Oh Inverness, oh Inverness. There is much to say about it. George and I spent 3, how do I put this, interesting days there.
We arrived from Edinburgh around 8pm and without Internet, tried to navigate our way to our hostel based on their directions. Well, that was a dumb choice. We wound up walking in circles for 20 minutes until we found a map to even get to the right street, only to walk back and forth like homeless vagabonds (which, I guess we kinda are) in front of McDonald’s looking for this damn hostel. After getting a different vantage point, I finally spotted the small sign for Highlander Hostel. We checked, walked upstairs and were immediately appalled. The room the size of a closet had 14 people already in there and it stunk. If you ever want to know what a slum is like without leaving the English speaking world, then come to this place. Just wait until you read my review on HostelWorld, I promise it will be worth the read.
Anyways, after scoping out the scene, we took a walk to try to figure out if any other places were available for the 3 nights we were there. Why, yes, of course there were…if you wanted to spend £700. Barf. So, we begrudgingly went back to the reception and asked if they had by smaller rooms or a private room we could stay in. They were nice enough, after making some comments, to change us to a 10 person bedroom, where there were only 5 other people staying that night. We accepted it and tried to make the best of the situation since we were stuck.
After getting very little sleep due to feeling just dirty and disgusting plus a thin pillow and springs digging into my ribs, I made George wake up and quickly got him caffeinated, so we could begin the day. We went to the tourist info center across the street and booked a full day tour to Isle of Skye. Reading about a few recommended day trips in the center, we decided to hop on the bus for Loch Ness. I wanted to see if we could find Nessie.
We wound up spending a few hours at Urquhart Castle just exploring the grounds. After a light rain, we made the walk downhill (which they claim is 15 minutes but is really about 35-40) to Drumnadrochit, a small town which is the epicenter for Loch Ness and Nessie. We grabbed a bit of lunch from the only cafe and visited a candy shop where I got some amazing bonbons. After no luck in finding the monster, I sadly got back on the bus for Inverness to just hang out and relax in the common room at the hostel.
Again we had to wake up early, but it was for good reason. We were going to Skye! In desperate need of a shower, I bravely took one at the hostel. I seriously think I deserve some sort of accolade for that, I am guessing that the shower was probably dirtier than the trenches in WWI. Too soon?
We grabbed a quick bite and loaded on the bus for our tour with Fiona and Highland Experience. On our way out to Skye, we stopped several times in little towns and rest stops along the way including photo stops, a small river, a rest point overlooking Skye, in this small fishing village on Skye and for high tea at a local shop. She was full of stories and interesting tidbits about the Highlands culture and history, which was nice to know. We were also fortunate enough to get a stop at Eilean Donan Castle, which is this incredibly restored castle built originally in the 13th century. We finished out the day with high tea at a small country store and headed back into foggy, rainy Inverness.
Woke up beyond pissed off this morning. I was the only girl filled in a room of men and they were talking at full volume…at 6:30am. I thought I was going to shit a brick. They then proceeded to take their sweet ass time getting ready making noise, zipping and unzipping, snoring and talking in another language for 2 HOURS. And the room smelled strongly of curry. Let’s just put it that way and leave it at that.
Well, no sleep again, so zombie-like, we strolled along the river and along the castle since it is Sunday and nothing opens until later or even at all. We went to their local mall to check out the shops and grabbed an amazing lunch of butternut squash soup with roasted chicken and mashed potatoes at The Kitchen Brasserie, which is right on the River Ness. We are still totally stuffed after a very sufficient walk and now just hanging in a Starbucks (thank god!) until we have to get on our overnight bus to LONDON!!
Next time, I think I’ll hire a car and check out some other places in the Highlands since it can be quite beautiful.
Inverness, it’s been less than stellar, but you’re still gorgeous.