Well, as you all probably know right now, I have returned from my trip to the UK. I had not realized it basically until I was there, that I would be spending 5 nights in England. I had originally thought it was 3 nights in London and the rest was spent in Scotland.
Anyway, So I began the trip in Edinburgh. A beautiful city it was. The buildings and the layout of the city was ancient; there would be no way anybody could drive those North American SUV's through that city. The roads are way too narrow, and also have many twists and turns that could make almost anybody lost. The hotel we stayed in there was way too overpriced though, as was just about any other hotel on the trip. The bed and breakfasts we stayed at were pretty nice though.
This is my favourite pic that I took in Edinburgh.
This is a pic inside of the Edinburgh Castle looking down onto the city.
Our second stop in Scotland was in a small town called Pitlochery. It was a pretty nice town, not much to do there, it was basically just somewhere to stay in between places that we really wanted to see. The next morning we went straight to a small town called Keith. There are two reasons why we went to this town. #1 my brother's name is Keith and #2 the distillery for my mothers favourite Scotch Whisky is in that town. So in that town we went to the distillery to learn all about how Whisky gets made. Exciting eh? LOL!
Theres my brother by the Sign for the Town Keith. As you can see, the town is more friendly than he is LOL.
After Keith we passed through a small town called Elgin for a quick break and then ended the day off in a town called Inverness. This place is supposidly the capital of the Scotland Highlands. The population is about 20 000 people or so. Still a nice little place as well, with its own castle, of course. The next day was for another important stop throughout our journey. My dad's favourite distillery which is located on the Isle of Skye. Basically a place in the middle of nowhere where whisky gets made. To get there, as was the case in much of the isolated areas in Scotland were single track roads. What this basically means is that the road (the only road) has only a single lane, for traffic travelling both ways. The only way to get around oncoming traffic is to drive into these little shoulders on the side of the road called "turnouts" which are about long enough to fit one car comfortably in there. These roads are quite dangerous, considering they are only one lane, and they do twists and turns around mountains so that you cannot see what is coming at you. There is also the problem of livestock in the middle of the roads as well, we had to stop once because there were cows all over the road, and another time because there were sheep all over the road.
We spent that night in a town called Mallaig. A place with a Beach in Scotland! At this place we just had to check the beach out. I never thought I would see a beach in Scotland. And on top of the fact that there was a beach, there were also SHEEP on the Beach!
The next day we headed over to another small town (thats basically all there is in Scotland LOL) called Craignure which is on the Island of mull. Not much here, just a quiet night. We had to wake up early for a big day the next day. We had to drive for an hour on a one track road to catch a ferry at 8:45 to an island/town where my family originally comes from. The place is called Iona, where my great great grandfather came from. Its a really small island, with a population of about 150 people or so, but it does have a farely long history. Since it is a small vaunerable island, it was attacked many times over the years but just about anybody. One of the largest structures on this island was a large abbey that has been destroyed and rebuilt many times over hundreds and hundreds of years.
These are basically all the houses in the town. This is a pic that was taken from the ferry on the way over to Iona.
This on the right is the abbey in Iona this pic is basically right beside the other pic above. The abbey was a little bit away from the rest of the town.
That same day, we had to take the ferry back, drive for another hour back to the town where we spent the last night and take another ferry across the waters to a slightly larger town called Oban. From Oban we had to make a 3 hour drive into Glasgow where we spent the next night. I was really not impressed with Glasgow, it did not really have anything good going for it. The city was dirty compared to other citys in the UK; it also lacks the crazy old buildings that you see in the other cities as well, because in the 1800's the whole city was torn down and rebuilt to make it more "modern". I just think it looks ugly. On top of that we staying in the Quality Inn. This was by far the worst hotel in the UK. The price was around 100 pounds a room, and the bathrooms were tiny and badly needed to be redone, the beds were so old, you would sink into the middle of them as bedsprings stabbed your back from all directions etc etc. We got out of Glasgow the next morning with a very negative impression of the city, and headed to our last stop in Scotland. To a town called Jedburgh where we stayed at the Spread Eagle hotel. Interesting name, LOL.
In Jedburgh and the immediate area, there were 4 old abbey ruins which were absoluty huge. This place is near the Scotland/England border so the abbeys have been destroyed because of Battles that took place in this area. We ended up seeing 2 of the 4 abbeys. Another thing to point out about Jedburgh, was the butcher store that sold "world class Haggis!" I had haggis for dinner in this town, as well as breakfast the next morning, and it was by far the best haggis I have ever had!
So the next day was over to England. We drove to a city called York. This is a very famouse tourist place because of its long history. It is known as a Viking town. Also one of the big tourist places in the city was the fact that the downtown core was completely surrounded by a castle-like wall. Inside the wall there was also the York Minster. This was the biggest church I have ever seen. They began building this church in the 1100's and apparently took over 250 years to complete! It was originally a Roman Catholic church but has since become part of the Church of England. The towers in this building were 275 steps up in a tight spiral staircase which was so narrow, you could not even put half of your foot on the steps!
After York, we were off to our final destination of the trip: London. It was a good 4 hour drive from York. We spent our last 3 nights in London, and believe me, that was more than enough. Sure the city is pretty nice; it does have its touristy things that everybody knows about such as Big Ben, the houses or Parlament, The Westminster Abbey, Harrod's, etc etc. I did not like London too much, it was an interesting city because it incorperated all the new buildings with the old, but it was way too much money for anything there. The London towers (which is a fortress, not a tower) where all the royal jewels are and all that stuff, costs 14.50 pounds each person to get in! A lot of the stuff we did not go to see in London because it was way too expensive. I had a very restless 3 nights there and was just itching to get home by that point.
Here is the last picture I will post up. Its just a pic that I took from a tour bus (as you can see someones arm on the right hand side) of Big Ben and the houses of Parlament right by the Temps river. If you can see closely, you can also see the top of the Westminster Abbey behind the houses of Parlament.