While I thoroughly enjoyed everywhere we stopped, there were certain places that were very difficult to leave. Where I just did not want to get back on that ship. Pretty much anyplace in Scotland fits that description--and I felt the exact same way when I was there 2 summers ago.
WARNING: COMPLAINT APPROACHING
What I could not get over was the number of people, and I'm sorry, but it was mostly women, American women, who complained endlessly about the weather. Here's an idea: if you want a vacation filled with sunshine and heat, avoid the British Isles.
There were only 2 days out of 14 that had no rain...but only one day when I really felt I needed to use an umbrella. That was the day we were in Edinburgh--which is a city I'd love to go back and explore. The castle was amazing--museums aren't really my thing, but the view of the ancient city, even in the rain, was incredible.
And there are always beautiful flowers and lush greenery to be found pretty much everywhere...even in car parks.
The only disappointment was the fact that I was unable to make it to the Cath Kidston shop there. We went past it on the tour bus, but the shuttle buses that were supposed to be at the dock to take people into and out of town never showed up and we were warned that cabs aren't always easy to come by on a Sunday.
The disappointment soon faded as we cruised up to the highlands. As a kid I loved poring over maps and atlases...I remember seeing the Firth of Forth and finding that name particularly amusing. Well, here we are on the firth and that's the famous Forth bridge.
Later we got on a bus and drove through the countryside and saw the gorgeous just-blooming heather...and hills and mist and water...
Next we went to the town of Dornoch. Normally any place that meets with Madonna's approval might cause me to roll my eyes, but I can certainly see why she chose the Dornoch cathedral for the baptism of her son. Here's the side of it--couldn't get a pic of the front without including a bunch of tourists in the shot, and I prefer my photos tourist-free.
The town is so charming--like something out of a movie.
Next to the cathedral I found this wonderful bed and breakfast (pictured at the top of this post).I took a pic of the sign in case any of you want to make a reservation--not sure if you need to be fluent in Gaelic or not.
I was told the house is about 200 years old. Sigh...
The shopping was nice in Dornoch as well. I got a cute wool tartan/leather bag at a shop called Jail--you know, it used to be the jail?
My dad insisted I get back on the bus and then back on the ship...which is probably for the best, but I can pretty much guarantee that if my father hadn't been there to make me, I'd still be there today.