Wednesday, October 16, 2013

UK 2013 - Day 14: finding family roots

Friday, August 2, 2013

We met a fellow guest at breakfast today. He is from Sweden - IKEA! - and has lived in the US for a few years.
He is here for the highland games that we plan on going to see tomorrow. The McPhearson's highland games.
We did a lot of driving today. The weather was beautiful and sunny, so we did a lot of walking around. Our hostess, Julie, helped us figure out where to go.
It was supposed to be a "scenic route" without much commitment to time or destination - so we just went. First, up to the town of Cromarty, to hopefully catch dolphins jumping around. They were not there. We waited for a little while, but Dean didn't want to sit around all day and wait, so we just didn't see them. We figured wild life is just very unpredictable to count on when all you have is day. Up on the route toward--- there is a waterfall trail. We stopped and followed it, and boy, that was worth going to. We did see salmon trying to get upstream after sticking around for a little while.
Back on the road, we stumbled upon Strathpetter - a Victorian spa town. We had no idea it was there. We just thought the place looked lovely and stopped for a walk. We found a neat enchanted  passageway that lead us to ... the back street up the hill. We walked our way back down along that street, stopped at the local pharmacy for more shaving supplies ... (I think I will take up old-style shaving, he said. It will save us tons of money, he said).
But then we realized that the town was sprinkled with fancy hotels and a tourist bus filled with older people had just stopped by.
"Where are we?"
That was when we found a city info board and learned about the city's touristy past as a famous spa town. Today the city banks on its past, since the spa trend has long faded.

I didn't care for Inverness, just your typical big city. If we had known anyone there, or if had known that they had a library that we could gather info on Dean's family, we would have stopped by. But there is something about big cities that doesn't draw us much. Not quaint enough? Feels too much like home? Or maybe just lack of info on it.... In big cities, you have to know where to go and what to do. In small towns you just walk around, and everything is a story.

On the way back we tried and tried to find Dean's McBean's family estate. We drive into this place called Moy, which was more like a group of houses than a town. Needless to say we could not find what he was looking for, but I told him he could drive up and down those roads as much as he wanted - I could never get tired of looking around. Scotland is breathtaking. The mountains are so awe-striking... You are driving along and, boom! There it is! The giant right next to you! They also I have a different kind of vegetation on them, some sort of shrub. Everything about it just makes me want to go on it and touch it... Touch!

Scotland is a truly mesmerizing place. I don't want to leave here.
Dinner in Kingussie - not bad. The name of the place was The Tipsy Laird. I had a lasagna made with a local cheese and nDean had a haggis-stuffed chicken.
Today we listened toma radio in Gaelic. ... Not very enlightening.
Oh, some toilets are paid. Yes, toilets is the right word to use, not bathroom. Some toilets are paid. Others are free. You can ask around tom find them, but if you see the letters WC - water closet - you've found them.
Same thing we parking. Some are free. And in Scotland, they point out the free ones.
Getting home before 9pm was priceless - and unusual. What shall we do with all this time on our hands? ... in our bedroom ... I have an idea. Goodnight.

The Tipsy Laird - £22.45(credit)
Tesco - £8.24(credit)
The royal mail - £2.60
The royal mail - £1.20

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