October 10, 2022

It was a bit rough waking up this morning, Lauren said I talked in my sleep and when my alarm went off for the first time apparently I said “noooo” out loud! Anyway, after getting showered and dressed we had to pack our stuff up! We are heading to Inverness today!! But first, things need to be done in Edinburgh. We have to take our bags to the hotel we are staying at on Tuesday night, pack a backpack for our overnight in Inverness tonight, go on our Castle tour, finish any shopping we may want to do, and of course, eat lunch. 

I forgot to mention on Saturday that our hotel was an Apex – Apex at Waterloo. The night manager was amazing and had all sorts of facts for me! I really liked her. We sat and chatted on Sunday morning about more facts about the hotel. It was the OLDEST hotel in Edinburgh (it was originally a hotel, way back in like 1906), Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, and Earl Grey (as in the tea!) had all stayed there!

Ok, anyway back to Monday. We checked out and headed to our new hotel in a Bolt car (Uber).  Our new hotel is also an Apex – Apex at City Center. The staff at this hotel was also amazing! Happily checked our bags for the night and were just all-around wonderful. We had to head out and climb the steps (lots) up to the Castle (on the hill – oohooohhh) for our tour. It is a self-guided tour, so in reality, the ticket should be sold as “castle entrance” not “castle tour.”

We walked around and checked out the war prison, the military prison, the crown jewels (it’s just a single crown), the residence, and the ballroom. It was a beautiful, not gaudy castle.

We even found a military dog graveyard!!

After the Castle, we headed back to the Grass Market to shop and get lunch. One thing we learned pretty quickly – nothing is open in the morning. Even at 11am things are not open. Lauren and I are just mind-blown about how few hours things are open (minus petrol and grocery stores). We decided on lunch and I made a reservation (almost always required in this country), which left us about 90 minutes to shop around. We went into a vintage clothing store first and Lauren was in heaven! There was so much random clothing, of course, kilts and sport coats, but also t-shirts and track suits! Anyway, Lauren found a Burbury trench coat that fits just sooooo well!! So she bought it! We looked around the store for a bit longer then headed up the hill for more stores on our way to lunch. 

We stopped at gift shops and then found a “Harry Potter” store. I didn’t want to go in, but we ended up going in anyway. And the first thing I saw was Friends cookies!! That’s right, they had Friends items!! So, of course, I had to buy them. They also had warm drink mixes and I bought some of those as well. All this from a store I didn’t even want to go in!

After that, we headed to lunch. It was called Howie’s. And it was so good! We got soup, bread, olive tamponade, vegetarian haggis (wow), and fries. The soup was a sweet potato “chili” but in reality, it was like cream of sweet potato and it was wonderful. It has been chilly weather and the warm soup was nice to warm the insides! The bread was homemade and the tamponade was perfect! The vegetarian haggis was served with a rutabaga mash and mashed potatoes. It was very flavorful. So glad to have tried a version of haggis since that’s a thing here, but neither of us actually eats that kind of thing.

After lunch, we stopped at a store called Whiskey Shop. It had special single-barrel whiskeys and a good selection of gin and whiskey from around the country. Lauren and I both got a bottle of the special blend. It is 50% alcohol!! Lauren got the 20mL bottle and I got the 10mL bottle. They come with handwritten labels (apparently for customs, but it’s so cool!) and they have today’s date on them!

After all the shopping and lunch we headed back to our hotel to drop off our new purchases and then head to the bus station for our trip to Inverness. Lauren had done all the transportation organization yesterday while I was at the game, so I’m thankful she was able to find us a way to get there in spite of the strike. I’d never been on a Megabus (turns out we took the local version, booked through Megabus). I wasn’t disappointed. It was a comfortable ride with chargers, phone holders, and plenty of room. However, the customers could be interesting. We had decided not to wear masks and almost instantly regretted it. A guy across the aisle was non-stop coughing. I’m sure it was because he was a smoker (he commented to his friend about it) but damn, his lung may have ended up outside his body. He was older but made me uncomfortable. At the transfer stop, we decided to put masks on. We boarded the bus before the man did and were excited because the seats we picked made it seem like he wouldn’t be able to be near us. However, that was not the case. He and his friend found a seat near us and the coughing continued. We felt much more comfortable with our mask situation though. 

We got to Inverness around 630 and Lauren was ready to eat. She found an American-type bar, but with character. She got food and I did not. I’ve been trying really hard to not eat after 6 on this trip, based on my doctor’s recommendation. (I’ve been doing time-restricted eating, more on that in another post). 

After dinner, we walked to our Airbnb for the night, but on our way ran into the yarn shop Lauren has been looking forward to! She was VERY excited (even though it was closed). 

Our Airbnb was easy to find and so darn cute! It had everything we needed (but no freezer) including coffee and nice towels!

I took a work call when we got there and then got ready for bed. Lauren and I were both more tired than I think we thought we were. I blogged before bed and then read a bit. 

Tomorrow we go to see if we can find Nessy on Loch Ness.