Oh Look a Castle: Back to Edinburgh and Back to London
It almost goes without saying that our second night on Skye was considerably better than the first. We found ourselves again the next morning having breakfast at Cafe Arriba. Seriously, if you didn’t believe me last time, if you are staying in Portree, go there for breakfast. The coffee is excellent, the staff are lovely, and you can either get a massive Scottish breakfast or you can go for lighter fair as well. I even took an extra coffee to go. Some more food from the grocery store (because we learned our lesson from the drive up), and then we were back on the road.
The weather had, for the most part, been really good for our trip. This was our first day with any serious rain. This being Scotland, that did mean that it would rain torrentially for a while and then suddenly the sun would come back out. It was still nice to actually see the roads we had driven through the dark on our way in. This was going to be a really light day for us as far as touring went. Basically all we wanted to see was one more castle and then we were going to make a straight shot back to Edinburgh to return the car. The next day I had a flight out to London and Sarah was going to catch the train to Glasgow where she was flying back to Canada from the next day.
We came around one particular corner in the road and I pointed off to our right and exclaimed, “Oh look a castle!” Which had become our in joke of the trip everywhere we went there seemed to always be another castle. At times we felt like that gold fish with the three second memory, surprised by the castle every time we made another lap of the bowl. We were looking for that particular one though, it was Eilean Donan Castle.
Being as cheap as we are, we decided not to go in (you can’t take pictures inside anyway). So we just walked around the outside to get our pictures and watch a couple other tourists bail hard on the wet ground. Even with out going inside it was definitely worth the visit. If you’re driving up to Skye it is already on the way.
From Eilean Donan we just booked it straight for Edinburgh. We only stopped once for a break and then once for petrol on the way back into the city. I think the experiences of the trip up made both of us just not want to risk that sort of adventure again. The result of this dash back to Edinburgh was that we got in by late afternoon. Car returned, we were thankful again for the decision to pay for the extra insurance when the final bill came back. We stayed another night at the St. Christopher’s Inn because it was just so convenient, and thankfully didn’t get lost this time on the way between the car rental and the hostel.
By this point neither of us were ambitious. Sarah just wanted to do laundry, and I just wanted a nap. We had dinner down stairs in the bar and then did just that. When we had checked in, the lady at the front desk told us that tonight was open mic night at the bar if we were interested. We were. Seeing as it was our last night together, we wanted to something! We really hadn’t gone out all that much over the trip, so we weren’t going go to bed early this night. Also, after all my time in London I’d forgotten what it was like to pay less than £4 for a drink. Definitely a pleasant surprise!
Here’s a fun fact for you, Sarah can sing. I mean, seriously, the girl is amazing! I get a kick out of watching her go up to sing and surprising the whole bar with how good she is. I, on the other hand, can’t sing and should not be allowed to sing as a service to the public at large. So Sarah got up to do a few different songs (and maybe more than a little bit of flirting with the MC/guitarist). We also found a fellow Canadian in the bar and we closed off the night with her and Sarah doing a duet of the Tragically Hip’s Bobcaygeon. Two Canadian girls singing a seriously Canadian song surrounded by Australians, in a bar in Scotland.
Our last morning in Scotland was a slow one. Even though we had to check out for 10:30, my flight wasn’t until the afternoon, and there was a train about every half hour for Sarah. We used this morning to do one final thing–we tried haggis. Yep, at breakfast. The St. Christopher’s Inn has an option to spend a bit more (£4) and have a voucher for a hot breakfast which is served from 9:30 until noon. It is actually really worth the money if you are A) the type to sleep late, and B) want something other than cereal or just ham and cheese sandwiches. One of their breakfast offerings includes haggis and Sarah went for it. Wanting to say I had actually tried it, had some of hers. I’ll say this, it’s definitely not the worst thing I’ve ever eaten. But one fork full was enough for me. If you enjoy pate you will probably enjoy haggis (similar taste and texture). Sarah, who happens to love liverwurst, actually greatly enjoyed it.
With that last adventure Sarah and I parted ways again. She’ll be back on this side of the Atlantic in a couple months. She enjoyed this visit so much that she’s decided to put London into her rotation of places to go when she’s on her two weeks off.
Soon to come, I’m off to Oktoberfest!