Scotland 6: Day 26

03.24.18 | Portree Hotel, Portree, Scotland | 21:35

This morning I had to be up rather early, in order to check out of the hostel and catch the bus to my next destination. I walked into the bus station and purchased a steak pie and a Dr. Pepper. This would have to be a well-balanced meal because I didn’t have time to get the eggs that I’d been craving.

Once I located the bus, I lifted my heavy backpack into the cargo hold and boarded. I chose the very front seat- and this was a brilliant plan! I had the most breathtakingly beautiful views. If you ever want a beautiful drive, you need to drive from Inverness to Portree. I shot a bunch of little videos because the bus was moving a bit too fast for still pictures. The water you see off to the left is Loch Ness.

On our journey, we even came across some wild mountain goats. They crossed in front of the bus while we were parked, but one of the youngest in the group was a little too curious. As you can see by the videos, he (I’m assuming it’s a ‘he’) very cautiously tried to board the bus. Actually, I think he was hoping for some kind of treat from us- the cutest little guy!

Tonight I’m in Portree, on the Isle of Skye. This is a first for me, and can I just say that this is the coolest little (and I do mean little) town! I do believe that one of my cousins told me that she has ancestors who came from here. I went for a walk around the area before the desk clerk would allow me to check into the hotel.

Scotland 6: Day 25

03.23.18 | Inverness Hostel | 23:20

Over the years, one of my Inverness traditions has been to walk to Loch Ness. If my memory serves me correct, it’s about 6 miles from the hostel in Inverness to the northernmost end of the Loch. On previous trips, I’ve been able to get some awesome pictures on the journey.

Yesterday I thought I would continue this tradition, and I set out to do the same thing. Here’s the problem- about halfway there, my left foot started killing me. I ignored it at first, but it just seemed to get worse and worse. Soon, I was limping. I hope this is bad shoes and not old age.

Soon I had to give up and start my limp back to the hostel. I’m somewhat upset, but by doing this, I avoided being stranded in a very heavy downpour. So there’s the silver lining in all of this, I guess. Even though I didn’t make it to Loch Ness, I still managed to get some pretty beautiful pictures along the way- no regrets!

After resting my feet for a few hours, I was on the road again. I walked all the way to the cinema (my feet didn’t bother me this time) and saw Pacific Rim: Uprising. This was a fun movie. I really enjoyed the prequel, Pacific Rim, as well. In fact, I’ll have to add this one to my collection once it comes out.

Scotland 6: Day 24

03.22.18 | Inverness Hostel | 11:19

My hostel mate here in Inverness is amazingly lazy. I’m not sure what his deal is- here’s what I do know so far. He’s from Italy, and he stays in bed all day. I plan on getting to the bottom of this real soon. Maybe he’s on his own vacation and this is all he wants to do. I do enjoy taking it easy and even taking naps on some days, but I know I’d go stir crazy if I were to stay in bed all day. I plan on asking him what his deal is. You have the whole world to explore, and you can’t do that while you’re laying in bed.

After breakfast this morning, I walked over to the T.K. Maxx store. I asked the lady and she said it’s the same company as T.J. Maxx back in the states. I do wonder why the name change, but I’m too lazy to do the research. Anyway, I bought a cheap beard trimmer so that I can keep my manly facial hair under control. I don’t want to shave clean anymore because it reveals my fat face. Maybe when I lose the face weight I’ll try it again. Some guys just look better with facial hair (myself included).


Since the cold weather was creeping in, I decided that I would spend most of the day inside. I crossed the street to get some snacks and enjoyed some reading (understand that I’m not an avid reader, so the fact that this is happening is a big deal!).

Soon I was going stir-crazy and so I jumped l line to see what was happening in Inverness. Over the years I’d been to see some plays and movies at Eden Court, and I discovered that there were tickets for The Wizard of Oz available. It turned out to be a fun-filled evening!

Scotland 6: Day 23

03.21.18 | Thurso, Scotland | 08:21

Last night my roommate was a guy called Josh, who is from Texas. I asked him if he knows my sister Melanie, and he doesn’t. Come to think of it, I’m not even sure how close he lives to her. Josh has brought a big surfboard. He loves to surf and has heard that Thurso is one of the best places to surf in Europe. I knew people came here for surf competitions, but I didn’t know it had that reputation!

Thurso Station | 10:21

The train doesn’t get here for the next two and a half hours or so. I was going to go to a really good Chinese restaurant that I remember from my previous visits here, but the lady who sold me the train ticket told me that this particular restaurant no longer has a dining room where you can sit and eat. They’ve gone to carry out only. I’m not in the mood to carry my Chinese food in this rainy weather. I’ll just be glad that I had a good breakfast. It dawned on me that I have some cookies in my bag- cookies for lunch!

Thurso > Inverness | 14:09

On these trips, I always try to take notes on the things I see. This is how I discovered Pitlochry, years ago. It was a stop on my way up to Inverness. I took a picture of the sign and later did some research. It’s not one of the many towns that I love when I travel through Scotland.

Thus far today, I haven’t found many towns on my way from Thurso that I’d like to stop and see. For me to enjoy a visit, the town needs to at least have a pub. Not that I’m hanging out in pubs all the time, but that shows me that there’s enough life there that’s the locals need a place to gather- usually that is done at the pub.

Inverness Hostel | 22:22

The saddest thing about Inverness is that the fish & chip shop that I would always go to is now closed down. Very sad, indeed. I did manage to find another one, that was almost as good, but it’s just not the same.

I just got back from a visit to the cinema, where I saw the new Tomb Raider movie. It was so much better than the Angelina Jolie version- no offense, Angie, if you’re reading this. I just liked this girls version of Lara Croft so much better. It was a much more relatable character, and she didn’t have that stupid smirk on her fact that Angelina always has. I’m proud that it was around two miles walk each way. Perhaps not the safest thing to do by myself at night, but I did manage to get home safely. If anyone had tried to rob me, they’d have been sorely disappointed. I know bad things happen, but so far I’ve been very blessed in my travels.

Scotland 5: Day 28

03.28.16 | Inverness Hostel | 21:36

We’ll call today a “maintenance day”. It was time to get another haircut (it was such a great experience in Oban, that I needed a repeat performance). I found a barber shop in a nearby Victorian marketplace. He did an okay job. Not as good as the gal in Oban, but pretty good.

It was massage time. I remember the last time I was in Inverness, I got a really great deep-tissue massage and this is what I was hoping for. Unfortunately, the guy who gave me the massage last time (five years ago) was no longer working there. All that they had available was one of the female therapists. No big deal.

When I met the therapist for my “quick consultation”, just before the massage, I asked her if she could do medium to deep pressure. I told her I’d had better luck with male therapists in the past, just because they have been able to do the massage a bit deeper. I’m not saying girls can’t do a good, deep massage, but for me, it’s been much more relaxing rather then relaxing and therapeutic, if that makes any sense. She said she understood.

The massage starts and she asks me how the pressure is feeling. I’m thinking this is very, very, very light pressure, so I ask her to double it. She says ok and continues to give me the exact same pressure as before. Three separate times throughout the massage I asked her if she could apply more pressure and she said she would each time, but never did. It was weird. Usually, I only have to ask once, and then if feels like the therapist is applying so much pressure that I’m going to bleed internally. Not the case today- the poor girl just couldn’t do it. I finally gave up all hope and just relaxed and enjoyed it for what it was- a nice back rub. Bless her heart.

Next, I walked again to the River Ness since I’ll be leaving tomorrow for my next destination. I ended up back to Eden Court, where I saw a play called The Railway Children. This was put on by a company from York, England, but it was recorded, so I was watching it in the cinema. It was really good! I think I even got a little teary-eyed once or twice too. Just a fun, feel-good story.

Back to the beginning of Scotland 5 | Forward to Scotland 5: Day29

Scotland 5: Day 27

03.27.16 | Inverness Hostel | 21:41

Warning- this post gets a tiny bit religious. Read on!

Today was Easter Sunday- I celebrated by going to church. The service was quite good, with an impressive musical number by all the men in the congregation. I think about 13 guys were standing in the small choir seating area, singing a mostly-in-key version of Because I Have Been Given Much. It was great- I’m a big fan of music, as you probably know.

The bishop gave the lesson in Sunday school. He started to talk about recognizing the voice of the Savior. This was quite interesting when he used me as an example. He pointed to me and told the class that there was no way he wouldn’t recognize my voice. It was my accent, which let him know that I was from America, how he loved the sound of my voice. He went on to make his point about recognizing the voice of Jesus in other people.

After the lesson was over, he shook my hand and thanked me for letting him use me as an example (like I had a choice- haha). I told him that was fine- I explained that the things he said meant a lot because I have never liked my speaking voice. This is something that I have struggled with over the years. I told him that one day it dawned on me that yes, I hate my speaking voice, but my singing voice, on the other hand, is something that I’ve always enjoyed.

I’m not trying to sound egotistical- that’s the last thing I want to do. If you’ve heard my voice and you don’t enjoy it, that’s ok. But this lesson was for me- I love to sing. I love the sound of the singing voice I have been given, and I love to share this with others. He asked me why I didn’t come up and sing with the men in for the musical number. I told him that I didn’t want to invite myself up. After all, I hadn’t been in the area during any of the practices. I didn’t know what they were doing with the arrangement, etc. Plus, it was nice to sit back and enjoy the music with the rest of the congregation.

He then tells me that I need to sing for them and asks me if I’ll come back sometime and sing in church. Heck yes! I tried to remain calm and act like this kind of thing happens to me all the time. I’m not sure when Scotland 6 will take place yet, but I now know that Inverness will be on the route. How cool would it be to add “International Gig” to my music resume?

Scotland 5: Day 26

03.26.16 | Inverness Hostel | 21:19

I’m walking by the river ness on a stretch of the street called Ness Walk, actually. I glance over and see this glass building called Eden Court. It looks interesting so I walk up to it to find out what it is. Turns out this is a place for cinema and performing arts, also there is art on display and a cafe/restaurant. I walk inside and there are a lot of people in the lobby.

I go up to the ticket counter and ask when the next event is. They tell me it’s a musical called Me And My Girl and the next one starts in a few minutes. I ask the guy if it’s good and clean and he said it is. I ask him if there are any seats available and if so, how much would it cost. He says there are a few seats still for sale and one would cost me £19. He had me at ‘musical’. I purchase the ticket.

When they open the doors, I go in and find my seat. I notice that I’m sitting in the middle of about 30 elderly ladies. Awkward? Not really. One of the ladies sitting next to me shakes my hand and tells me her name is Laura. She tells me that the only reason I was able to sit with their group is because one of their friends had a scheduling conflict and couldn’t make it. So they turned in the extra ticket that got sold to me.

During our chat, I find out that this group of ladies call themselves The Aqua Girls. I was thinking that this may be something like The Red Hat Society but I find out that it’s all senior citizen ladies who happen take a water aerobics class together. She told me that since I was sitting with their group, they were going to make me an honorary member. So I’m happy to announce that I am now one of The Aqua Girls, a badge I will wear proudly.

Me And My Girl was a fun play- even if I wasn’t enjoying it quite as much as the other Aqua Girls. Every time a song would start I would see their heads start bobbing, and some of them even singing along or clapping their hands in time. I was actually quite entertained by watching all the head-bobbing. The play wasn’t bad but just seemed to be another twist or variation of My Fair Lady. The actors weren’t professionals, but were at least high spirited! Great fun!

Back to the beginning of Scotland 5 | Forward to Scotland 5: Day 27

Scotland 5: Day 25

03.25.16 | Fort Augustus, Scotland | 07:38

I’m sitting in my bed, hoping that the ‘clacking’ of my keyboard doesn’t wake my two hostel roommates. One is a girl from Florida who is currently attending University in Dublin, Ireland. She told me that she has a few days off, so she’s traveling through Scotland with two of her friends. The weird part is that she arrived yesterday and spend the entire afternoon in the bedroom, reading or working on her computer. Maybe she has a class assignment due. There’s not a whole lot to see here, but there are a pretty loch and a few restaurants, at least. I wonder if her two friends are staying at another hostel.


The weather today is perfect! There is no cloud in the sky- this is the first day on my trip that I don’t have to wear even a light jacket! I just walked down and grabbed some breakfast, and said goodbye to the sweet old ladies who fed me for the last three mornings. They wished me a safe journey.


I guess the good weather was short-lived. I’m watching as clouds are quickly rolling in. It looks like rain.

Inverness, Scotland | 15:50

I just took a walk around part of Inverness and took some pictures, mostly of old churches. I love love, love churches, especially old ones



The Inverness hostel is just as I remember it. The only change I can see is that the piano has been moved to the other side of the common room, and it needs tuning. Oh- and the staff has changed. Andre, the current manager, tells me that they tend to change up staff about every 4 to 6 months. He says in another four months he’ll probably move to another hostel with the company. I think that would be a sweet job! Think of the number of people you’d meet!

I met a guy staying here named Grant. He’s originally from British Columbia but is living here now and working for some restaurant. We decided to see Superman vs. Batman at the cinema last night. I had such a hard time staying awake during the movie. I never actually fell asleep but did catch myself trying to yank my leg hairs out in an attempt to wake myself up. It was brutal! I thought the movie was good, but I will most likely see it again when I have some energy. In my mind, there is a HUGE section of the plotline that is missing.

Scotland 5: Day 22

03.22.16 | Aberdeen > Inverness Train | 09:22

IMG_0748 (2).JPG

Another steeple, as I am walking to the train station in Aberdeen,

I checked out of the hostel in Aberdeen just after 06:30 to get to an early train. I found breakfast at the train station: The Pumpkin Cafe. A breakfast sandwich that had been sitting in a cooler. I could taste that it hadn’t been made in the last 2 or 3 days. A danish with chocolate chunks and a bottle of Ribena washed it all down. If I recall, Ribena was one of my friend Colee’s favorite parts of the United Kingdom when we visited years ago (this trip was my very first visit, back in 2002).



I just passed through the town of Keith. I have dear friends who told me they are coming to Keith sometime soon. My advice to them is to bring your own entertainment- Keith looks like a very small village, at least that’s my perspective from a train passing through.

Fort Augustus Hostel | 18:19

Once I arrived in Inverness, I walked down the street a few blocks to the bus station where I purchased the fare to Fort Augustus, yet another destination I’ve never been to. I have to admit that I was a bit nervous at what it’d be like, the bus driver kept referring to it as “Fort Disgust-us”.


The road from Inverness to Fort Augustus follows Loch Ness.

Thankfully, Fort Augustus is anything but disgusting. I actually love this small town on the beautiful Loch Ness. Before you ask, yes I have seen Nessie earlier today. We hung out.

Fun fact: The guy who served me my fish n’ chips at lunch looks just like Jared from Subway. That is to say, child-molester Jared from maximum security. It was a bit freaky. Picture Jared but with a Scottish accent.


The hostel is a pretty big house, and there seems to be a large group of students staying here who are very loud. I may be forced to hurt somebody. I have three other guys in my room, all of them are staying here long term and working in the town. In my mind, they would have much better options if they moved to one of the cities instead. But what do I know?

Back to the beginning of Scotland 5 | Forward to Scotland 5: Day 23

Scotland 4: Day 26

Inverness > Thurso | 10:53

I just had to say goodbye to Inverness. I love this place, but it’s time to see some more of Scotland. I’m excited to go north. My destination is Thurso, which is almost as far north as you can go while staying on the mainland. Not sure what there is to see or do there, but I guess I’ll find out.

I slept okay last night. At about 01:00, my roommates came in. They were very loud and somewhat rude. They kept turning on the light, then leaving the room, so I’d have to get up to turn out the light, then they’d do it all over again. I finally (nicely) told them to knock it off, and they did. While I was getting ready this morning, I might have been a little louder than was necessary.

Thurso, Scotland | 16:54

Thurso, Scotland: Walking to my hostel.

I can now say I’ve been to Thurso, Scotland. Thurso has about 9000 people and seems like a lovely town. I checked in at my hostel and met my roommate. He’s a 60+-year-old Scot who doesn’t have much to say to me. Here’s how it went down:

Me: Hello. How are you?

Him: –

Me: I’m Dave from the states (I usually don’t introduce myself as ‘Dav’ when I’m abroad because that just opens up an entire conversation. I don’t mind the extra chat, but ‘Dave’ is a time-saver.).

Him: –

Me: Okay, well, I’m going to get some dinner.

I wonder what this guy’s deal is. I mentioned him to some others staying here, and they told me he’s like that with everyone. Maybe he’ll open up to me tomorrow.

My Room at the Hostel

I walked to the local beach, which was quite lovely. There were people (mostly kids and teens) out playing in the surf, and they have a nice little setup here. What a beautiful ocean! I’m not sure if this is considered part of the North Sea or if it’s considered the Northern Atlantic. Afterward, I explored that town for a while.


I also met Minesh, who is from India and Paul from somewhere here in the U.K. They’re on a bike ride that started at John O’Groats, and they will ride to the bottom of England. That sounds fun and exhausting! I’d love to do something similar one day.


I had a great time hanging out with the guys tonight. They’re fun guys and I found out that they’re doing this ride to raise money for a charity- something to do with muscular dystrophy or something like that. That is very commendable! I hope they raise a ton of money! 

Minesh and Paul

I have two new roommates now- two brothers from England. I’m not sure why they’re up here. Hopefully, we can chat tomorrow.