Whisky, ghosts and lochs in Scotland

Ivan and I flew to Edinburgh, Scotland on Monday, June 30th. We went to the Smart City Hostel to store our luggage since it was too early to check in. We decided to take a free tour of the city. Our tour guide was an American guy named Thomas who had some Scottish roots. He had this crazy mustache. He knew a lot about the city.

We went to a lot of different spots on the Royal Mile and around it. I didn’t know that J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter in cafes in Edinburgh.

School that inspired Hogwarts

We saw the school that inspired Hogwarts.

We also passed by the Elephant Cafe where she wrote the first Harry Potter novel. J.K. Rowling currently lives in Scotland. She’s English, but moved to Edinburgh in 1994. We saw different things like Edinburgh Castle, a graveyard and cathedrals.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

This was a great tour. If you ever go to Edinburgh, take the free tour.
We had a late lunch at Always Sunday.

I got the deal that comes with 3 different salads with bread. It was all really good. Ivan had a bowl of soup.
We went to check out the Scotch Whisky Experience.

The tour shows you how to taste whisky with a whisky tasting. They give everybody a glass with whisky inside. We got to keep the cute little glass as a souvenir. The guide told us about the history of whisky and how it’s made. Next, we took the Whisky Barrel Ride. It’s the slowest ride ever. I do have a better appreciation of whisky now. I didn’t know anything about it previously. It’s such a long process to make the whisky.
We stopped by the bar to have some whisky. Ivan had the Original Glenmorangie. I had the Famouse Grouse Liqueur. They were both good. The whisky is so strong to me. I like the liqueur better since it’s a lot smoother.
At night we went on the Ghosts and Ghouls tour. Our guide had a big booming voice. So, he scared people very easily. The tour took around to different sights where murders and hangings took place.

At the end of the tour we went down to the vaults. Our tour guide told us stories about the ghosts that supposedly haunt the vaults. It was pretty dark in all the vaults. There’s only a light at the bottom of each room.

The last vault really creeped me out. We paid a little extra to go down to the cellar. Here the guide tells ghost stories while you have a drink. Ivan and I each got a nice glass of red wine. Ivan told me later that he kept feeling something on his shoulder. He said he believes in ghosts and the occult. I asked if he really felt a ghost or something. I didn’t think Ivan actually believed in ghosts. But, he was just pulling my leg (playing a joke on me). Our tour guide was great at telling stories. I had a great time on the Ghosts and Ghouls tour.
Edinburgh is a nice city. It reminds me of London but a lot smaller. The sun doesn’t go down until almost 11 pm in Edinburgh.
We stayed at the Smart City Hostel. It’s such a clean hostel. It even has a cafe where you can purchase food and alcohol. Ivan thought it was very clinical.
On July 1st, we were going to the Loch Ness & Inverness Highland 2 Day Tour. The bus picked us up at 9:30 am. It was showering all day. We stopped by Edinburgh Castle to take a picture. We were driving North of Scotland towards the Loch Ness. We would stop maybe every now and then to take pictures. Our tour guide Peter would tell us stories about Scotland and the different places we were passing by. He was very knowledgable about Scotland. I liked that he played bands or singers that were Scottish. So, we heard a lot of Scottish bagpipe music. Ivan thought he could be more fun and have everybody introduce themselves. We had many 16 people on the bus. There was a lot of Asians. There were some people from Australia and Israel as well. Scotland is so gorgeous and green.

We stopped by to see Hamish the cow. He’s a hairy cow. Ivan bought a few bags of vegetables inside the shop so we can feet Hamish. They have souvenirs with Hamish’s picture on it. He gets so many visitors that feed him vegetables, he doesn’t seem to like grass as much anymore. There was already other people feeding him big vegetables. We didn’t know if Hamish would want more food.

Hamish the cow

Hamish the cow

But, he lapped up all our vegetables. I fed him a few things and I touched his tongue. He smelled bad, but he was cute. We stopped by a cafe for lunch later on. Ivan had a chicken panini and the cream of pepper soup. He liked both dishes. I had the Hot Beef Roll. It was good. We drove past where they filmed Hagrid’s house in the Harry Potter films. We made a short stop at the Spean Bridge Mill. This shop has free whisky samples. We really liked that. We tried three different kind of whiskys and two liqueurs. I really liked the Heather Cream. It’s a Single Malt Scotch Whisky Cream Liqueur. It’s so creamy and delicious. We had lots of samples. Ivan bought a small bottle of Drambuie. We drank it on the bus. It was a smooth whisky. We continued driving along and saw Aleister Crowley’s house, which was once owned by Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin. Ivan was trying to think of a Nessie cartoon he watched as a kid. He looked up online and found it was called The Family Ness. It’s a British cartoon that played during the 1980’s. We went to the Falls of Foyers.

It was simply beautiful. The bus did stop by the Loch Ness and we took some pictures. Tomorrow we see more of the Loch Ness.
We were dropped off in Inverness for the night. Ivan and I were staying in Dalmore Guest House.

There was also a mom, her daughter and a woman named Kylie were also staying at this Bed & Breakfast. Kylie is an Australian woman who works as a nanny at a day care. Ivan, Kylie and I walked to the main part of Inverness to get some dinner. We went inside Blackfriars to have some food. Ivan and I each had a whisky while we waited for the food to arrive. We shared food. We started off with the chicken satay. It was good. Our main course was Fish & Chips. It was also good. We walked to the Hootenanny bar. Ivan and I each had a Bulmers cider. We stayed for a short while talking and listening to the band. Inverness is a charming city. It’s so much smaller than Edinburgh.

Up next… the rest of the Scotland trip with a boat ride on the Loch Ness!

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5 thoughts on “Whisky, ghosts and lochs in Scotland

  1. Great blog! I’m going to Scotland in September and we’re going on the same tour you went on. Looks like fun! I had a question about the free tour in Edinburgh. How did you find out about it and where do you go for this free tour? It sounds like a great idea. Could you write me back at rsjordan7@gmail.com?

    Thanks!

    Rob

  2. I will. The tour was great. It’s just amazing views in Scotland.

  3. Pingback: Bookmarks about Scottish

  4. Dalmore Guest House was my moms childhood home. Built by her dad who was a carpenter/builder – nice to see that it is still there!! I had heard that it was a B&B. Hope to get there one day myself.

  5. Alysoun – You should go visit! The lady who runs it was really nice.

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