Thursday, May 27, 2010

Here Nessie Nessie!

When you start looking around, it seems like Nessie just pops up everywhere.

Inverness is the capital of the Highlands, and just a few miles from the famous and beautiful Loch Ness. So with my newfound health, that's where I went.

We took a boat ride down the Caledonian Canal. Vivid colors and stunning scenery in all directions.

You may notice that our canal, the manmade part, is a few feet higher than the natural stream running out from Loch Ness. The key to unlocking the Loch is, of course, lock.

What luck! We docked at a lock!

And off we went to Loch Ness. Known worldwide for it's stunning beauty, immense length, and complete lack of monsters.

Ooh, there's one! No wait, just a bit of fever.

Our boat dropped us at Castle Urquhart, which, having been blown up by its own inhabitants in the 1600s, was defenseless against our touristic assault.

Back in town that night, a group of us from the hostel took a nice walk along the river in Inverness, ate (I am not joking) delicious thai food at a Scottish pub, and walked back for a good night's rest. Oh, and we made one quick photo stop on the way.

Location:Inverness, Scotland

38.3 Celsius

Here's how I remember the next part:

I wasn't feeling too great on my last day in Dublin. Googled "matzo ball soup dublin" and came up empty. Settled for a bad ramen house instead. Stopped at a pharmacy on the way home to buy a thermometer, which told me I had a fever of 38.3. (As if I could multiply by 9/5 in my fevered state!)

Shivered inside my Michigan hoodie for a few hours.

Woke up at 3 am for my 3:30 shuttle to the airport for my 6:30 flight to Edinburgh where I took the 747 bus to Inverkeithing where I waited for two hours for my train which transferred in Perth to take me to Inverness where just up a steep hill was my hostel where I c o l l a p s e d.

I fell asleep at 3:30 pm and woke up at 10:30 the next morning feeling... pretty darn good! Most importantly, my temperature was back down to 36.8, which I am told is normal in this part of the world.

I have no pictures for this blog entry. Trust me-- it's just as well.

Having already wasted one day in the beautiful Highlands, and slept through most of the scenic train ride, there was one thing I could not miss...

Location:In Bed, Inverness

Dublin Down

Dublin, in a word: meh.

I don't mean to sound like a jaded traveler who is hard to impress. Nor do I mean to dismiss it's history or culture or locals. It's just that my own experience was a bit, well, meh.

I did a very nice walking tour of the city to begin. Most of the sights are within a few minutes walk of each other. I was particularly amused by the juxtaposition of old and new architecture in the castle gardens.

You will be proud to know that I am now both a certified Guinness pourer and Jameson taste tester. (The latter certification is awarded to anyone who correctly prefers Jameson to its American and Scottish competitors. The cups are labeled.)

My most enjoyable experience in Dublin was the Literary Pub Crawl. For three hours, a group of us followed two performers from pub to pub near Trinity College as they recited excerpts by famous Irish writers. The performances were engaging, as was the group, and the night ended with a few of us going out for a midnight Indian meal.

This is where the story starts to go downhill...

Location:Dublin, Ireland