Duirinish Guest House. The weather cleared in time for our arrival.
and two of us spent the afternoon lunching at The Granary, shopping, and wandering around Portree.
We met the most charming shopkeeper at a gift/craft shop and shared laughs over photo id's, and how we camouflage our yarn stash. Kindred spirits.
Treetops Bed and Breakfast.
When planning our trip, we'd included Fort William thinking we would be spending a day on the Jacobite Steam Engine- the train that takes Harry Potter to Hogwarts. Unfortunately, we didn't delve into the details until it was too late. Our journey had us in Fort William on one of the last weekends the train runs for the season and no tickets were available. Luckily, the steam engine chugged its way past the B&B and we were able to see the plumes of steam and listen to the comforting sound of the slow moving train on the rails.
We enjoyed our tea, on Wedgwood china, next to a warm, crackling wood fire. Heaven.
We also had a delicious meal at the Ben Nevis Inn, a 200 year old, restored stone barn. I had a lamb stew that was melt-in-my-mouth delicious.
Our time in Scotland is coming to an end. We left Fort William very early so we could make quick stops at Stirling Castle and the William Wallace monument on our way to return the car in Edinburgh. We'd also hoped to see Castle Doune (which is used as Castle Leoch in Outlander, and was also used In Monty Python and the Holy Grail) but a road closure with no detour signs thwarted that plan.
Stirling Castle and its views were beautiful.
It was a short drive from there to the Wallace Monument. I did not hike up to the monument- only the youngest one of us had the energy!
As we got close to Edinburgh we were surprised by the Kelpies- another wish list item we weren't sure how to locate. Bonus!
Edinburgh traffic and finding the rental place at the airport was almost more than our nerves could take. We were all happy- most especially our driver- when we got out of the car for the last time and turned over the keys. No dents, all mirrors intact, but very chewed up rims on the left side tires.
We spent our last night in Scotland in Edinburgh on the Royal Mile, at the Radisson Blu. A very noisy last night. Visiting the Royal Mile by day and dining there is wonderful. Revelry continues into the wee hours, though, and is not the best place for a good night's sleep- especially when rising early to catch a flight. We had our last dinner in Scotland at Alba Nach, the sister restaurant to the famous World's End- no seats available there- dinner was delicious and another wish list item was on the menu- yummy Banoffee pie.
And homeward bound- through the delightful, cheerful, polite airport personnel in Scotland (gentle reminders to "remove your cardi"- to arrive in Newark to the unnecessarily grumpiest, rudest, barking commands "EMPTY YOUR POCKETS!", security and customs people who made me ashamed and embarrassed and sad- these may be the first Americans someone might meet. What a horrible first impression.
I loved Scotland. I'd like to think I'll go back someday. But there are other places I'd like to see, and most importantly, be it ever so humble, There is NO PLACE like HOME.