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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Inverness - area around the river Ness

Our Guide in kilt told us the literal meaning of the word Inverness, the highland capital. It is one of the most beautiful places in Scotland. We reached Inverness by car and the route was beautiful.


The best part of going to Europe in summer is that one has a very long day at one's disposal. The sun rises very early in the morning and sets around 10pm. It looks like its evening time from 4 pm right through to 10pm an endless evening especially for us Indians for whom the length of the day hardly varies with seasons and very often we do not need to see the watch to find out the time, we just look outdoors and can pretty much guess what time of the day it would be. In Europe, in summer your times sense goes awry and many a times you have to draw the curtains to go to sleep at what seems like 4pm time here. In the birthplace of Golf you can tee off at 12 midnight there is still enough light and usher in the sun at 3am by the time you finish your game.
The delay caused in the car rental meant that we reached our destination quite late in the day. The day or rather the evening we reached there we took our cars along the river Ness. We walked along the river, enjoying the beautiful scenery and the crystal clear water. As it was a weekend the parking along the river was free.
The banks of the river Ness beyond the Inverness Castle were known as Ladies walk and the Ness Walk. It was a very picturesque area. On going futher away towards the Eden Court theatre it became lovelier with a number of small islands accesible by small pedestrian bridges, this area we actually explored the next day. The air was chilly.


There were numerous rabbits (and there burrows), living wild on this slope.

We walked upto the Primark store. The market was closed at that time. We saw an Indian Restaurant here. It was called the Shapla ( meaning Lotus?) Indian Restaurant. We had dinner there. It was not excellent stuff but good enough.
Next day we took our cars into the city and parked in the multilevel car park which charged 20pence per car for two hours. The catch was that you could only increase the time of parking after 2 hours. So at the end of 2 hours Shaleen and Anupam had to rush back to increase the time. We walked down to the town centre from the car park but missed the 11 am Happy tour. The Primark store was just 2 shops away so we all went on a shopping spree. The clothes were even cheaper than what we get in India. A shirt with tie for 1 pound. Children's jeans for 3 pounds. Unfortunately we did not buy much due to lack of time and space in our suitcases.
We then went on a walking tour of Inverness - Happy Tour.

Walking tours are fun. A good way to get a feel of the city and also a chance to interact with a local . We did not walk for a long distance but we came to know a lot about the folklore, the history of the city. He told us about the Mac Donald clan. The guide was friendly and humorous.
We headed back to our hotel Express by Holiday Inn which was outside the city towards the Culloden Battlefield. Our group being so large we had not been able to procure accomodation at a B&B as had been our plan initially. The hotel proved comfortable, as Tesco was nearby. For the first time in a hotel we saw that a Microwave was provided for the use of the guests in the common area, where the breakfast was served daily, and there was crockery and cutlery with it. Guests could get food from outside, heat it and carry the food to their rooms from this area if they wish.
Next we went to the Culloden Battlefield. Where the Jacobites had fought with the british army. The battle lasted for about 2hours and there is a tour there now which lasts for almost the same duration.

The tour has GPS facilitated audio tour. On reaching a particular spot the audio guide automatically tells a story related to that location. Here we realized how the golf buggy which we had taken on rent  in Versailles used to give us automatic commentary on reaching a particular place.


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