Our grand adventure continues! Today we wandered around the country side with Jaeger staying firmly on the left side of the rode (when the road was wide enough for sides anyway).
After breakfast we took a quick walk into town to procure a raincoat for Calvin. I brought a raincoat for him but only belatedly realized it was at least one, possibly two, sizes too small for him. The previous day I had seen pretty decent looking raincoats at a reasonable price in a store that had already closed for the day (did I mention that even the mall closes at 5!?). So we went back this morning for the jacket.
Today was gorgeous. It was warm and sunny most of the day. A perfect day for a country ride. We started by going the long way around to a town called Cannich. We were planning to take a short hike there at a place called Dog Falls. While Google maps worked well yesterday, it didn’t work well today because Jaeger’s phone didn’t have a good connection most of the time. Upon entering the town, the guidebook said to take a right so we did. We drove and drove and drove with the road getting smaller and smaller till it was a one lane track. Eventually we figured out we were on the wrong road and turned around. However, the scenery was lovely and the weather so mild that we had the windows rolled down so it wasn’t a wasted drive.
Once we got back to Cannich we realized that what they considered right, I considered straight. Now that we were on the correct road we had another pleasant drive that once again narrowed down to one lane but this time they had more areas for cars to pass one another. We made it to the Dog Falls trailhead and set off. There were two options for the hike. The first was to go straight to the falls and come back the same way. That was about a mile hike. The other was a two mile loop that also went past the falls. We intended to take the one mile option but eventually, about one mile into the hike and at the top of a hill, we realized we had taken the trailhead for the two mile hike instead. Fortunately the weather was nice and Calvin only complained a little.
Because the hike was longer than expected it was around two in the afternoon before we arrived at our next destination: Urquhart castle on the banks of Loch Ness.
Upon arriving, we headed straight for the cafe in the visitor’s center. I had bars with me but they don’t really take the place of a real meal. We ate our food and then went and watched a short video on the history of the castle (contentious and a lot of feuds). Then we went down to wander around the ruins. It was pretty interesting and Calvin in particular seemed to like it. I think it’s because since it was in ruins, he was allowed to run and explore the place instead of dutifully trudging through a touring line. The castle was mostly in ruins but they did stabilize some of the areas so we could go up into one of the towers and look over Loch Ness. As expected it was very beautiful.
After leaving Urquhart Castle we headed down to where Fort Augustus use to be. The main thing of note here is they have locks for boats going to/from Loch Ness. Unfortunately, we were caught in traffic when the boats went through and the next time wasn’t till 8:30 so Calvin didn’t get to see the locks in action. By this point it was already pretty late (i.e. past 5) and shops were closing up so we headed back to Inverness for supper.
For supper we decided to try a restaurant called George’s Thai and South Indian food. We had looked at the menu out front yesterday but had passed because we’ve been eating a lot of Indian recently (the same thing happened in our 2006 trip to London). However, once we got back to the hotel and were desperately looking for more vegetarian food we figured out they served dosas! This was not on their outside menu. We went there tonight and they do indeed have Dosas and vada. It was very nice to eat something other than pizza.
Coming back to the hotel I stopped by the front desk because when our rooms had been cleaned they took away the washcloths without replacing them with anything. I mainly use my poof ball but it’s handy to have washcloths for Calvin. So, I went to the front desk and requested a washcloth. The clerk looked at me blankly. I explained that we had received fresh towels but the washcloths hadn’t been replaced. He continued to look at me blankly. So I hazarded “face towels??” His face cleared and he said, “oh, do we give those out?” I told him I wasn’t positive but there had been some when we arrived (our hotel in Edinburgh had not had any). He went and rummaged around in the back and emerged triumphant with the requested washcloths. He handed them to me with the comment that he learned something new today. Upon getting up to my room I looked up washcloths and learned 1) that they aren’t called washcloths here and instead are called flannel, or possibly face flannel1 and 2) it’s pretty common for hotels not to offer them (source).
I’m not entirely sure what we’re doing tomorrow yet. Jaeger is industriously typing away creating a plan while I write this. I think a train may be involved but I’m not sure.
It turns out my day was not quite as finished as I first thought when I wrote about our day last night. I had just drifted off to sleep when the fire alarm went off. I jerked out of sleep completely disoriented. I picked up Calvin, looked around vaguely for my shoes and decided it wasn’t cold enough to actually require shoes, wrapped Calvin’s blanket around him and headed out the door. I didn’t actually take the correct exit because I went by rote down the main hall exit. I got all the way down the stairs when the word went out that it was a false alarm. I got the impression that someone might have been trying to get out, or get in, and triggered the fire alarm instead. I groggily retraced my steps and got to the room door only to realize I had not grabbed my key card before leaving. I took nothing but Calvin and a blanket for him. Fortunately, Ted was a bit clearer headed and had dressed and grabbed his wallet. He also took the closer exit which I think means it took him longer to hear that it was a false alarm. In any case, while I was trying to decide what to do next he arrived and let us back into the room.
I put Calvin back to bed and he went to sleep again with only a faint complaint about me waking him up. I also went back to bed but it took me longer to fall back asleep.
- Our next hotel called them face cloths and they were available if you forgot yours. ↩