Remember that time when……Tales of Disaster!

Oh dear! What to do!
Oh dear! What to do!

This year has been amazing. in 2014, I went to 10 (ten) countries and September hasn’t yet ended and I’ve travelled to nine (9) countries already!

Yes, nine (9) countries!

Travelling to a foreign country is always exciting and recently, I read a post from a young American blogger called Amanda, in which she shared travel stories that weren’t so nice. She called her piece: Bloggers and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Travel Day.

I also read a very engaging post from another American blogger called KemKem. She told us about what can happen to people who aren’t properly prepared. You could end up scrubbing toilets for tuppence! Read it here: Quit your job, sell your stuff and be a digital nomad? NO. Not Yet!

Now believe it or not, my blog isn’t even two (2) years old and even though it’s a young, dynamic blog (Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!), I have been travelling far and wide BEFORE the blog itself existed.

Oh yes sirree!

On the beach in Sanur, Bali.
On the beach in Sanur, Bali.

I have been to 30 countries in Europe, 10 countries in Asia, 6 countries in Africa, 2 countries in North America, 1 country in South America, 1 country in the Middle East, 5 dependent islands, That makes a grand total of 55 countries.

I have had some exciting times.

I have had some intriguing times.

And some of those times were rather more adventurous than I expected.

Or even wanted!

So here’s a few to whet your appetite for the week. Here we go…

IN ASIA

At the Ranthambore National Park, India.
At the Ranthambore National Park, India.

Remember that time when I arrived in Delhi (India) and my executive deluxe room (just €17.00) had been given to somebody else!

I had heard rumours of the chaos and disorganisation of Asian bookings so I had actually searched out the room myself on-line (Ha! Ha!) and had asked STA (Student Travel Agency) in Berlin to book it on my behalf. I paid them here and called the hotel in Delhi.

Everything was fine.

A week to go, I called the hotel. The booking had been received.

24 hours prior, I faxed the hotel whilst I had a 24 hour stop-over in Istanbul. All was perfectly OK.

The Indian hotel even sent a driver to pick me up at the airport as my flight arrived at 02.00 in the wee hours, but when I finally got to the Reception desk at 03:00, the Hotel Receptionist didn’t know who the hell I was!

My room was nowhere to be seen and my already paid-for-and-confirmed-booking was nowhere to be found!

His solution. I ought to go to another hotel “down the road!”

I was so scared.

The Taj Mahal in India.
The Taj Mahal in India.

I was in India.

Solo.

And Alone.

I absolutely refused to move from his side and stood in front of him.

I showed him the receipt, the hotel confirmation, the copy of the bill and the fax, but he just shrugged his shoulders and carried on watching Indian TV.

And then I began to cry.

And cry.

And cry.

Ad then I don’t know whether he was embarrassed, or just wanted to take pity on me but he asked me to wait.

I waited.

For two (2) hours!

Local Indian men, India.

And then a man came out with his belongings and a blanket wrapped around his waist. An old woman went into a room and washed and cleaned it.

That was my room.

He never did explain what happened, and I never asked. I was just happy to be safe and sound.

And then I locked the door and went to sleep for a few hours before being awoken by the shrilling sounds of a poppadom man on the first (1st) daunting day in India.

AFRICA

A camel in the Tunisian Sahara Desert.

Remember that time when I got mugged by a bunch of children in Tunisia!

These were the days before mobile phones.

I had decided to go on a last-minute holiday to Hammamet for just €99.00. Now one of the beauties of going on a “last-minute” holiday was that you didn’t really know where you were going and you had to leave everything to chance and cross your fingers LOL! It was January, low season, and our hotel was quiet.

Hence €99.00 for a week. Including the flight, and a half-board 4-star hotel!

I didn’t want to spend all my time around my hotel so I decided to go to the local market.

Tunisian craft

I’ve always enjoyed talking to local people, taking photographs and generally poking my nose here and there.

I happened to stop at a shop which sold leather purses and handbags. I bought two (2) and continued to wander aimlessly around.

Suddenly, a bunch of young children came running towards me.

I had been day-dreaming so didn’t see them coming and ended up right in the middle of at least 20 kids.

I held my hands up to hold my balance and that was when I realised that a little hand had slipped their fingers into my pockets, and taken my purse.

My purse which had money in it and my keys.

I have the tones and look of a teacher. I tried to gather them all up and decipher who had taken my purse.

I asked them to open their hands, but they just giggled, opened their hands and ran circles around me.

No purse.

$?&!!&!

How do I get back to my hotel?

I don’t have any money.

What should I do?

Cobbled streets in Tunisia.

I thought a moment and remembered the man who I had shopped at. Luckily, I remembered where he was as I had spent at few hours there haggling, and drinking tea.

The fellow didn’t speak any English and I don’t speak any Arabic or French (only school French which didn’t really help…!) but somehow, someone was able to explain what had happened.

This man who had never previously met me before that day, kindly offered to lend me some money so that I could get back to my hotel.

The hotel had to break open my suitcase as the keys were in my purse AND I had to pay for a new room key, but whatever!

The next day, I went back to the market and I returned the loan and tried to give the man a tip but he wouldn’t take it.

I never forgot him.

Oh, and when I travel. I leave my suitcase keys in the hotel safe and leave my house keys.

At home!

EUROPE

A European Capital of Culture.
A European Capital of Culture.

Remember that time when I went to the Isle of Skye in Scotland and we ended up sleeping in the office!

I’ve been to Scotland many times. I like Scotland.

It can be rough but it has a charm of it’s own.

Now because I’m married, have a child, and a job as a corporate inter-cultural life coach, educational English language trainer and teacher in Berlin, as well as this wonderful lifestyle, travel, expat blog, at some point I have to start planning for travel.

Keep calm!
Don’t worry!
Don’t panic!

 

I have to get smart.

Now I’ve said it before but if you’re over 25 years old with jobs, families, responsibilities, and crossroads in front of you, you need to do what I do.

I live life to the full, I work hard at my office and on my blog, and I get creative.

Yes, creative.

I first went to the Isle of Skye in 2007 and at that time only a little over 2,000 people lived on the Island, and the Island had just one hostel.

That one hostel had just one double room.

Which I had booked.

I reserved and booked it exactly one year ahead as we wanted to go to the Isle of Skye at peak time.

In August!

The amazing Red Hot Chilli pipers doing their stuff in Glasgow. Photo@ Chris James.
The amazing Red Hot Chilli pipers doing their stuff in Glasgow.
Photo@ Chris James.

We had been travelling around Scotland and had already been to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Perth, Aberdeen, and Inverness and the Isle of Skye was to be a highlight.

We arrived in the early evening after crossing through the Cuillin mountains so imagine my surprise, when we checked in and our booking wasn’t there.

Scratch that.

Our booking WAS there but someone had crossed it out with a pencil!

No need to panic. The guy manning the desk was just a boy. We’ll go to the local pub and come back later.

Wonderful British cheese, Scottish oatcake & English cider © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
Wonderful British cheese, Scottish oatcake & English cider
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

We came back a few hours later and indeed, our reservation WAS correct but the room was no longer available!

The manager apologised appropriately and promised to find us another room which he would personally pay for.

Well, he called as many establishments as he called.

He pretty much called the world, being that the Island is quite tiny, but no can do.

It’s August and High Season you see.

Go crazy!
Go crazy!

Not a spare room to be had anywhere.

Oh, did I tell you that I was travelling with my son. British law states that children cannot share sleeping space with adults who are non-family members hence, the private room!

In the end, the hostel made up the office and put in camping beds, and that was how we spent our first night sleeping in the manager’s office!

Are these the only stories I have?

Nope!

Books - Image Credit WhyDev

I have loads more but I’ll leave them for another day because in the next few weeks, I’ll be on the road again. This time there’ll (hopefully) be no room for disasters.

In November, I’ll be going to Bristol & Bath.

@Brunels ss Great Britain in Bristol.
Brunels’ ss Great Britain in Bristol.

I’m going to be the guest of Destination Bristol and I’ll be staying in a stylish rooftop rocket at the Brooks Guest House in Bristol. I’m going to be opening my intellect at the Bristol Old Vic. You know how much I love drama and theatre. Get a hanky and a glass of wine ready!

I’ll be chomping my way through an English fare of rabbit or lamb at The Cowshed and spending an afternoon shopping and daintily sipping and chewing Afternoon Tea at the Avon Gorge Hotel. Yum! Yum! I also have plans to go on a ship that changed the world and a historical walk through the town.

Bristol is going to be so much fun!

The Pump Room in Bath.
The Pump Room in Bath.

I’ll let you know what I’ll be doing in Bath once things are cut and dried but I’ll most likely be exploring the history behind the city’s spa culture, the 2,000 year old Roman Baths, peeking into Georgian England, nibbling on an original “Sally Lunn” bun and losing myself in the fashionable society of Jane Austen!

In October, I’ll be going to Poland.

Yay!

I won’t say anything more as I’m going to write a huge post about it next week. If you want more information, check out my post from last week LOL!

I’ll be writing all about my up-coming adventures in the next few weeks. Stay tuned!

Classical Warsaw.
Classical Warsaw.

This article isn’t sponsored and all opinions and the delicious Polish dumplings that I am sure to enjoy, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

In the next few weeks, I’ll be at the following events:

On 24.09.15, Travel Massive Berlin branch will be celebrating Berlin Food Week with The taste of travel at Facciola. If you’re a blogger or interested in travel, come meet us.

Until 26.09.15 only, the Wintergarten Varieté will be presenting The SOAP Opera show or Show SEIFEN OPER. Go see it before it’s too late!

From 28.09.15 – 07.10.15 the Bar Jeder Vernunft will be presenting, for one (1) week only, a festival of top British entertainment – Britain’s Best! Music and Comedy.

I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you’re going to Warsaw or Bristol or Bath, let me know!

September is going to be delicious!

Watch this space!

Remember that time when ...Tales of Disaster!

Have you ever had a travel disaster? Spill the beans!

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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Go North my son to Glasgow n’all that : 10 things you didn’t know!

The amazing Red Hot Chilli pipers doing their stuff in Glasgow. Photo@ Chris James.
The amazing Red Hot Chilli pipers doing their stuff in Glasgow but who can tell me what is under their kilts?! Photo@ Chris James.

As you know the recent Commonwealth Games took place in Glasgow. For those who don’t know. It’s in Scotland laddie!

I’m from Manchester in the North-West of England but I do love Scotland. I’ve been many times and in fact, I was in Scotland only last October where I introduced you to picking a budget hotel in Edinburgh, The Bloody Streets of Scotland, Haggis, Tatties & Neeps, Whisky Tasting in the Highlands, Fishing in Inverness, and Cruising on a search for Loch Ness!

I would have loved to join in the Commonwealth Games but I had other plans….!

People make Glasgow real!
People make Glasgow real. At niiiiight!

Anyway, Glasgow.

Glasgow had a reputation of being enormously gritty, industrial, poor, and grey, but in the last 10 years has really cleaned up its act as in 2012, Glasgow was named one of Britain’s cities “on the rise.”

In 2013, Glasgow was also named one of the top UK destinations in the 2013 Travellers’ Choice Destination Awards, and is now one of Europe’s most vibrant, dynamic, and stylish cities.

Can you believe that this is Glasgow? How quaint!
Can you believe that this is Glasgow?
How quaint!

I’m not even going to ask but if you’re ever going to Glasgow, you’ve got to watch the brilliant cult film Trainspotting directed by Danny Boyle and that put Ewan McGregor (He is perhaps best known for his roles as heroin addict Mark Renton in the drama Trainspotting (1996), Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars prequel trilogy (1999–2005), and the poet Christian in the musical film Moulin Rouge! (2001). The film that also put Johnny. L. Miller who played Simon Williamson in Trainspotting (1996), was in Mansfield Park (1999) among other excellent productions, and is now making waves across the pond as Sherlock Holmes in the American CBS crime drama Elementary. I’ve seen it and for what it is, it isn’t bad.

Also starring the magnificent dramatist, Robert Carlyle in Trainspotting (1996), The Full Monty (1997), The World Is Not Enough (1999), Angela’s Ashes (1999), The 51st State (2001), and 28 Weeks Later (2007), and also the lovely Kelly Macdonald known for her role in the independent film Trainspotting and mainstream releases such as Nanny McPhee, Gosford Park, Intermission, No Country for Old Men, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 and Brave. On television, she is known for her roles in Boardwalk Empire.

Trainspotting: the cult movie by Danny Boyle.
Trainspotting: the cult movie by Danny Boyle.

10 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW!

  • Despite being set in Edinburgh, almost all of the independent cult film Trainspotting, was shot in Glasgow, apart from the opening scenes, which were shot in Edinburgh, and the final scenes which were shot in London.
  • Glasgow is Scotland’s largest city with a population of around 600,000 people.
  • The name ‘Glasgow’ is derived from a Gaelic phrase meaning ‘green valley’ or ‘dear green place’.
  • Glasgow, was founded in the 6th century and has a history stretching back to earliest times in which Celtic druids were among the first identifiable religious tribes to inhabit the area.
  • January 13th is the feast day of St Mungo, the founder and patron saint of Glasgow who, died roughly 1,400 years ago.
  • Football legend Sir Alex Ferguson, Comedian Billy Connolly, Midge Ure, the bands: Primal Scream, Texas, Simple Minds, Travis, Wet Wet Wet, John Barrowman (Torchwood), Gerald Butler (300), Robert Carlyle (Trainspotting), Robbie Coltrane (Cracker & Hagrid in Harry Potter), James McAvoy (The Last King of Scotland), John Logie Baird (inventor of the television), Sir Thomas Lipton (tea), Jim Dunlop (Dunlop), Scrooge McDuck (Disney), and Merlin (of King Arthur), were all born in Glasgow.
  • The phrase ‘Glasgow kiss’ is given in the Oxford Dictionary to mean a headbutt, and was first used in 1982…..
  • Glasgow’s underground railway system is the only one in Scotland, and the 3rd oldest in the world! It is sometimes nicknamed Clockwork Orange, because of the colour of the trains.
  • There are over 20 towns named Glasgow in the US, as well as several in Canada, including New Glasgow. Glasgow is also twinned with several cities, including Jerusalem, Marseilles and Havana.
  •  Johnny. L. Miller, is the ex and first husband of Angelina Jolie (cheeky fellow, but phwrooah. She’s one hot sexy babe)?!
Athletes at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, running for their country.
Athletes at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, running for their country.

In 2014, Scotland will welcome the world with three (3) fantastic events: Glasgow 2014 via the Commonwealth Games, the year-long Home-Coming celebrations, and the Ryder Cup.

The Commonwealth Games will be the biggest sporting occasion in Scottish history, taking place in Glasgow but placing Scotland on a global stage, on not only about sport, but even whether the Scottish people choose to remain in the United Kingdom of four (4) nations rather than of three (3), by way of referendum.

WHAT IS THE COMMONWEALTH?

Well, The Commonwealth is a collection of ex-British colonies and protectorates consisting of a unique family of developed and developing nations, a voluntary association of independent sovereign states spread from Africa to Asia, from the Pacific shores to the Caribbean. Members of the Commonwealth family make up to 2 billion people, which is 30% of the world’s population, and consist of many faiths, races, languages and cultures.

The Commonwealth Festival Logo.
The Commonwealth Festival Logo.

WHAT ARE THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES?

The Commonwealth Games is a unique, international, multi-sport event, which takes place every four (4) years.

In 2014, the Commonwealth Games took place between July 23rd to August 3rd, and as the XX Commonwealth Games involved:

71 teams of athletes.

17 sport events.

11 days.

250 medal events.

4,500 athletes.

And sold over 1,000,000 tickets

HOW MANY COMMONWEALTH COUNTRIES CAN TAKE PART IN THE GAMES?

Although there are 53 Commonwealth countries, there are 71 Commonwealth Games Associations (CGA),  that can enter a team in the Commonwealth Games. This is because some Commonwealth countries have more than one CGA. An example of this is Great Britain or in this case, the United Kingdom, which although a single Commonwealth country, has seven CGAs – England, Scotland, Wales, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, and Northern Ireland,  all compete in the Games as separate nations.

The gorgeous John Barrowman aka Captain Jack Harkness of the fantastic BBC Dr. Who production - Torchwood.
The gorgeous John Barrowman aka Captain Jack Harkness of the fantastic BBC Dr. Who spin-off production – Torchwood, at the Commonwealth Opening Ceremony.

The Opening Ceremony for the XX Commonwealth Games also known as The Friendly Games, was a stomping, colourful, and joyous event, that kick-started the Games with energy characteristic of the host nation. It show-cased Scotland’s rich culture, and showed just why Glasgow is UNESCO City of Music with performances by Rod Stewart, John Barrowman, Susan Boyle, and hundreds of city singers and dancers.

Beginning with some showbiz sparkle from actor, singer and Broadway star John Barrowman, the Opening Ceremony was all about the kilts and tartan, with lots of handsome men sporting the traditional Scottish dress and even a giant kilt on stage!

The Highland Dancing Ceilidh competition with bright tartans, and hopping on one foot in Scotland!
The Highland Dancing Ceilidh competition with bright tartans, and hopping on one foot in Scotland!

You can’t have a Scottish party without bagpipes, and there were plenty of them at the ceremony! Glasgow is host to the World Pipe Band Championships in August which is a must-visit event for music-lovers.

Glasgow itself is a must-visit city for music-lovers, and was granted UNESCO status as a City of Music in recognition of this. If you’re in town in January, Celtic Connections is one of the biggest celebrations of folk music in the world, taking over iconic venues in the city for a month of musical collaborations between Scottish and international artists. 2100 artists, 300 events, and 20 venues, make it one of the biggest and best music events.

Small talk and playing the bagpipes at the Highland Games.
Small talk and playing the bagpipes at the Highland Games.

Nessie made a star appearance on the stage as well as the hundreds of (human) performers – and apparently, really is as big as is suspected!

To be in with a chance of seeing the famous monster for real, head to Loch Ness, in the Scottish Highlands, which guarantees beautiful views over the lake, or ‘loch’ and if you don’t get to see Nessie, you’ll see plenty of gorgeous Highland ‘coos’ (cows) instead!

Scottish ponies of Scotland!
Scottish ponies of Scotland! They aren’t Nessie but I thought they were cute anyway!

We went to see Nessie last year, and did we find her?

Of course we did!

The "queen" in Shanghai.
The “queen” in Shanghai.

Of course The Queen opened the Commonwealth Games, reading the message she placed inside the Baton before its epic world trip.

The Queen’s affinity and relationship to Scotland is well-known, as her favourite home Balmoral Castle, is where she traditionally spends her summer.

Visitors can now explore the castle gardens, open from April until the end of July, and even rent a holiday cottage on the grounds. Balmoral is in Aberdeenshire in North East Scotland, roughly 1 hour and 20 minutes’ drive from the city of Aberdeen.

When we went to Edinburgh last year, we also visited the Palace of Holyroodhouse which is The Queen’s official Scottish residence, and well worth a visit.

A beautiful Scottish Terrier that would break your heart!  Photo@ petguide.com
A beautiful Scottish Terrier that would break your heart!
Photo@ petguide.com

And finally, the Scottish Terrier lovingly known as a Scottie.

Who could resist its charm? So cute, so warm, so fluffy!!

There were 41 canine stars who led in the athletes’ teams, with thirty (30) getting two turns each in the spotlight.

Salt of the earth Scottish folk.
Salt of the earth Scottish folk.

The Scottish people are known as proud, warm-hearted, give-it-to-you-straight-no-messing-about type of people, and Scotland is known for breath-taking scenery, warm hospitality, wholesome food and drink, dramatic history, an inspiring destination, a vibrant, contemporary culture, and oh, yes. The best Indian curry outside of India!

So what are you waiting for?

“Come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!

Talking of freedom, Thursday 18th September, 2014 sees a nation vote on Scottish Independence. In short, whether the Scottish people wish to stay a member of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

I love Scotland and as I’ve already told you above, I’ve been to many parts of Scotland, like the Highlands, the Isle of Skye, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Inverness, and Edinburgh of course.

I love Britain and I love England. England is my country but I still think that the Scottish people should do what’s right for them, as they do have a point. England is far away and England seems to be making all the decisions. Let’s not even talk about Wales! Since, we are a civilized nation and a democracy, the people. The Scottish people, have to make their own decisions.

To add to that, I think certain people in responsible, official positions, acted like spoilt children getting their toys taken away, when they threatened to take the pound away from Scotland, now making the issue of Independence more complicated than it should have been.

I don’t believe that the original intention was to abandon Britain altogether. I think the issue is that of self-governing, complete independence, and living their life, their way.

Time will tell. So enough of the politics!

Healthy outdoor Scots doing the Nokia Coast to Coast Scotland's latest multi-sport challenge.  Gosh! I'm tired just looking at 'em! Photos@ Rebecca Lee
Healthy outdoor Scots doing the Nokia Coast to Coast Scotland’s latest multi-sport challenge.
Gosh! I’m tired just looking at ’em!
Photos@ Rebecca Lee

This article is not sponsored and all opinions are my very own!

Next week, some of my surprises will be revealed. Not all. I’ve got to keep the punters wanting more LOL!

Watch this space!

It's Me! Don't I look fabulous?
It’s Me! Don’t I look fabulous?

Have you been to Glasgow? Have you been to Scotland? Do you think Scotland should leave the United Kingdom?

See you in Berlin.

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To Nessie or not to Nessie: A temptation cruise on Loch Ness

Righty. One of the wonderful reasons to go to Inverness is of course, to see that sea monster of legend – Loch Ness.

Reproduced from: http://www.polyvore.com/loch_ness_monster_nessie_clipart/thing?id=14273606
Reproduced from: http://m-y-d-s.com/

Loch Ness is not only a creature of fantasy and myth but also the name of a 22.6 mile or 36.4 km river that stretches from Fort Augustus to Bona Lighthouse joining the Caledonian Canal, flowing into Inverness and finally, into the North Sea. The loch is Britain’s second largest mass of freshwater by surface area – almost 21.8 square miles or 56.4 km² – and the biggest in volume with a depth of up to 754 feet or 230m and a water volume of 263 billion cubic feet or 7.45 billion cubic metres!

Alone....on the loch.
Alone….on the loch.

It’s no wonder that for thousands of years the legend of the sea monster of Nessie prevailed.  The water is 52 feet or 15.8m above sea level and is extremely dark due to the depth and high peat content of the soil surrounding it. The loch is also rather chilly and is part of the Glen Mor or Great Glen in English, which is a 60 mile or 96.6 km long glacial narrow opening that divides the Highlands from north east to south west.

I had been on a cruise many years ago with “The Tall Young Gentleman” and as a creature of habit I say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

We had previously sailed with a company called “Jacobite” and we had a good time five years ago, so we decided to book with them again.

When "The Tall Young Gentleman" used to be "The Small Young Gentleman".
When “The Tall Young Gentleman” used to be “The Small Young Gentleman”.

The “Jacobite: Experience Loch Ness” company is a local cruises, tours and charter company on the river Loch Ness, offering a variety of cruises lasting from one to six hours and leaving from either Inverness city centre or the Clansman Harbour.

The Jacobite coach
The Jacobite coach

One can normally book at the coach (bus) station but for some reason, their stand wasn’t manned so we made an on-line booking instead and rang to confirm our booking number for the 2.5 hours “Temptation coach and cruise Loch Ness tour.” For two adults and one child we paid £65.

Our meeting point was either at the coach (bus) station at 2:15 p.m. or at Inverness Bank Street at 2:30 p.m. We chose the coach station. Even though, it was low season, the trip was fully booked and we left by private coach pretty promptly.

We were given a card with our trip number so that the drivers would be able to recognise their passengers at the end of the tour. We were driven to the Loch Ness where we had to walk to our catamaran – the stylish and contemporary Jacobite Legend.

Our boat.
Our boat.

It was very windy with a bit of a nip in the air but I don’t know how the young ‘uns do it these days as there were a group of American kids braving the freezing waters. They’d probably need a few nips of whisky after all that!

Freezing silly kids!
Freezing kids!

Our cruise took us through various sights like the Venetian-style Dochfour House built by the Baillie family (ancestors of the de Baliols who arrived on British shores with William the Conqueror in 1066), who have been connected with Inverness and the surrounding area since the mid 15th century, the baronial Aldourie 1626 Castle which after being added to during the Victorian era, now looks like a fairytale castle, and of course, Urquhart Castle.

Our “Temptation” cruise included a one hour stop at the above very famous castle.

A view of Urquhart Castle
A view of Urquhart Castle

Urquhart Castle with over 1500 years of history is one of Scotland’s mightiest strongholds and the greatest castle in the Highlands.

Urquhart Castle is also a captivating place of dramatic history, romantic ruins, medieval armies, chivalry and defiance, wars of independence, battles for power, lavish royal banquets, a stunning set of sweeping mountains of the Great Glen, generations of poets and artists of lore and the ever mysterious depth of the Loch Ness, stretching out before the ruin of a most magnificent castle.

Surrounded by ruins.
Me surrounded by ruins.

We only had an hour there but we could explore the ruins and let our minds run riot over the legend and the stories of the castle’s history over the centuries. The weather was pretty alright so we spent that precious hour running around and climbing a barrage of narrow, stony steps so that we could experience the panoramic views over the Great Glen in the Grant Tower that watches over the iconic loch, and peer into the miserable prison cell reported to have held the legendary Gaelic bard – Domhnall Dunn.

Under the Arches
“The Music Producer Under the Arches

My husband “The Music Producer,” wasn’t pleased that we really didn’t have enough time to explore the ruins and also, even though the cruise included an attractive visit, film, gallery and exhibition at the Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition, we never got to see it. We only managed to quickly buy a souvenir or two and use the toilet facilities, before it was time to walk a long hilly stretch to the coach car park, a 20 minute walk from the castle.

Going to the tower.
Going to the tower?

For some reason there were loads of tame ducks wandering around and we briefly lost “The Tall Young Gentleman” in between leaving the castle and going to the bathroom.

Trying not to panic as we’re talking about a huge mass of space here, we found him 10 minutes later merrily talking to some kids at the car park! Why, I just didn’t call him on his mobile phone, I will never know.

Anyway, brief crisis averted LOL!

Probably best to take a car next time.

Tame duck or lame duck!
Tame duck or lame duck!

The Loch Ness river is mysterious, smoky, quiet and a bit dark. It felt as if you were part of a classic horror movie, before the beasts came out.

Could there actually be a monster lurking in the deep dark sea?

What lurks beneath...?
What lurks beneath…?

Nessie, the legendary sea monster, has been a myth as far back as the 6th century.

Across the centuries, monster sightings have been reported and surprisingly, in the age of communication and technology, the sightings have dramatically increased, capturing the imagination of the public and spreading the legend far and wide. In fact, while we were in Scotland, another “scientist” who had claimed to have proof of seeing Nessie, admitted that it was all a hoax. Having said that, there have been “reliable” sightings over the years and scientists world-wide continue to join the ever-lasting search with submarines and sonar vessels.

Looking for Nessie
Looking for Nessie

Now, that all important question.

Did we find Nessie?

Of course.

We were very excited indeed because even though we didn’t see HER, we SAW  her movements beneath via the very strange, far out ripples, and sparkles on the water.

Could it be Nessie?
Could it be Nessie?

Oh yes,

We did!

Nessie: The Sea Monster
Nessie: The Sea Monster

The Jacobite: Experience Loch Ness company can be found on: http://www.jacobite.co.uk/. There are various cruises and tours ranging from one to six hours and at various prices. Boats can also be chartered. Early booking is very recommended. Bring a jacket, scarf, sturdy shoes, camera and some money for souvenirs and refreshments.

The Temptation coach and cruise Loch Ness tour can be found on: http://www.jacobite.co.uk/cruiseinfo/Temptation/. Adults: £24:00. Children: £19:00. Not suitable for children under 5. Refreshments are provided on the boat. Alcohol can be bought on the boat. Bring a jacket, scarf, sturdy shoes, camera and some money for souvenirs and refreshments. Keep an eye on children.

This tour is brilliant, if you’re short on time or just require “a taster”. If you’re interested in history and culture, rent a car and do it yourself.

Urquhart Castle can be found on: http://www.urquhart-castle.co.uk/. Adults: £7.90. Children: £4.80. Reasonable wheelchair access. Definitely bring a jacket, scarf, sturdy shoes, camera and some money for souvenirs and refreshments. Keep an eye on children.

The Loch Ness Centre & Exhibition can be found on: http://www.lochness.com/. Adults: £6.95. Children: £4.95. Family tickets: £19.95. Children under 7 are free.

The graphic picture of Loch Ness can be found on: http://m-y-d-s.com/

This article is not sponsored and all opinions are my absolute own.

We are Family
We are Family

Have you ever seen Nessie? Have you been to the Loch Ness? Would you feed a tame duck?

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