for touring this castle.

This was really a stunning castle, set along the banks of Loch Ness.  We climbed all over every nook and cranny and were esp impressed with the big sling shot thing that shot steel balls about the size of a basket ball to try to penetrate castle walls.  Killed a couple hours there, and then on toward Inverness, a city we had once considered staying 1 or 2 nights....if we hadn't chosen Ft. William.  Missed a turn, but Jenny got us on the right track exiting the sw side of the city instead of the pre-planned main route, so actually turned out to be a short cut....but with stop lights and stop signs.  Enjoyed driving thru the residential area of a quite good looking small Scottish city.

Next stop was the Tomatin Distillery and had called ahead for tour times.  Had stopped at a Tourist information office after leaving the castle....to check which distillerys would be open on a Sat afternoon....some aren't in Oct.  Our GPS said we would arrive about 2:10, and thought it would be too late to eat after the tour, so ate our sandwiches in the van between Inverness and Tomatin.  After arriving, rather than waiting for the next tour, which was not till 2:30, we opted for the video and taste test.  Liked this sample better than Talisker, not as smokey flavored.

Headed out promptly, as we were hoping to be able to catch one more distillery that was situated between Tomatin and Fort William, that being Dalwhinnie.  This is one of the better known ones in all of Scotland, and we arrived about 4PM.  Opted for the 4 Whiskey taste test along with 4 complimenting chocolate truffles!  Tried the Dalwhinnie, of course, along with Talisker, Kilchpman, and another one which I have forgotten the name of.  The chocolates were awesome, and really made a hit with the ladies.

Headed back to Ft Wm arriving about 5:45.  Stopped at Morrison's for bread,  sand meat, cereal etc.  From there directly downtown on High Street to Ben Nevis Restaurant for the 2nd time.  We all had fish and chips, which included salad, peas, and beer/wine, except "B" who opted for Haggis, Tatties, and Neeps  (haggis, mashed potatos, and turnips).  "B" and I also opted for "Spotted Dick" and a custard topping for dessert!  Another first for me, and was a yummy treat.

At this point, most everybody wanted to head for the apartments....except for B and I who were hoping for some trad Scottish music.  We left her at the Jacobite Lounge, while I took the others back to Glenlochy about 9PM.  I called a taxi to take me back downtown to rescue "B" who I found drinking.....coffee!!! We  had a wine and beer, then went across the street to  "The Tavern" where at 10PM a young lad was scheduled to play guitar and sing folk music.  We sat at the only available table....quite near the performer and got to visit with him between songs.  Talked him into singing a half dozen Celtic tunes for us, then hailed a taxi and got back to the apt. about 11PM.  Thus ended our "Whiskey Trail" day, but never quite made it over to the part of the Speyside where there are dozens of distillerys in close proximity....more to come   

Dan



-- Edited by murphy on Wednesday 19th of December 2012 10:56:15 PM

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Yes, Tony, and it rains a lot back in Washington State too, esp on the coast and around the Olympic Peninsula. Called back there today, and they were having a real gully-washer...over an inch of rain an hour at times. Sure glad to be in sunny Arizona!

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Sun Oct 21

I am trying my hand at "brevity" here, as the Bob has reminded us that this is after all, an "Ireland" forum!  If anyone would like  more details about Scotland, don't hesitate to send me a private message.

We checked out of Glenlochy about 10:15, just in time for 10:30 Mass at St. Mary's Catholic Church, located accross the street from the train station.  I knew that attending Mass would really cut into our day, especially if we were to return the car before 5PM, which is when they closed on a Sunday.  We had always felt that Jesus understood when you were on a tight schedule on vacation, but "B" was pretty convinced that we should not skip, so She, DW, and I attended services, and L & G walked down the street to window shop and get a coffee.  Mass ended about 11:40, and was on the road by 11:45.  My trusty GPS told me, once we were underway, that it was a quite a trek to Edinburgh.  It appeared that we had about a 2 1/2 hour total  window for stops.

 

Of course the "Green Wellie" was a mandatory oasis in the wilderness, so stopped for a restroom break, and a cup of coffee to go, to have with another in-the-van-on-the-go lunch.  Oh...and by the way I'll take this opportunity to tell you about our community bank.  B had an idea that we would all put a certain amount of money (we chose 10GBP/person) in a small purse that she had brought along for this purpose, then we designated a banker (DW) and then when we stopped for a morning coffee, to get breakfast or picnic items, snacks, or an afternoon toddy, then we would pay for it out of the kitty.  It worked great!  We replenished it 2 more times during the week, then divided up the left over cash at the end.  Seemed to save a lot of time and hassle paying with just one transaction rather than 3.

We pressed onward toward Stirling Castle which was a slight detour to the north of our route to Edinburgh.  Thank God for Jenny....she took us right there thru some pretty hairy twists, turns, and confusing looking intersections, right to the castle parking lot.  We arrived about 2PM with only a 90 minutes left to visit....if we were to get the car back by 5PM  Actually, we had till noon on Monday to get it back, since we had picked it up around noon.  But, I had heard that parking was sparse and expensive in Edinburgh AND that the city was all tore up with construction of the Tram Works.  AND it would kill nearly a half day of planned sight seeing in Glasgow if we returned it Monday.  So we took a vote, and agreed to make it a quick visit at Stirling and then get the car back by 5.  It was an awesome Castle, and could have spent most of the day there, and probably not seen it entirely.

The last 30 mile drive into Edinburg, I had presumed would be easy on a Sunday evening, but the motorway was really busy.  Just barely made it at 4:50 to the Seagate Arnold Clark office on the east side of Edinburgh.  Wasn't able to locate a petrol station on the way in....(which would have made us late anyway), so ended up getting charged for a full tank, 67GBP, even though we had a quarter tank left.  Can't win em all!

Arnold Clark called a taxi big enuf to haul 5 adults and 9 pieces of luggage, and a few bags of other misc stuff.  It dropped us off at our 3 bedroom apartment located at 5/9 Tron Square.  We were given a key code by email, just like at Glenlochy, and that keycode got us inside a lockbox for our apartment key.  We selected this lodging for 2 reasons:  close proximity (about 2 blocks) from the center of the Royal Mile, and also the fact that it was a 3 bedroom self cater.  Only downside...just one bathroom, but by now we were all in a jovial mood...esp myself since I now had 2 1/2 days that I didn't HAVE to drive, and 2 birthdays to celebrate...so we started out our stay right, with a few adult beverages as we settled in....to celebrate the successful rental van journey, on the eve of L's 70th birthday...and with this crew of 5....we didn't need much of an excuse to celebrate the entire 7 days we were in Scotland!

Decided that after all the sitting we did in the van, we needed a walk, so headed to Tesco about 6 blocks away to get Laundry Soap (we Americans were all running low on clean clothes by now) and of course to stock the apt for breakfast provisions and adult beverages snacks etc.  On the way back to the flat, we were searching for a pub for some pub-grub for dinner.  Just 1 block north, half way between our flat and the Royal Mile we found a great diner called: City Cafe.  We just stumbled on to it...not really recommended by anyone...and we were to return 1 more time, and Betty twice more including the morning she left.  L and I had the Scottish Fry/up breakfast which was every bit as good as the full Irish breakfast, and the Ladies had Penne Carbonara with bacon and mushrooms along with our ususal beer/wine that accompanied the evening meal.  Everybody agreed it was outstanding food.

 

Headed back to the apartment about 9:30, had an Irish Cream night cap to get primed up for the birthday bash the next day, and most everybody had retired by 10:30, some earlier!  More to come!

 

Dan



-- Edited by murphy on Thursday 20th of December 2012 09:21:16 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Thursday 20th of December 2012 09:22:20 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Thursday 20th of December 2012 09:24:01 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Thursday 20th of December 2012 09:26:20 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Thursday 20th of December 2012 09:32:47 PM

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Mon Oct 22

Woke up for our first morning in Edinburgh, and "L" promptly announced that he had just begun his 7th decade!  We celebrated with the b-day boy by adding just a wee dram of Irish Cream to our coffee, along with our usual toast/nutella and cereal.  By the way, it was our first experience with nutella....we usually do peanutbutter on toast.  I didn't mind it, but some thought it was too sweet...and couldn't quite appreciate the chocolate flavor.

Departed the apartment at 9AM  We had 2 full days left in Scotland, and planned to spend one in Glasgow, and one in Edinburgh.  Today was Glasgow's turn.  Took a taxi to the bus station, where we hopped the 9:30 bus to Glasgow.  We were really happy at this point that we had turned the car in, because the downtown streets were a mess.  All dug up, and many detours, some that the bus was barely able to negotiate.  An uneventful 90 minute ride to Glasgow, and immediately needed a coffee break....where else but Starbucks?!

Purchased tickets for the HOHO bus, both the east and west tours.  Got off at a park near the University for a much needed RR stop.  Walked to the Univ. art gallery, but was closed on this day.  Got back on the HOHO and next stop was "B's" favorite lunch spot....Witherspoons!  I was uncertain...thinking it would be a franchise type of place like Denny's, but turned out to be more upscale like Applebees.  Turned out to be very good value....esp wine and beer, and even the food...seemed to be at least 25% less expensive than sit-down restaurants.  The food was yummy.  I had the Gammon, Eggs, and FF (gammon is ham).  A great place for hot sandwiches, which some or our group ordered.

Refreshed, it was time to get back on the HOHO for the next stop, the Kelvingrove Art Gallery.  Got to see the Rembrant self portrait, and the Knight in Armour.  Also some art by Van Gogh, Monet, and Picasso.  Was good to get in on some culture, but L and I thought the most impressive exhibit was the P41 Spitfire WWII aircraft hanging from the ceiling in the main gallery!

We really liked Glasgow, and probably more because of "B" who kind of claimed it as her home town!  She was full of tidbits of information that we would have probably never found out about, without her as our personal  resident tour guide.  Glasgow is a very modern, clean, cosmopolitan city, and we enjoyed the day spent there.

Got back on the bus for the return trip to Edinburgh, a full bus with all the evening commuters.  Arrived Edi about 6:45, and took a taxi over to Sandy Bell's for the B-day celebration and great Scottish Trad Music.  We got there on the tail-end of some great fiddle tunes, then 16 musicians came in with mouth harps doing jigs and reels.  We had lunch kind of late, so not everybody was hungry.  However "B" needed some food, so I accompanied her to Deacon Brodie's for dinner.  We opted for Haggis, Tatties, and Neeps.   I could get use to this dish!

Went back to Sandy Bells where the 70th B-day party was well under way.  Enjoyed the 3rd set of the night which included guitar, string bass, and 2 fiddles.  I had read on TI that Sandy Bells was probably the best place for great music, and it was awesome.  Everybody in our group really enjoyed it, as did the rest of the standing room only crowd.

Made our way back to the apt, kind of late, and opted for one final b-day toast, then hit the hay....well after midnight!   More to Come!

Dan



-- Edited by murphy on Saturday 22nd of December 2012 05:58:54 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Saturday 22nd of December 2012 06:02:59 PM

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Tues Oct 23

This was the day to spend in Edinburgh.  In my opinion, Edinburgh is to Scotland as Dublin is to Ireland.  Both very compact, walkable, great history, shopping, restaurants, pubs etc.  We walked up the fairly steep hill for 2 blocks, then took a left on the Royal Mile and walked all the way to Edinburgh Castle.  What a castle!!  If we thought Urequay and Stirling castles were impressive....this one was tops!  The only regret was the weather...foggy and misty all day.  The fog had burned off the day before on the way to Glasgow, but that was not to be the case on this day.  We will always wonder what the views of the city of Edinburgh would have been like on a clear day.

We didn't let the weather get us down, but made the most of our time there.  We rented the headphones and took the audio walking tour of the castle.  There were numbers painted on small signs throughout the area, and by selecting the number on the keypad of the audio box, you could get details about that particular sight.   This method worked well...very informative.  The highlight was the display of the crown jewels, and the story and history of how they were smuggled out and hidden by Scottish peasants during war time.  They were buried in a huge chest, and after many years, the chest was pried open and they were all intact.  Very impressive.  Finished touring just about in time to watch the 1:00 O'clock gun go off.  Huge crowd gathered behind the rope barrier to observe. 

Headed out the main gate, and just a short distance ahead was the "Whiskey Experience"  Opted to eat lunch there.  The special today was the "lamb Stovies" a lamb, onion, and potato casserole. YUM!  At this point, my iPhone was running out of battery.  It had been 2 full days without an automobile, which was the only method I had to charge it using the cig. lighter socket.  Inquired about a place to charge it, and someone had suggested Carphone Warehouse, with a free charging system.  I elected to go spend an hour there getting a charge while the rest of the crew worked their way back down the royal mile, final destination Holyrood Palace, located on the opposite end of the Royal mile from the Castle, where I was suppose to catch up with them, after they had toured St. Giles Cathedral.  It was during this part of the trip that I...I hate to admit it....I finally learned how to "text"  B could not believe that I had never gotten into texting, so she had shown me the details, and now she and I started texting on my Tesco cell phone!  It came in handy for keeping track of our group when I was getting my phone charged.  Incidently, I opted to purchase a UK wall charging unit for my iPhone, as I didn't want to waste any more valuable time in a place like Carphone Warehouse charging my phone.

Met the group at Holyrood Palace, and they had already determined that they weren't going to spend whatever it was they were charging for admission to the facilities....even B was shocked at the price.  We opted instead to cross the street and tour the new multi-million pound Scottish Parliment building, just opposite the Palace grounds.  We went through security, then on up to the visitors gallery to watch the chamber in session.  Was pretty boring, as are most political procedings are, so we left.  Wanted to see the inside of this controversial building, very unique architecture outside and inside, by a famous architect, I believe from Australia.  B said it was recently completed, and  way over budget when it was all said and done.

We hopped on the city bus and went to Mary King Close, but there again it was pricy, and was a long walking tour, a lot of it underground.  B & G were getting pretty tired by this time from all the walking in the castle and on the royal mile, and didn't think they were up to taking the underground tour, so we skipped it.  L and B headed towards the City Cafe, and DW, G, and I spotted a bagpiper playing by the Judiciary Building.  Went and listened for a while, and took each other's pictures with him in full kilt costume.

Once again, we gathered at the City Cafe that we had enjoyed so much the first night, for our final meal in Edinburgh.   DW & G had Penne Carbonera again, L had a sausage/egg breakfast, and B and I had the special, a Curry Sample Platter.  I had never had curry before, and DW, L, and G were positive they didn't like curry, but B had it quite often in Glasgow, or in the numerous curry shops near where she lived, and assured me it was good.  I was not disappointed!  The platter included tiger prawns, chicken, and duck, along with lots of sauteed veggies and of course rice.  The sause was between medium to spicy hot.  Got most everything crossed off my bucket list for the foods and ales that I had never had before, and got to try in Scotland!

Returned back to the apartment to repack our luggage and get ready for our exodus at "0" dark thirty the next morning.  Showed "B" how to lock up and return the key to the lock box, as she was going to sleep in, since she didn't have any deadlines in the morning.  She let us know that she would stop at the City Cafe for breakfast, on her way to the bus stop.  In the meantime, we were busy getting 2 alarm clocks set for 3:15 AM so we could catch our early flight out of Edinburgh to Knock Ireland.  We said our goodbyes to B, but she insisted that she would get up at 3:30 to see us off, and made us promice to wake her up in case she didn't hear us!  Was a short night, but we decided that we might be able to catch a nap tomorrow, on one or both of the  legs of the flight, or at the airport in Manchester.

more to come!  Dan



-- Edited by murphy on Sunday 23rd of December 2012 10:07:36 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Sunday 23rd of December 2012 10:11:45 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Sunday 23rd of December 2012 10:13:24 PM

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No worries in posting your Scotland trip, mo chara... Truth be told, Scotland itself came about by straying Irish folk, after all biggrinwink

I am throughly enjoying your report

Nollaig Shona,

Bit



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Wed Oct 24

 

3:15AM came pretty early, but tonight there was no loud singing in the streets, managed to get about 5 hours of good sleep.  The previous night, there had been a soccer game, and the local Edinburgh boys were out in the streets singing at the top of their lungs.  The final score must have been to their advantage!   Was kind of alarming to hear at 1 AM, but no harm done.

Tried to shower, dress, and  leave the apartment quietly, but "B" heard the 4 of us up and going, so had to get up and see us off in all her glory....of course with a robe over her nightgown!  We all agreed that it had been a fun week, and we might just have to get together on another trip someday.

Walked out of the apartment at 4:15AM, and the taxi that we had pre-arranged the night before arrived moments after we got to the curb side.  We allowed 30 minutes to get to the Edinburgh Airport, but it only took 20 minutes; cost 19.70GBP/for 4 adults.

Edinburgh airport is not really huge...easy to find your way around.  Checked in at a Flybe Kiosk, and got our boarding pass after entering conf # and scanning our passport.  Had an on time departure at 6:50AM for Manchester.  Arrived Manchester at 7:35, and had about a 3 hour layover.  Our original flight was for 7:30AM, and a more reasonable layover....the joys of flying these days!  Sure could have used that extra 90 minutes of sleep!

The flight to Knock, Ireland departed on time at 11:15AM, arriving and 12:45.  Partly cloudy, partly sunny skies and the intense green of Ireland kept showing up between the clouds.  Nothing quite like it from the air, all the stone fences and hedges, and the multiple shapes and sizes of the green green land scape that is so well known in Ireland.  Had to check our main bags, so collected them, and went straight away to the Hertz desk, and turned in the pre-paid voucher.  Paid for the SCDW at the reservation desk, by credit card.  We were directed to an Opel Insignia 4-door manual, similar to the midsize car we had 18 months prior.  It was parked in pretty tight quarters, and the key fob would not make the electric door locks open.  A lot attendant came by, and squeezed in and got it to open with the key.  (This should have been a red flag!)  I thought, here we go again....Murphy's Law and rental cars in Ireland...a bad combination!  Should not have settled for a car that had to be manually locked and unlocked.  The outside of the car was kind of scraped up, and DW was concerned about that.  Since we had SCDW, I assured here that the car body wasn't an issue, I was only worried about the rims, tires, undercarriage, and wind screen, which all seemed to be ok. (I would not have accepted a car with bent rims, bare worn out tires, bulges on the tires, or any cracks or flaws in the wind screen)

Took off with the car, northbound towards Sligo, which we would by pass on our way to Beleek Pottery factory.  About 20 miles out, I started getting an intermittant "code 3" warning on my dash in the spot where the digital odometer should have been.  It would last a couple of minutes, then go away and we would once again see the odometer.  Then it would return again,  in intervals of about 10 minutes each, and this was to go on for the next 90 minutes all the way to Belleek.  Just out of Sligo, my GPS started flashing:  Low Battery.  I double checked all the connections, and  they appeared ok.  I had a splitter and had also plugged in my iPhone.  Sure enuf, it hadn't charged any since being plugged in at Knock, and by now should have been fully charged.  Determined that this was the one and only cig lighter plug in available in the car, so were out of luck.  Not happy campers at this point, as I had gotten very acustom to using the GPS by now, and knew that I definitely needed to figure out a way to get it working.  Looked for an owners manual, thinking a fuse was blown in the cig lighter circuit, but no such manual in the glove box.  Talked about stopping at an auto parts store and buying a cig lighter assembly with alligator clips to hook on to the battery, and then somehow route into the car....but that seemed like a desperate solution.

Despite all of this, we all agreed that we liked traveling through Ireland much better than Scotland!

Shortly there after, we arrived at Belleek Pottery, we  manually locked the 4 car doors, but could not get the boot (trunk) to lock.  I said...".this is it, I'm calling Hertz".  Dug out the cell phone, installed the ireland sim card, dug out the paperwork and got the Knock Hertz office number and dialed them up.  Told them about our numerous problems with the car, and how unhapply we were with it.  They asked where we were staying that night.  I indicated Sligo.  They asked me if I could take it to a repair shop in Sligo at 9 AM to have a look-see.  Since I had a full day planned for the next day, including Donegal Castle (for L&G, since DW and I had visited it in 08), followed by a drive out to Slieve League Cliffs, followed by the drive back over to Derry, spending an undetermined amount of time at a repair shop didn't seem like a good plan.  I told her that I didn't think we should have to waste our precious vacation time at a repair shop waiting for a car.  I told the Hertz Lady that our schedule didn't allow for a time frame of waiting for this car to be repaired.  I strongly requested that they exchange this car for another due to the numerous malfunctions that had shown up.  She was hesitant, not sure that the Hertz office in Sligo had a suitable mid-size car for us to trade.  She asked us if we could bring it back to Knock for exchange.  I asked if someone would be able to bring a car to us in Sligo from Knock instead.  She wasn't sure.   I was getting pretty impatient by now, as the others were already inside Belleek Pottery, and I knew it was getting close to the time for the last tour of the day.  I suggested to the Hertz lady that I might just have to call the Hertz franchisee back in Seattle and see if they could get it sorted out.  That did the trick!  Suddenly there was a suitable 4 door midsize car available for us to pick up at 9AM at the Hertz office in Sligo, and we could trade there.  Just what the Dr. ordered, agreed to be at the Hertz Sligo office at 9AM sharp, and then I  joined the others just in time for the tour. 

It was a really great tour...was surprised at the history and length of time and quality of their pottery.  Walked thru the gift shop and admired all the offerings.  Both and L and I offered to buy something for our ladies, but much to our surprise, they declined!

We had not taken time to eat lunch, due to the tight schedule getting from Knock to Belleek, so opted for a latte and scone in the Pottery Coffee Shop to tide us over till Sligo.  Headed back  out to our "silver  lemon"  and  luckily, no one had bothered anything in our unlocked trunk.  Headed back south toward Sligo.  After realizing that the GPS was running low on battery, we had been using the map more, and the GPS sparingly, and had just enuf charge left in the GPS to let it guide us right to our lodging in Sligo, arriving about 6PM at "Tree Tops B&B"  It was rated #2 of all the B&B's in Sligo on TA, and 10Euros/person less than the #1 rated B&B: Pearse Lodge.  It was a beautiful B&B, and I would not hesitate one moment in rebooking there in the future.  Our hostess was very nice to us and assured us that we would get our rental car problems all sorted.  She  suggested we go to Hagadorns Pub for dinner, and then "Shoot the Crows" for music.  She gave us a city map and we took off towards downtown, on a much needed walk, after sitting most of the day.

The Hagadorn had been suggested by Michele, and it was awesome.  L and DW had Bangers and Mash.  G had a steak sand, and I opted for the roast Duck(another entree that I don't ever recall trying).  The food was great!  DW and I shared a slice of banofi pie, and our portion of the meal was 32 Euros, which including a pint of Guinness and a Pint of Smithwicks.

Went to the nearby Tesco and purchased cheese and crackers, bottled water, and some Baily's Irish cream for the next day.

Settled in at "Shoot the Crows" at 8 PM so that we would be assured of a table near the music for the 10 PM session.  This was to be the start of the Sligo Music Festival (that Bob was also going to attend on Sunday), and the web sight said that  the Wed night schedule was "to be determined"  Nothing ever showed up on the web sight, and the folks at the pub said that they didn't really expect anything to happen till Thursday night, and really wouldn't be up to full schedule till the weekend.  They assured us that the band coming to their pub tonight would be as good as anything we would see for the next couple of nights at the festival.

And they were right.  A band called "No Crows" played and sang, and they were really good.  Enjoyed a few more pints, and hung in there till 12:45!!  A long day traveling to and in Ireland, after a very short final night in Edinburgh.  It was good to be back on the Old Sod!

more to come!   Dan 



-- Edited by murphy on Saturday 29th of December 2012 04:37:42 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Saturday 29th of December 2012 04:50:14 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Saturday 29th of December 2012 05:08:40 PM

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Thurs Oct 25

Had a restful night's sleep at Tree Tops B&B.  We had also secured a 7:45 time slot for our first full Irish breakfast of the trip!  Had planned to checkout, pack the car, and then head for Hertz.  Decided it would be a lot of trouble to load the luggage into this car, and then have to do it all over again at Hertz.  Decided to leave the ladies at the B&B, and L and I headed down to the Sligo Hertz office, only about 8 blocks away.  Arrived at the office, located on the back side, near a Tesco parking lot and sort of difficult to find, even though our GPS said we had arrived.  Sure enough, a small office with a roll-up type garage door, not very well sign posted.

A couple of cars parked right in front of the office, and we wondered which one might be ours.  Soon another car pulled up, and a lady got out and unlocked the office.  She had keys and paperwork in her hand, and asked if we were looking to trade a car.  We gave her our keys and paperwork, she took a walk around the car, and then waved us off wishing us better luck with this one.  Across the parking lot was another Opel, just like the one we traded in!  Only...in much better condition, and a couple years newer, and lots fewer miles on it!  And, instead of being a 5 speed gas, it was a 6 speed diesel!  And everything worked!  We checked the tires, rims, and wind screen, and satisfied with it, headed back to the B&B to gather the ladies and the luggage.  Was on the road toward Donegal by 9:30....not too much behind schedule.

Was a short pleasant drive to Donegal Town, and spotted a craft mall just on the outskirts.  Stopped in to see artists, jewelry, pottery, hand weaver and then visited the coffee shop for  coffee/tea/lattes. Spent about an hour there, then on into Donegal.  Parked across the street from the Castle, in almost the exact spot we had parked 4 years earlier!  L&G decided to tour the castle, and really enjoyed it.  Since we had already done that, opted to do some shopping for the grand daughters.  Found some cute stuff, and managed to find another iPhone cover at "Everythings 2 Euros" store....the one I got in County Cork 18 months ago was wearing out.  We didn't buy near as much stuff this time as we did the first 3 times....just some playing cards, and a few small bottles of Scotch Whiskey at the Distillerys.

Headed on out in a westerly direction to Slieve League Cliffs.  It didn't seem near as far this time as it did 4 years ago, and soon arrived at the lower car park.  Used the toilet facilities, as didn't recall seeing any at the upper car park.  L opened the sheep gate, and we drove right on up...no problem.  I think they improved the road since we were there last.  I had made the 45 minute walk up there that time, as DW was back at the car with a broken shoulder (long story in a previous trip report NW Ireland)  The road had a couple of sharp bends, and narrow spots, so it wouldn't pay to get in a hurry, as someone may have to back up if you were to meet up at the narrow areas.  A 9 passenger CIE tour van met us, and we had no problem getting past.  However NO big Coaches here...YEA!

DW, L, and G were all awe-struck at the sight, and it was just as impressive for me as the the first time!  Beautiful mostly sunny day with high whispy clouds, some breeze, but cool....just nice layer/jacket weather probably high 40's, low 50's by the time we left.  Spent an hour wandering around, taking numerous pictures and videos with my iPhone.  Opted to open the boot and get our mid-day snacks out, and this would have to be the most incredible place in Ireland to have a picnic lunch.  Finally had to tear ourselves away, as there were things to do and miles to cover before nightfall.

Headed back down, and then a northerly route on some one track roads thru Glencombcile, then on to Ardara.  Had read and heard a lot about Nancy's Pub in Ardara, and we planned NOT to miss it.  It had to be one of the best small pub experieces that I can remember. It was small, old, had been in the family many years, and generations.  We had the place to ourselves.  Now, we had to have our mid-afternoon toddy, as B had gotten us into this bad habit during our week in Scotland!  It appeared to be a family run operation, and they, and their staff were deep cleaning and doing minor renovations in the start of the off-season, after a busy tourist season.  They were very proud to point out that they had recently been awarded Pub of the Year for Ireland for 2013.  I thought it was just a wicked attempt at Irish humor, since it was still 2012.  They showed us the plaque, and explained that this award is always given for the following year!  It was a real honor.  We enjoyed the cozy atmosphere complete with a turf fire burning in the stone fireplace.  Enjoyed about an hour of craic with the staff/owners before heading out once again

By this time, we realized that we needed to push on to get to Derry for the usual 6PM check-in time at Amore B&B.  I didn't realize that Derry was that big...a small city, and rush hour traffic was intense the last 15 miles, but Jenny led us right in, and said we had arrived.  But, the B&B we were in front of was not Amore!  Went up to the door and asked, and they said Amore is right next door.  It had a small sign, and we were convinced that the GPS had messed up.  It pays to look around!  Went to the door, and the note said to use the intercom system  that was kinked to the owners cell phone.  They arrived within 2 minutes, as they didn't live on location, but just around the corner.

We checked in, and this B&B reflected the nature of Derry....old but nice, neat, clean.  The owners were what made the heart and soul of this place.  They were so helpful, full of tips and suggestions about pubs, music, restaurants, shopping, sight seeing, esp about the Inishowen Pensinsula north of Derry, which was in our plans for the next day.  We were all pretty pooped by now, so decided to kick back, relax, nap, use the community computer/internet in the breakfast room on the ground floor.  About 7:45, we started to get hungry, and decided we had better head downtown for our evening out.  This B&B is well within walking distance of everything in Derry, but due to how weary we were becoming, and the evening air really cool, decided to make it easy on ourselves and get a cab down to the suggested pub for pub grub, for just 3-4 Euro Charge...well worth it.  As luck would have it, this pub had just stopped serving food.  They asked what we wanted for food, and everybody had already decided it was time for Irish Fish and Chips.  They suggested Fitzroys, but be sure to ask for their discount.

Sure enuf, the menu prices were high, but they had a 30% discount tonight (actually Thurs-Sunday, and a 50% discount Mon-Tues) which  made it a reasonable price of 21.50GBP for 2 fish dinners and 2 pints.  Couldn't figure out why they were playing games with their menu prices....had never run into that kind of situation before.  It was as good as they said it would be.

Then headed over to Peadar O'Donalds Pub, which was suppose to be the best bet for Trad Music.  And we hit the jackpot!   Unknown to us, on this night a young musician named Cairn Carlin was scheduled to lead  the session.  We had settled into a fairly good table against the far wall opposite the band, and only 2 tables between us.  However, it proved to be a routy, noisy place, a large hen party, young couples getting pretty smashed, and we could barely visit.  A middle age gentlemen came over and started the craic.  He asked us where we were from, and we were instant friends!  He assured us that the loud crowd would leave by the time the music started, and urged us to stay to hear the 3 time all-Ireland champion flute/tin whistle player.  He first won the award when he was only 16.  This guy seemed to be kind of a "promoter" and he flitted back and forth between the band, which was setting up and to our table, numerous times.

Then a film crew came in with a lot of sophisticated looking camera, light, and sound equipment, and started setting up to our left, in between the bar and the band.  "Promoter" came over to let us know that they would be filming part of a documentary on Derry, since Derry had recently been named as the Culture City of the UK for 2013.  They had planned to film Trad music as part of the culture scene.  Sure enuf, the producer came over and asked us for our permission to be filmed in case the camera were to pan over us.  We agreed...supposed we would have to move if not granting permission.

Promptly at 10PM the music started! And what a treat.  Cairn was joined by a guitarist, fiddle player, banjo, and bodhran.  I have never heard such a performance on a flute or tin whistle before or since.  L was blown away, as he was starting to doubt me when kept telling him that we would find some great Trad.  (We had bombed out 18 months earlier, as March was not the time for trad in rural county Cork) L had been in a rock band called William Penn and the Quakers, and he put himself through college with the money he made doing that, and actually making more money in a year than his college professors! He had also taught music several years in public schools, and Canada, and Germany.  This was a real treat.  Soon the camera crew was visiting with "the promoter" and then the camera man made his way to our table.  He took close up shots of our pints of Guinness/Smithwicks and then shots of us drinking!  We played along, doing an Irish toast!  Next they put the camera on the floor, pointing it under our table!  They were trying to capture the toe-tapping going on down there, I guess!  Of course they took numerous shots all around the pub, and specifically of the band and Cairn.  I was totally convinced at this point, that this was to be one of those special wow experiences in Ireland that you can't plan on, and have to just get lucky and stumble upon!  Over and over, L and I mentioned our good fortune on this night!

After about an hour, the folks at the table nearest the band were preparing to leave.  "Promoter" jumped up and immediately made special arrangements to get our group of 4 moved over to that table!  We couldn't believe it!  We were with in arms reach of the musicians, and they were quite willing to visit with us between numbers.  "Promoter"  stood near Cairn most of the, and just grinned from ear to ear.  Earlier on, he had mentioned that he would also play an instrument sometime that night.  He didn't say when or what instrument.  I have often wondered since, if he wasn't Cairn's Dad.  Should have asked him.  Of course, this required a few more pints than normal, and we were having a good time....except the gals were getting tired.  They were about ready to go, and L and I wanted to stay till the end. We bid "Promoter" good bye, and he was disappointed we couldn't stay and hear him play.    We used better judgement, and agreed to take the gals back to the B&B via taxi, arriving at 1AM.  Whew, what a 2 day whirlwind in Ireland, and we were really tired.  Hit the hay for much needed sleep.

More to come!   Dan

 

 



-- Edited by murphy on Sunday 30th of December 2012 03:19:43 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Sunday 30th of December 2012 03:51:25 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Sunday 30th of December 2012 04:08:56 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Sunday 30th of December 2012 04:13:51 PM



-- Edited by murphy on Sunday 30th of December 2012 04:22:54 PM

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Dan -- I'm with Bit.

Scotland / Ireland is kinda like the "Chicken and the Egg" -- both claiming to have been source to the other! biggrin

MY report deleted info on Paris, Brugge and Brussels, which can hardly make that same claim.

You are reminding me of how much we enjoyed our time in Edinburgh, back in 2007.

Thanks for the memories.

Bob



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Fri Oct 26

Slept in till 8:30, and had another great full Irish breakfast. Today was our day to spend some time in Derry town, as well as on the Inshowen Peninsula to the north of Derry. Decided we needed to drive first. Headed to Burt, to see the ring fort. It was a long winding uphill drive, but well worth it for the awesome 360 degree view of 3 counties; Tyrone, Donegal, and Londonderry Counties. It was cool and windy, but bright sunshine that enhanced the beautiful views. Lingered there for over a half hour, then headed back downhill.

Turned northbound to Fort Duree. Our B&B host was spot on when he suggested this stop, as well as the ring fort. Originally, it was a British Fort, but due to its location along a large deepwater body of salt water inlet, it was very important fort during WWI and WWII. It is a great museum, with real cannons, huge search lights, and under ground bunkers that you could go inside. Lining the walls of the hall ways and bunkers were glass cases with war memorabilia. After a couple of hours, it was time to head back to Derry

Had a light lunch out of the trunk of the car consisting of cheese crackers, and "spam"!! Been years since we ate spam, but was convenient, and tasty for a change! Had to go all the way to Ireland to eat pork that was probably produced in the midwest of the US and canned by Hormel in Minnesota! go figure! Do to lack of refrigeration access, we felt the canned meat would keep better!

Back in Derry, we bought tickets for the Martin McCrossin Derry Walking Tour. Had about 30 minutes to kill, so popped into Badgers for a pint. Met our tour guide, at 4PM who gave the 4 of us a great tour, drawing on 22 years experience. We walked clockwise arount the top of the wall, stopping numerous times for historical background on what we were seeing and what had happened over the years in this area. Got to see the tall wall that separated the Unionists from the Catholics as there is still some tension there....and the officaials think the wall is still needed, and our tour guide agreed. He pointed out several famous murals visible from the top of the wall, and when we got to one of the most famous mural, the 12 year old school girl who was killed during the troubles, a huge rain storm had developed north of us. At the moment he pointed out the school girl, a huge vividly colored rainbow appeared, and the end of the rain bow was directly on the girl's head! We all viewed it for several minutes in silence, then our guide said that he had never seen anything like it in 22 years! Another of those "wow" moments in Ireland! He mentioned several times that he wished he had brought his camera. Our tour was a little over half way around on top of the wall, on the bog side, and near the end a brief driving cold rain hit, with wind and temp around 40. BRRR. Bid our tour guide goodbye, and walked back to the car park to retrieve our vehicle.

Drove back to Amore B&B for a hot cuppa, which was much needed after the cold rain. Since we were getting around a little eariler this night, we made it to Badgers in time for a good Pub dinner. Headed back to Amore for an early night, although I was now in the mood for trying to find some good music in a pub....but alas decided to bag it, join the other 3 in the taxi, and head for bed rather early.

I often see that Derry is not well regarded on some forums, and sometimes they suggest just a quick stop. I thought our 2 nights and 1 day in Derry were well worth it, probably because of the history, and 1 of the few complete walled cities remaining in Europe.

Dan



-- Edited by murphy on Thursday 17th of January 2013 10:01:56 PM

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Sat Oct 27

Departed Amore B&B and Derry around 9AM (it is difficult to get an early start after lingering over breakfast). We consulted Jenny, and she helped us point the car to the east, and to the Causeway Costal route (we thought!) However, as we drove, we noticed that we were gradually getting away from the north coast, and on a mainly inland route. My map reader, and copilot/navigator let me down. I think he was napping, but claimed he was just resting his eyes! At anyrate, our first planned stop was Mussenden Temple, and Jenny succeeded in bringing us in from the Southeast, instead of the west. Guess this was the shortest route or quickest route, and the result was we got to see some agriculture scenes rather than coastal scenes. My map person vowed to do better!

It was a little cool, with sunbreaks, but rather ominus looking dark clouds to the west. Nevertheless, we had our layers on, and our rain jackets. Since we had come in from the east, we parked near the bridge, which resulted in more walking. Could have used the west entrance, and would have been closer to the Temple. Actually, the long walk was just what we needed after a huge breakfast!

The temple and mansion were impressive. The private wealth that it took to build all this must have been huge back in that time in history. Upon reaching the Temple, situated right on the edge of the huge drop off, we could look back west, and see what we had missed on the coastal route. The temple was just a couple of feet from the edge, and the signage indicated that there used to be enough room to drive a horse and carriage around it. Make you think its days are numbered....

On the walk back to the car, it started raining....brrr cold showers, not lashing down, but brief light showers. Decided that we needed to head back west, as there was a small beach resort community and Behome Beach that needed exploring, just a couple miles out of our way. It was a stunning beach, yellow sand, very pristine. We walked about a bit, then used the beach approach public restrooms. Here is where my biggest regret of the trip took place. I had a cannon 1100ES camera along with my Iphone, which I was mainly using for videos. I always keep my camera in a waist pouch, which I usually always wear. This morning I got in a hurry...and didn't. Just had my camera in hand to take beach pictures. Upon entering the restroom, I hung it on the hook on the door....big mistake....I walked out without it, and didn't miss it till we reached Dunluce Castle several miles, and considerable time later.

Upon arriving at Dunluce, we tore the car apart looking for the camera, and gave up.  I was just sick. Luckily, I had changed SD cards in the camera upon leaving Scotland and arriving in Ireland.  At least I hadn't lost ALL my pictures for the whole trip.  Toured the castle, now using my Iphone for still shots and videos, racking my brain trying to remember where my camera might be. (It was not till later in the afternoon, that I remembered) The Castle was stunning. Spent a couple of hours there. Used the headphone system for a self guided tour. Was very impressive. Not to be missed! Weather had improved....warmer, no rain! I've heard people complain about touring Europe....Castles and more castles...churches and more churches. I never get tired of touring castles, or churches for that matter! It get the imagination going, wondering what it would have been like to be in or live in one of these structures hundreds of years ago.....

Arrived in the beautiful little seaside village of Portrush about 4:30PM, and checked into our B&B; Averest. A great suggestion from Tony, we really liked this place! A young couple with a family were the owners/operators. They had purchased this a while back, and it had been an apartment/self cater in it's former life. Now a really good family run B&B, and although was multi-story, it had a lift! Location was great, near the water front, to the north, but also easy walking distance to pubs and restaurants. Headed down to "55 Degrees Norh" restaurant for our evening meal. It was here that I tried my first roast lamb. Really good....just as good as the lamb chops I had the last time in Ireland. The Irish really know how to fix lamb....a good thing....since there are probably more sheep than people on the Island! DW had lasgna, and L & G were well satisfied with the food. The B&B owners suggested this place, and we find that you rarely get mis-led about suggested eating places when asking the locals!

It was during the meal that I suddenly realized where my camera was. Our waitress was very friendly, and so I asked her how I might contact someone to possibly get it back. She suggested the local police for that area. Shortly, she came back with 2 phone numbers. One for the police dispatch, and one for the park service that takes care of the beach. No answer at the park service, so left a brief message, and a phone number. The police dispatch said they would have an officer who patrols that area take a look and see if it might still be there, and likewise took my contact information. All to no avail...my camera is probably forever gone. Advice: when traveling from now on, it would be good to have a: camera, purse, wallet, mobile phone check in your vehicle just prior to departing after every stop!

Only got  to 2 attractions today...but some days you just need to take it easy! The causeway coastal route is stunning, and Portrush a nice little village. Had intended to head over to Portstewart, just a short distance away....we hear that there is good icecream available there, but elected to skip it due to probably ruining our evening meal. maybe next time.....

No Trad music in town tonight, so got to turn in at a decent hour, still needing to catch up on our sleep.

Dan



-- Edited by murphy on Monday 21st of January 2013 09:36:52 AM

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Oh, Dan! So sorry to hear about losing your camera. evileye What a bummer. You might enjoy this little article I wrote about Mussenden: http://tinyurl.com/crnbrax 



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Michele,

A real bummer. If I can save just one person this agony on their trip; by fessin' up to my embarrassing mistake, it would be worth it!
Dan

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