Friday, April 18, 2014

Scotland More or Ness (Part 2)

 So... I forgot to put up the second part of my post.  :-)  Whoops.  Well here it is. 

The next day, Karl picked us up at our hotel and we were off in our adventure for the day. Karl started off by taking us to visit the Glenfiddich Distillery for a tour of how Scotch is made in Scotland. On the way we took us to a small site that felt like it was in the middle of nowhere, the Maiden Stone. Apparently there is a myth that this stone was created when the Devil chased a maiden and touched her on the shoulder (where there is a notch), turning her to stone. Karl made note that this stone, made of a pink granite, had to have been drug about 60 miles by the Pictish in order to be placed at this location since only grey granite was in this area.  Don't really believe in the Devil Myth, but it really makes you think of the effort that had to be put in for these things to be made and placed where they were..

Then after a little more driving, we reached the Glenfiddich Distillery. This was an especially neat distillery because not only do they give you a brief video and a fairly detailed tour of the facility, but it's FREE! It is neat getting a perspective of what goes into the process of making Scotch. From the barrels, to the malt and the distillation process itself. There is even a neat and tasty little cafe that is located at the distillery where you can enjoy a coffee and scone while you wait.

Once our tour of Glenfiddich was complete we started our trek towards Loch Ness. Alone the way Karl stopped us at another interesting Pictish historical site. The Balnuaran of Clava, a prehistoric cemetary or set of cairns. 

 In reality, resembling a trio of stone mounds but it oddly reminds me of the burrows from Lord of the Rings. And definitely interesting when you consider the history of the site. As an added bonus, there is a quite beautiful view of a nearby train bridge that spans the valley the cairns reside in. Definitely a worthwhile stop.

When we got to Loch Ness, we stopped along the road that runs parallel to the loch for pictures. After that we headed to the Jacobite Loch Ness boat tour to take the boat from the main visitor center along Loch Ness to Castle Urquhart where we spent the rest of our time at Loch Ness wandering around Urquhart ruins to see what that fort used to look like. 

 It definitely had a beautiful view of the loch, especially as the sun went down. Following Loch Ness we drove home where Karl stopped at a couple of scenic overlooks for a photograph opportunities. All of which were beautiful.

For dinner we ended up going to Jamie's Italian restaurant, since almost nothing seems to be open after 9pm for dinner. We wandered around Belmont street after dinner to see what was going on for the night life. We ended up stopping at Slaine's Castle bar again for a beer as they were closing shop and took the time to read more of the ghost stories posted on the wall.

Our last day in Scotland was simply spend wandering around our home base of Aberdeen. We walked by the statue of William Wallace for photographs, as well as the park that is right next to it. We then headed to eat a Full English breakfast at a local greasy spoon, sit down joint called Cafe Roza. It was delicious start to the day. After breakfast we continued wandering around and looking at the local city. We stopped at the Tolbooth, near the Mercat Cross in the square. It was an interesting stop to learn about the detainment of past prisoners and offenders. After that we had lunch at The Blackfriar to round out and finish off our trip of Aberdeen. Then we picked up our luggage at the hotel and went to the airport for a safe and uneventful flight back to Germany.

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