10 reasons to go to Barcelona – And it’s not only for tapas and sangria, but you know, I’ll take it anyway!

The headless man in Barcelona, Spain.
The headless man in Barcelona, Spain.

So last week, I told you how I got abandoned at Barcelona Airport and it was pretty traumatising. Not only did I have to go through a flight delay with Vueling before I got to Spain but I went through a horrendous flight delay with Norwegian, on the way back to Germany too.

You really couldn’t make it up.

The fact is, whenever you go through an unpleasant time, it leaves a slight taste in your mouth and then you have a negative image of that destination.

The fact is, you begin to think it was that place rather than that airline.

Spain - Here we come!
Spain – Here we come!

The fact is, Spain is a great country to go to and Barcelona is just a thrill and I reeeeeally do like Barcelona and don’t want last week’s post to spoil the good time that I DID have in Spain so perhaps, I might go back to Spain again sometime this year.

It deserves a second chance.

One of the best things about going to the TBEX EUROPE conference is that you get the opportunity to be introduced to other organisations and outlets that you might not have thought of. You also get interviewed. I was asked, by the Travel Massive community in Spain, whether it was worth attending TBEX. Here’s the link to what I said!

Catalonia or Catalunya, Spain. Spain - Catalonia
Catalonia or Catalunya, Spain.
Spain – Catalonia

Now, I’ve actually been to Barcelona about four (4) times now, and this was the fifth (5th) time so I knew Barcelona as a fun city, but I didn’t know Barcelona as a cultural city!

As you know, my time was extremely limited in Lloret de Mar and I really only had one day to play with as the TBEX EUROPE bloggers conference took place from 30.04.15 – 02.05.15. Basically, three (3) days and nicely done over a public holiday and the weekend.

My initial plan was to use May 3rd to go to Barcelona, as you can’t be in the region and NOT go to Barcelona. That would be sacrilege!

Moventis, Sarfa.

As a TBEX EUROPE accredited blogger, the city of Lloret de Mar and the region of Costa Brava did their very best to provide either complimentary, or reduced-priced transport.

Now for those of you who have been following my blog in the last year (thank you so much!), you know that I attend quite a few parties, festivals, and events and I’m not averse to having a jolly good time LOL! I do however, also like history and culture, so I signed up with a company called Context Travel or #DeepTravel.

Context Travel had tours operating in Barcelona and in order to join the tour, I had to make my own way down …

Barcelona isn’t actually that close to Lloret de Mar and depending on where you are going, can take up to two (2) hours…..Since I wasn’t going to the airport, I decided to make use of local transportation which would comprise of either taking the bus or the train. Would you believe it if I told you that travelling by bus was much faster?


You know how I love coach-bus travel so by bus it was to be.

On the last official night of TBEX EUROPE there was a closing party at a local club in Lloret de Mar. I was still quite exhausted from sleeping at the airport the previous day so I decided to go back to my hotel a little after midnight! Thankfully, the lovely 4-star – Hotel Gran Garbi in Lloret de Mar was about just seven (7) minutes away from the local coach-bus station so I sprinted towards it and took the 09:30 bus to Barcelona early on Sunday morning!

The fantastic thing about the Lloret de Mar coach-bus station is that not only could you go straight to the airport, but you could also travel to Toss de Mar, Barcelona, Girona and France!

I didn’t have any time for France but I did have the whole day allocated to spending as much time as possible in Barcelona.

Train & Bus tickets in Barcelona, Spain.

In order to get a return ticket, you have to choose and book the time that you wish to return. It’s a long journey so I chose the outward journey of 09:30 and a return time of 19:15. A return ticket would usually cost €10.75 but with a TBEX “pass” it cost just €9.75. Every penny counts.

The bus was quite comfortable, very clean, and pretty much fully booked. I ended up sitting next to an Italian guy who lived in Switzerland and had travelled to Spain to get his suit custom-made! He was pretty worried about getting his suit squashed and spent the whole journey holding it. He was fun to talk to though!

The bus is described as having WiFi but it didn’t work all the time, and on the return journey didn’t work at all!

From the Land of the Dead.
From the Land of the Dead.

I was set to meet Context Travel at 11:00.

Our meeting point was at the Hard Rock Cafe on Plaça Catalunya. When I got to Est Nord – which is the Barcelona Central Coach-Bus Station – I realised that I only had twenty (20) minutes to get to the meeting point, so I took a taxi.

You hear many things about the unscrupulous taxi drvers in Barcelona.

And the cost?


I didn’t get cheated at all and I managed to get to the Hard Rock Cafe with two (2) minutes to spare!

And then I looked around.

No tour guide but very creative students in Barcelona, Spain. Getting "married!"
No tour guide but very creative students in Barcelona, Spain.
Getting “married!”

No tour guide!

No person, man or woman holding-a-context-travel-sign-with-the-name-of-the-tour as instructed.

No umbrella person.

No groups of lost-looking-tourists-also-going-on-the-tour.



He was in the Shopping District in Barcelona, Spain. Gorgeous!
He was in the Shopping District in Barcelona, Spain.

I spent fifteen (15) minutes staring into the faces and peering at random strangers, hoping that they were the guide. Or lost tourists.

And then I saw a woman constantly looking at her phone and wearing pedal pushers. Could she be?

Yep! She was a blogger – Luxe Travel Family.

A fellow TBEX EUROPE blogger.

Hurrah! I’m not in Kansas anymore Toto!

And she was standing next to a young lady. She was a blogger too! – Travel Geekery.

And then not more than a few minutes later a woman came huffing and puffing. Another blogger! – Rachel Heller.

Hurrah, for TBEX EUROPE bloggers.

But wait. Where was our guide?

We’re experienced travel bloggers. We have social media at our finger tips. We’ve climbed volcanos, interviewed top artists, and sat on the front row at Fashion Week, surely we know what to do with all that technology at our finger tips?


So we called up.

Yep! We used the telephone LOL!

Anyway, it transpired that the organisers had messed up. There was a guide who was at the other side of Barcelona who had been waiting for a group of tourists who hadn’t turned up, and we were on the opposite side of the city thinking the same thing….!

Biel - our guide in Barcelona.
Biel – our guide in Barcelona.

In less than twenty minutes, our lovely guide arrived. His name was Biel. He was an absolute top fellow, in his late twenties, and professional. After making sure we were all together and brief introductions, off we went.

I’m an eager beaver, so I booked up for two (2) tours. The first one was called: The Gothic Quarter and the second one was called: Gràcia and the Spirit of Catalan Independence!

The Festival of The Day of the Virgin Mary, in Barcelona, Spain.
The Festival of The Day of the Virgin Mary, in Barcelona, Spain.

For the Gothic Quarter Tour, it was just the four (4) of us so Biel was really flexible and let us concentrate on the things that we were interested in or in anything we saw. And we saw a lot of things not even included in the tour because May 3rd was a public holiday in Barcelona, and the locals were celebrating  the festival of The Day of the Virgin Mary!

Loads of local Spaniards were out and about and I saw lots of families with children putting their blanket on the cool stone stabs and simply having a picnic, right there in the historic quarter of the Roman era! The festival turned into a bit of a musical parade which was in full force, and we even left the tour for about 20 minutes and joined in the parade itself.

Barcelona, Spain.

Now this is being in Barcelona!

It was a great day, extremely sunny and the feeling that I was really in Spain, began to slowly settle in.


So let’s have some history:


Parc Guell in Barcelona, Spain.
Parc Guell in Barcelona, Spain.

Barcelona,, although not the capital of Spain, is indeed the capital of Catalunya or Catalonia and with 1.6 million people, is the second largest city, after Madrid, – Spain’s real capital city! It’s an old city founded by the Romans and emerging in importance in the Middle Ages. It’s a city that is over 2,000 years old and is open to the sea and influenced by many cultures.

Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city and a capital of business and commerce as well as a leading tourist destination, with some of the world’s finest architects having left their mark that integrate with the elegance of the Eixample district, and the down-to-earth squares of the Gràcia districts.

Barcelona, Spain.

It’s a fantastic city of both history and culture and it’s no wonder that millions of people flock there.

Catalonia’s fight for Spanish independence was based on political and historical ground, as far back as the 14th century, but was lost in 1714. The region got a resurgence of Catalan nationalism in the 19th century but with the dictatorship of General Franco, all of Spain was in dire straits.

Today however, Barcelona is a mediterranean city  that invites you to stroll on it’s streets filled with life and atmosphere, or to breathe in the rich ancient language of the Catalan people.


There be dragons in Barcelona, Spain.
There be dragons in Barcelona, Spain.

Barcelona’s Barri Gótic, or the Gothic Quarter is one of the best preserved medieval districts in the world, where you can ramble through the squares and hidden corners and discover the charm of buildings that are hundreds of years old.

We certainly did.

Our guide – Biel – took us through the layers of Barcelona from ancient Roman times, through the Middle Ages and until the 19th century.

The ancient Barcino Temple in Barcelona, Spain.
The ancient Barcino Temple in Barcelona, Spain.

We were shown the remains of a Roman gate, parts of the Roman wall and some Roman architecture. You all know the saying that “All Roads lead to Rome.” Not only that, but did you know that the saying in Barcelona goes – “All Roads lead to Rome and to the Gate of Augustus!”

It’s certainly true as in practically every twist and turn in and in every back alley, you could see a part of Roman history and Roman architecture and ideas that comprised of guilds, sophisticated professional and merchant classes, and a rich religious life for many religions.

FC Barcelona.
FC Barcelona.

Later in the day, I went on my second tour to Gràcia and as I was the only guest, it ended up being a private tour of one.

I also got to know a little bit about Biel as we sat in the Spanish sun and drank a can of non-alcoholic beer!!!!

Biel – the tour guide – was actually a young academic and an Art Historian who had not only been working with Context for three (3) years, but was also teaching at the local university AND was also involved in a local street festival, that took place once a year. The celebration was called the Festivity of Gràcia or the Fest de Gràcia and was a community effort.

Barcelona, Spain.

I had a look at his workshop which had signs asking for the locals to send in their recyclable products that he and his team needed, and they did. In fact, the project was so successful that last year, they won first prize for creativity.

Gràcia is very different from Barcelona Central and quite working class. There were hardly any tourists around and lots and lots of locals sitting in the sun, drinking, playing or just chatting.

I saw many churches, places of worship. And flags. I also got a peek into the history of the rise for independence by the Catalan people and even though Biel said nothing to suggest his feelings, I could feel the passion in his voice.

The Catalan people are proud. Proud of their language, proud of their culture, and proud of their soul.

Iberico ham.
Iberico ham.

If you’re thinking of going to a warm European city where the sun always shines, Barcelona is a good bet.

Here are ten (10) reasons why:

  1. Barcelona is easy to reach by plane, train, and by ship.
  2. If you like “living” history, there are so many open-air museums, squares and streets that you can stroll through. Take your time, close your eyes and imagine that you’re right back in time. At every turn and nook and cranny, you can bump into medieval bridges, romanesque chapels and gothic arches.
  3. The most brilliant works of Catalan Art Nouveau such as the marvellous beauty – La Sagrada Família –  are to be found all over the city through it’s most talented son – Gaudi.
  4. The Catalan people have a patron saint called Sant Jordi who happens to be the exact same patron saint of England – Saint George. I couldn’t believe it. I was enthralled and delighted.
  5. Look for dragons which are hidden. You can find them everywhere. If you look! Take a closer look at the architecture, in the stones and on the windows. They’re all over the place!
  6. The traditions of Catalonia are so rich that it is packed with carnivals, festivals, dances, bonfires, streets and squares filled with “Giants” and human towers that are such an exquisite sight, that the castellers have been declared a World Intangible Heritage! It was such a shame that I missed seeing them personally on my first day, due to my flight delay…
  7. Catalonia isn’t just Barcelona but consists of a diversity of land and regions ranging from the rugged Pyrenees, charming villages and towns, and farmed fields of the plain, not to talk of the beautiful sea, and has 16 natural parks and nature reserves, and a collection of sea scapes and mountains that are as wide in size, as the country of Belgium!
  8. Check out Barcelona’s most modern stadium and visit FC Barcelona filled with such beauties and talents, as Neymar and Lionel Messi!
  9. Visit Barcelona’s open-air or Historic Trail Markets and stuff yourself with the abundance of extremely tasty natural produce and gastronomy, based on seasonal produce such as paella, tapas, seafood, fideuà (a type of noodle casserole), black rice, home-made desserts and Cervesa.
  10. Discover and hang out in Barcelona’s underground scene that includes wild jam sessions, techno dancefloors, film screenings and flamenco!
A special Catalan dish at Carmelitas Tapas in Barcelona, Spain.
A special Catalan dish at Carmelitas Tapas in Barcelona, Spain.

I only had roughly eight (8) hours to spend in Barcelona in which I went on two (2) walking tours, had a local lunch at a Spanish bistro that served traditional tapas and typical Catalan dishes, with the bloggers. The bistro was called Carmelitas Tapas. After that I had some ice-cream, and still managed to take a couple of selfies at the Arc de Triomf, and in plenty of time to take the coach-bus back to Lloret de Mar!

if you’re interested in history and art then Context Travel or #DeepTravel might be a good fit for you.

I loved my day out and found Barcelona utterly charming!

Barcelona, Spain.

Here are the details:


Context Travel also known as #DeepTravel, is a network of scholars and specialists who specialise in archaeology, art history, cuisine, urban planning, history, environmental science, and the classics, and who design and lead in-depth walking seminars for small groups of people who are intellectually curious.

Their vision is to bring together local scholars and specialists, with visitors who are curious, so that they can learn and allow them access to places and cultures that might otherwise remain out of sight. Their biggest goal is to take visitors off the tourist track and into the real life of the people, history, and culture.

My type of people then!


Barcelona, Spain.

The Gothic Quarter Tour goes through the heart of the town, learning about the evolution of Barcelona, going through the neighbourhood, walking through Barcelona’s main market, into La Ramblas and taking a look at how modern development has changed the city in the 18th and 19th centuries. You get to learn about the rich religious life and Barcelona’s history through the remains of the ancient city, the medieval splendor, the modern technology and the cosmopolitan urban mix.


St. George AND the red cross on the streets of Barcelona, Spain.
St. George AND the red cross on the streets of Barcelona, Spain.

The Gràcia Tour is about the loss of independence in the region of Catalan and the neighbourhood of Gràcia. The walk introduces us to the intricacies of Catalan history and culture, the difference between the Catalan and the Spanish and why they continue to fight for independence. The tour also shows the wealth of the area during the Industrial Revolution and at the same time, the village-like feel of the tiny squares, the places of worship, the narrow streets and the romantic architecture.




These tour are in English. If English isn’t your native-language not to worry, as the company can arrange customised tours.

Some Spanish biscuit and cake!
Some Spanish biscuit and cake!


A pair of good shoes, a pair of sunglasses, suncream, a hat, a huge bottle of water, a few Euros for a snack, and a huge smile!


Yes. The tours are extremely small and have no more than six (6) people at a time. It’s a little pricey at $91.00 or €80.00 but if you want professional art historians who really know their stuff, then it’s worth the price.

The tour is three hours long so don’t make an important appointment immediately after. You might want to hang-out with the tour-guide and other members of your tour group, over a beer or two.


Barcelona, Spain.

I’m aspiring to be an art history and culture buff, so it was just perfect. If you’re not that well inclined, then they do customise tours for individual groups. As my last tour was just me, my tour guide did just that. We focused on the things that were of interest to me and skipped the ones that weren’t!

Everyone should do a walking tour every now and then, if only to make sure that you know exactly what you’re talking about or can follow up with someone who does LOL!

I really enjoyed the tours but I don’t recommend them for children or young teenagers. Highly recommended for a more intimate, hands-on experience.

Many Thanks to TBEX, TBEX EUROPE, the Catalunya Experience, Costa Brava, Lloret de Mar, Context Travel and all the wonderful bloggers that I met, for the good times and for their warm hospitality.

See you in Stockholm, 2016.

This article is not sponsored, and even though I was a guest of Context, all opinions and the Iberico ham and lovely red wine that I consumed, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Stay tuned!

Paletilla Iberica at Carmelitas Tapas in Barcelona, Spain.
Paletilla Iberica at Carmelitas Tapas in Barcelona, Spain.

Next week, I’ll be back about the secrets of Estonia and what we did in Tallinn with the help of the Tallinn Card, what the view was like on the ferry crossing from Estonia to Finland with TALLINK SLJA LINE and what we thought about Helsinki in Finland!

The Berlin Music Video Awards will be taking place from May 27.05.15 – 30.05.15. It’s going to be great.

The Berlin Fashion Film Festival will be taking place on 05.06.15.

I’ll be there. Will you?

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

If you’re not in Berlin right now, then you’re losing the experience of Berlin – the place to be!

May is going to be exciting.

Watch this space!

About to leap outside the Arc de Triomf in Barcelona, Spain!
About to leap outside the Arc de Triomf in Barcelona, Spain!


Have you ever been to Barcelona? Are you a fan of Gaudia or a fan of sangria?

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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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?

Have your say!

If you like this article, share it!

A wee drab of whisky is just the thing to make you itch!

The Scottish Kiltmaker in Inverness
The Scottish Kiltmaker in Inverness

Yay, we went to Inverness in the Highlands!

Inverness known as the city in the Highlands is the capital of the Highlands and of course, the home of that most iconic female – Loch Ness.

I had booked a coach (bus) to take us from Edinburgh to Inverness. We were going with a transport company called – megabus. The last time, we came to Scotland, we used their services and they were cheap, cheerful and got you to where you wanted to be. According to their website, megabus goes to the US, Canada and Europe and is “a low cost inter city travel” company working with other transport partners. Well, they certainly do what it says on the tin!

The Megabus - Edinburgh to Inverness
The Megabus – Edinburgh to Inverness

In order to get budget prices, booking online is recommended, but it wasn’t easy. I kept getting different prices and expensive ones too. Within minutes, the price for a child was £35.00 but £5.00 for an adult.


After almost two hours and very fast fingers. I got three ADULT tickets £6.50, £5.00, and £2.00 travelling from Edinburgh Bus Station to Inverness Bus Station – a journey of 4 hours and 35 minutes for a total of £13.50!


The driver was polite, we could eat our sandwiches on the bus and if I remember, there was even WiFi!

Not too shabby!

We arrived in the early evening and proceeded to find our bed and breakfast or B&B. I do love a good B&B but you know what, I always seem to have problems with them.

In Scotland.

Megabus: Prices vary. I recommend checking the prices for children and if they don’t match, put in “adult!”

Book your hotel here!


My husband - The Music Producer - on the Ness Walk in Inverness
My husband – The Music Producer – on the Ness Walk in Inverness

In 2008, when we went to the Isle of Skye, our hostel booking was accidentally cancelled by their management, so we had to sleep in their office!

When we first went to Inverness, our B&B had disappeared.

Along with my first night payment!

We had to BEG another B&B to take us in, at the summer height of August, for an added cost of £55.00!

This time around, I had emailed our requirements and the owner seemed quite nice and friendly but when we arrived he had forgotten that there were three of us. I had mentioned that “The Tall Young Gentleman” was an 11 year old boy……

… but perhaps he thought he was a baby.

n Stellshagen - Mecklenburg-Vorpommern - Germany.<br /> Our son as a baby - 20 months old!
In Stellshagen – Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – Germany.
Our son as a baby – 20 months old!

We were only put in a double room.

If you’ve ever been to a British B&B, you’d know that my home nation has everything you could ever need as a tourist, except for bedroom space!

You know that saying “no room to swing a cat.” Well, we had no room…..

….for the cat!

My poor boy, who will be taller than I come Christmas, had to sleep on a child’s camping bed which was jammed against the bedroom door, jammed against the bathroom door, and jammed against our bed!

Book your hotel here!

Poor boy. No room..... ...to swing a cat!
Poor boy. No room…..
…to swing a cat!

Anyway, we checked in and quickly began to look for somewhere to eat. In my last post: Haggis, Tatties & Neeps: 10 Things to do in Edinburgh, I told you that finding places to eat with children in Edinburgh was problematic. Inverness was even worse and it was 7p.m. So, we went to the most British of places for dinner – an Indian restaurant!

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Do we have a budget for popadom and chutney?
Do we have a budget for popadom and chutney?

Our restaurant – Indian Ocean – was great. They were so nice and the service was prompt and efficient so much so, that we were still there by 10p.m!

You can tell that our son has done a lot of travelling ‘cos the first thing he said on sitting down was “What’s the budget?!!”

Suffice to say, we had a very good meal for three, with popadom and chutney starters, all washed down with Indian cobra beer, at a lovely cost of £62.70 including the tip.

The Indian Ocean restaurant can be found very near the Inverness bus station, Inverness railway station and the Victorian Market. Prices are reasonable and children are welcome.

Scottish sea bass caught for tandoori. Yum!
Scottish sea bass caught for tandoori. Yum!

The next day I had planned to take my family on my personal self-made walking tour of Inverness but it was not to be, as it rained and rained and rained.

What do you do when you’re in Scotland and it’s too wet to do outdoor stuff? Why, go to a whisky distillery of course!

In order to get up-to-date information, we went to the Inverness Visit Scotland tourist information office on the opposite side of Inverness Castle. They were ever so helpful and made many suggestions of where we could go. They even made a couple of calls on our behalf and it was a good thing they did, as some of the distilleries were either closed being low season, had started the tour already, or weren’t family-friendly.

In the end, we opted for the Benromach Distillery & Malt Whisky Centre in Moray.

Benromach Distillery & Malt Whiskey Centre.
Benromach Distillery & Malt Whiskey Centre.

In order to get to Benromach, we had to take the train to Forres which was leaving 40 minutes later!

It leaves once an hour.

We rushed to the Inverness Train Station and bought a family day ticket for two adults and one child. Cost: A beautiful £17.80.

We travelled with ScotRail – Scotland’s national railway. The journey was comfortable and WIFI was available. We even had some time to look around!

Forres is such a lovely quaint ancient market town with a wealth of historic attractions. It is also one of Scotland’s oldest small towns and is considered to be over 1,100 years old!

ScotRail: For day tickets any time, at the weekend, and off-peak from Monday to Friday, all over Scotland. At least two children (ages 5-15) with an adult each, can travel for free. These tickets also entitle one child free entry to attractions such as the Edinburgh Dungeon and the Loch Ness Centre!

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A lovely home. In Scotland!
A lovely home. In Scotland!

We only had about 30 minutes to look around but we saw lovely cottages surrounded by roses, leafy streets, the river, the impressive parks and gardens, the old church of St. Lawrence, the war memorials from what is known in Britain as the Big War (World War I) and one of the only two malt whiskey distilleries in the area!

We arrived at a large, very white building where the tour guide was waiting for us. “The Tall Young Gentleman” opted to play his Nintendo rather than come with us, so he was kept company by another employee in the distillery shop.

The tour guide was a jolly fellow and was pleased to get tourists from Germany.

Benromach is a 100 year old family business and one of the smallest distilleries hand-crafted by just two distillers and one of them was Keith Cruickshank.

Keith was not only the distillery manager, but also our tour guide!

He showed us how the malt whisky is hand-crafted using only Scottish barley and Scottish spring water to give it that distinct taste, and filled into oak casks and left to mature for years. He even showed us a 1998 cask signed by Prince Charles himself!

"Tasting" the whisky!
“Tasting” the whisky!

The tour took about an hour and was finalised with a session of whisky tasting.

I think Keith really liked us ‘cos we “tasted” at least five or six different varieties of whisky by which time we all began to look and feel really, really warm!

There were two kids in our group and they had juice!

Fresh juice for children!
Fresh juice for children!

We bought two bottles of Benromach 10 Years Old sherry exotic flavoured whisky, and a box of whisky fudge! Cost: £70.63.

However, if memory serves me right, if you buy whisky for at least £25, you get the price of admission back. Thus, we paid only £60.63!

Benromach Distillery & Malt Whiskey Centre in Moray: Adults £5.00. Children are welcome. If merchandise is bought at a cost of at least £25.00, then the cost of admission is refundable. Yay!

Good job!

If you’re going to the Highlands then Inverness is the place to be.

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A wee drab of whisky is just the thing to make you itch!

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

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

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Salt of the earth Scottish folk.

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

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Thanks a million!

A wee drab of whisky is just the thing to make you itch!

You can’t go to Scotland without tasting some whisky. Would you like to go to a whisky distillery? Have you been to a distillery and if so, where? Have your say!

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