Feeling Lazy

Today is shaping up to be a complete lazy day. Not that I’m complaining, since I had a rather full day yesterday. I started off meeting mom and a friend of hers for a few hours walk in the forest getting some refreshing time and inspiration-photos. Seriously, I got a few perfect photos to have on hand when writing on Tales of Gaile ^^

img_20160416_182928.jpg

That left me a bit tired and with my knee aching slightly when I had to go in to work for the afternoon and evening, but it was totally worth it!

Working was not much fun though, since I was already tired from three full 12h days before, but I dragged myself through it with coffee and sugar ^^ That always works.

I am feeling it today though… My entire body is sore from the combination of working too much and the long walk in the forest, but that’s what today is for. Resting up. So that’s what I’ll do, sit around doing a lot of nothing ^^

A much needed face-lift

My work have really needed a make-over for quite a while. I have been working there for more than two years now, and the chairs and tables in the seating area have needed to get changed almost since I first started… Well, now it has finally happened! And what a change it made! Getting lighter furniture made a world of difference, just look for yourself!

Work Collage

Vacation Wonders; Rounding It Up (Inverness Part 5 – 19-20/6)

Part 1: Getting There
Part 2: Hunting the Loch Ness Monster
Part 3: A Stroll Down History
Part 4: A Not-Exactly-Rest Day

There in not really much else to tell about the last days of our time in Inverness. We stayed in town during the Friday, getting our day of rest and laziness, buying a few things we needed and just browsing the one-pound shop.

The only thing that might be of interest is that we both got ourselves E-Cigarettes. I have been considering it for a while, because keeping up a smoking habit is rapidly getting more expensive, and I do not have the willpower to simply quit. This is a more economical alternative, and I don’t have the problem with smelling of tobacco wherever I go. The people in the shop where we bought them were very friendly and helpful, taking the time to explain everything to us, and showing us how to put them together, take them apart and change and refill everything that we will need to.

I realized fairly quickly that they easily become addictive in their own right, because of the flavors (there are so many to choose from it’s a little daunting) but I suppose you get used to that as well.

Apart from that, Friday was more or less spent sitting in the lounge at the Guesthouse reading the book I bought at the Loch Ness Center; Scottish Myths and Legends. It’s a really interesting book, with a lot of shorter stories.

And then the next day it was time to leave for home again. Leaving the Guesthouse and getting on the train to Dyce, I really felt that I didn’t want to go home. I could have easily stayed another week if my wallet and job would have allowed me, because there is still so much that we didn’t get to see and do! But we can always come back, and I am 100% sure that we will.

Finally, enjoy a few random photos that didn’t make it into the other posts, but that I liked. And have a wonderful day!

Misc

Vacation Wonders; A Not-Exactly-Rest Day (Inverness Part 4 – 18/6)

Part 1: Getting There
Part 2: Hunting the Loch Ness Monster
Part 3: A Stroll Down History

This was supposed to be a rest day, we had decided to just be lazy the entire day… That didn’t exactly work out the way we had thought…

After a late morning we went off to the Shopping Mall to find a new suitcase for D (since his old one was missing a wheel) and ended up getting a few more things. I got myself a new handbag, a bigger one than the one I had before, giving me more room for things on the journey back. I also blew £8 on a mug… Now, I would never spend that much on a mug normally, but I couldn’t just NOT buy this one. I blame D really. He was the one who found it, and if he hadn’t shown it to me I wouldn’t have know that it was there. So really, it’s his fault. Not that I’m complaining much!

Mug

I got the bow-tie hair-clip lying on top of it that day as well (because bow-ties are cool!). It was a set of two originally but my sister got one of them when we came home. I also got the Doctor Who Visual Dictionary… I can’t help it, I’m a nerd!

After dropping the shopping off at our room we set ourselves to following River Ness as far as we could manage, and ended up in the industrial part of Inverness. On the way there, we found a small clock-tower with a painted-on TARDIS-blue clock and apparently a bird sitting on it. I honestly didn’t notice that bird until I went through the photos on the computer at home.

TARDIS-Blue

Anyway, leaving my complete Doctor Who mindset in the dust, we ended up at the Inverness Marina. We knew that there were boat-tours that went out from there to see the dolphins that live in Moray Firth, and decided on the spot that we were going on the next one that left the marina. On that boat I managed to take one of my absolute favorite photos of the entire trip; the one I call My Wonderland.

Wonderland

As we turned and headed out in the direction of the North Sea (though never actually going that far out) we managed to see two dolphins playing around in the water. They were jumping and looked like they were having fun, and they were a wonder to watch. Dolphins are amazingly beautiful animals and seeing them in the wild was an experience that I will not soon forget.

Dolphins

We didn’t much fancy walking back into town when we got back, but luckily we managed to share a taxi with one of the couples that were on the boat with us. We stopped at the railway-station and went to have dinner. We had already decided that we were going to a place called The Kitchen, and that was recommended to us by the man in the small shop at Dyce train-station. Now, the restaurant was really nice, the staff was kind and friendly, and the food was really good, though slightly more expensive than where we had been eating up until then. Despite all this I kept feeling strangely under-dressed… I think it has something to do with the fact that we were met in the door by a man in a suit who showed us to a table. There is something indefinably intimidating about men in suits, they always make me feel really out of place for some reason. But the food was good!

On our way back from dinner we went to buy the things we had been wanting ever since the first day. We had been deliberately putting it off, but now the time was right. They each cost £72.95 but they were SO worth it! I mean, just look at these beauties!

Daggers

Final Part Coming Up; Rounding it Up

Vacation Wonders; A Stroll Down History (Inverness Part 3 – 17/6)

Part 1: Getting There
Part 2: Hunting the Loch Ness Monster

By far the emotionally strongest day of the week was when we took the bus to Culloden Moor to see the Battlefield. It was one of the things I had known from a start that I wanted to see so I was looking forward to it very much. And the fact that it started with some major bus confusions didn’t dampen my excitement in the least.

Culloden-Entrance

We went through the exhibition at the Visitor Center and it was a really interesting experience. History has an unfortunate tendency to be colored by the winners in a conflict, but that was certainly not the case here. The halls were split in two sides, one for the Englishmen and one for the Jacobites, both telling the story of the events before during and after the Battle of Culloden, but from the different perspectives of the opposing sides. I thought it was a very clever way of going about it, and you get the whole picture in a really good way.

At the end of the exhibition we were able to hold some of the weapons that were used in the battle, which was awesome. The swords were much lighter than I originally thought, even I would be able to wield it fairly comfortably for a short time.

We were given Audio Guides as we exited the exhibition to carry with us as we walked across the moor, which made the entire experience so much stronger. The Guide was activated by GPS and gave us facts at the very spots that the information was centered around. This made it much more real than just walking around would have done. Also, that moor is really big, and amazingly beautiful! I would love to go back there and just wander about for a few hours on my own with a notebook and the camera.

Culloden-Moor

And of course we walked by the Memorial Cairn and the row of Memorial Stones for the Clans, which really made one realize how many people actually died on the very moor we were walking on…

Clan-Stones

When we were finished walking around we still had a long time before there was a bus back into town, so we decided to walk the 1.5 miles to the Bronze Age cemetery called Clava Cairns. Now, while it was beautiful in its own right, I was more fascinated by the question of how these people of so long ago ever thought about making their graves in these particular shapes and patterns. Because the ideas have to have come from somewhere, but there is really no one around now that could answer that question.

Clava-Cairns

The walk there was really easy, but getting back to the Visitors Center to catch the bus was a lot more taxing. It was uphill like, 98% of the way! By the time we got back to Inverness our legs were completely killed in combat and we had to rest in our room for a while before going to get dinner.

We had decided to get Chinese All-You-Can-Eat Buffet (because why not) and it was fairly decent. I still think that D’s Sea Blue drink, complete with a parasol and a pink straw was the best thing of that entire dinner! The staff looked really uncomfortable with their jobs though… Or maybe that was just the specific waiter that we had…

There was one more stop that we had decided on for that day, and that was a visit to a small-ish bar called Gellions. We noticed while wandering around that they had live music on Wednesday and Saturday nights and we just needed to be there. It was an absolutely amazing end of the day. They played a lot of Scottish folksongs and others, a lot of them in Gaelic, which completely made my night! I could listen to Gaelic for hours, despite not understanding a word of it. For some reason I find it pleasant to listen to, and a great way to wind down from a great day.

Stay Tuned For; A Not-Exactly-Rest Day

Vacation Wonders; Hunting the Loch Ness Monster (Inverness Part 2 – 16/6)

Part 1: Getting There

Now, I don’t know if we were just tired from the trip, or if our sleep-patterns are really that messed up, but we managed to oversleep and almost missed breakfast on the very first morning in Inverness… I got down the stairs just as breakfast ended and was only intending to sneak myself a cup of coffee. The guy in charge of the Guesthouse however, insisted that we could get breakfast despite being late, so we managed a really nice morning after all.

We pretty much planned the days as they came, and on Tuesday we decided to go see Loch Ness, one of the things that we had both been interested in doing. So down to the bus-station we went to find our way. There we met a woman that was incredibly helpful. She apparently took the bus we were going to take often, and knew a lot about the bus routes. To be honest, I thought it was a little bit creepy how insistently helpful she was. Really, think Arthur Shappey-helpful but without the benefit of a Code Red!

Anyway, we got where we were planning to go; the village called Drumnadrochit. It is home to the Loch Ness Center, more commonly referred to as Nessieland. They held a truly interesting tour that showed the history of the Nessie-myth. They went through the very first stories about something strange in the Loch, and all the tests and observations that have been done since. It was really fascinating. Unfortunately it was too dark in there to take any photos, but if you ever find yourself in the vicinity, I can truly recommend taking the tour.

Nessieland

We had a boat trip on Loch Ness lined up next, but while waiting we sat down in a small cafe and talking. It ended up that we had not been in the country for two days, and we were both completely prepared to explore the possibilities of moving to Scotland. Seriously, that is now our long-time goal.

The boat trip out on the Loch was absolutely amazing! The bloody thing is incredibly huge and very, very beautiful. Since I have a weakness for beautiful nature, this was something of a perfect trip, because the beauty was literally all around you at all times.

Loch-Ness

We went by Urquhart Castle on our way back and it was really rather impressive. It’s just a big ruin, and we contemplated if we should have gone there to actually walk around and have a look, but decided that we were not gonna get a better view than the one we got from the water.

Urquhart-Castle

And then we were met by a little friend as we came back to the docks, that was a really nice surprise,

Loch-Ness-Bird

Now, the Captain of the boat that we were out on were a really cool. We discovered during the trip that he was actually the one who found the very deepest part of the Loch, the rift called Edwards Deep. Also, the boat was called Nessie Hunter, which made my day.

Nessie-Hunter

 It was a wonderful day all in all, but all that fresh air meant we were fairly tired by the time we got back to Inverness. After getting dinner at a Jamaican restaurant (because why not) we spent the rest of the evening in our room. I had picked up a Doctor Who Magazine at the little shop inside the railway station, and D had bought a movie, so we were basically just lazing around.

Next Time; A Stroll Down History

Vacation Wonders; Getting There (Inverness Part 1 – 14-15/6)

This trip, while it ended up being one of the greatest weeks I’ve had in a very long time, did not start off with a smooth ride.

I had work during Sunday, and since we needed to get to the airport Sunday night to be on time for the flight on Monday morning, I felt a bit pressed for time. I got off work around 9 pm, and just basically hurried home to change clothes and grab my bag. I had to change though, because there was no way I was going to sit at an airport all day, and then the actual travelling time, in the same clothes I had just worked 12 hours in a kitchen wearing… Really, I would have loved to take a shower before leaving as well, but had to be realistic. There just wasn’t time for that. The train we had to catch left at 10.30 pm after all.

We did manage to catch the train and got to the airport alright, and then commenced what I’d like to call ‘The Great Wait’… Sitting at an airport all night is not really my idea of fun. And for some reason I was utterly unable to sleep, so by the end of the Wait I was bored out of my mind and basically sleep-walking.

Then when the time came to finally check in, it looked like there was a possibility that we would need to wait ANOTHER two hours. Well, we had a choice whether to accept or not and at that point two hours wouldn’t really make much of a difference, but still… The thing was that the flight was over-booked and if everyone who booked showed up, the plane would basically be short two seats. Apparently this happens from time to time, and since we were travelling as a pair they asked if we would be willing to be re-scheduled on another flight if this happened. The alternative flight would be going directly to Aberdeen instead of stopping off in Amsterdam, and would not make us miss our booked train, so we agreed. We even got compensated for it, only for agreeing. That was a bit of a surprise, because I had understood it as we were getting compensated if we had to use the alternative flight only, but apparently we got it either way. Which was rather neat all things considering.

We ended up going on the flight we had originally booked, so we were off to Amsterdam before getting to our final destination. Now, I LOVE flying, I have ever since the first time I was on a plane. Especially take-offs. There is something that just makes me feel really good when the plane leaves the ground and start rising into the air. I have no idea what it is, but I love it. There is also something incredibly amusing about listening to Cabin Pressure while actually flying.

That amazing moment when twelve tons of metal leaves the earth… and no one knows why.
– Arthur Shappey on take-offs (Cabin Pressure Ep 1 – Abu Dhabi)

The first thing that struck me when we reached Amsterdam was how amazingly huge Schiphol Airport is. I mean, the D-section of gates alone had over 60 gates… Do you really need that many? It was a rather impressive building though. Part of it felt more like a Mall than an airport.

The flight from Amsterdam to Aberdeen (Dyce) was spent reading and dozing off and when we got there we needed to find our way to the train-station for the last leg of our journey. This proved much easier than we had planned in time for, since there were buses going there fairly regularly. I don’t think I could ever get used to the way some bus-drivers drive to be honest. He drove as if he had stolen the bus, and me being squeamish about buses in the first place because they make me ill, this was not a ride I enjoyed. Fortunately it was over fairly quick, with the downside that we had a two hour wait for the train that we had booked tickets for (we figured we might need that time to safely find our way to the train-station…) It wasn’t too bad though. We found a small food-place right next to the station which served some decent chips and had a very chatty and nice man behind the counter. We stood chatting with him for quite a while, filling up some of the waiting time.

Dyce

When we finally got on the train, I fell asleep over the table fairly quickly. At that point I had been awake for a bit over 36 hours (unless you count dozing for a few minutes at a time on the plane… I don’t) and when I sat down in the seat for that final part of the journey all the tension and energy just seeped out of me and I couldn’t have stayed awake if I tried.

When we (finally) arrived in Inverness I was slightly more rested and felt rather good, though I was craving a shower pretty badly. We managed to find the Guesthouse that we were to be staying in without any major mishaps (apart from the fact that D’s suitcase lost one of its wheels on the way there…) and checked in. I really liked that place right off the bat. The staff were nice and friendly and the room was fairly comfortable. There were a few things that I reacted to, but nothing much that would impact us in any way. The only thing that continued to bug me during our stay was the shower… There was little to no water-pressure which made it a pain to actually get clean. Not to mention washing your hair, it took ages. It also took a really long time for the water to get anywhere close to warm, which I found to be an issue since I like my showers hot. That was the only major issue though, because we could always make up for the crappy wi-fi with going to the railway-station where the connection was top-notch. We didn’t really need wi-fi much anyway apart from accessing our bank-accounts.

Guesthouse

We rested in our room for a bit after getting there, taking a shower and napping for a bit, before getting out to explore the city. After finding somewhere to have dinner (and I still haven’t figured out what that strange cider-beer hybrid I was drinking was), we walked up to Inverness Castle by the worst path that we could find (of course, we didn’t find the easier path until later) and I never wanted to even look at stairs again after that.

Inverness-Castle

After looking around the castle for a bit we just… continued walking. We still say that we didn’t get lost, but that is mainly because we didn’t have a goal in mind. If someone asked us to show where we had been walking, we wouldn’t be able to tell, because we have no idea where we ended up. But we weren’t lost!

Anyway, we somehow made it back to familiar territory (as in a place where we would actually find our way back to the Guesthouse) and did a little shopping on the way back. And during this bit of shopping we found the things that would be our goal for the end of the week. We didn’t want to buy them on the first day, because they were rather expensive, but we kept them in mind without fail.

And that was pretty much it for our first day of vacation. It was the start of a lovely week, and though it was a long and tiring trip it was definitely worth it!

Stay tuned for the next part of my report; Hunting the Loch Ness Monster