I didn’t see Nessie today. But I am pleased to report that the Loch Ness Monster tourism business is thriving in Drumnadrochit. I am very happy to be going home tomorrow, but I managed to squeeze in a little sightseeing on my way back to Inverness today. The ferry left Stornoway at 7:00 this morning, bound for Ullapool. I got very little sleep last night, so I grabbed a front row seat in the lounge on the ferry to rest and watch out the “front window”. I planned to drive off once we got to Ullapool, but it is such a cute little village that I spent about an hour walking around.
Then it was off to Loch Ness and the Urquhart Castle. I don’t think I realized the last couple of weeks how far removed from the main tourist routes the Hebrides are. I saw more busloads of tourists in that one spot than I have seen in days. And American accents galore! While I was dressed sensibly in my long pants and sweatshirt, there were people walking around in shorts and t-shirts carrying their selfie sticks everywhere (mind you, it was about 55 degrees out today!). But I digress. The castle was nice, in a tourist trap sort of way. Not anything like the castles I explored in Ireland last summer.
My final stop tonight is in Inverness, where I will be flying home from tomorrow. Inverness is everything I hate about cities, but on a smaller scale. I had actually been looking forward to getting back to “civilization” tonight, until I remembered that civilization involves mobs of people and tacky touristy souvenir shops and things like McDonald’s (have I just not eaten in McDonald’s in a long time, or are self-service kiosks a U.K. thing?).
I did the obligatory walk around town and tried to find dinner. Nothing really struck me, so I ended up at Zizzi (I think there’s one on every street corner in London) for a chicken and prosciutto dish, cheesecake, and an Italian cider. After dinner, I did the traditional unpack/repack of the suitcase and carryons. Repacking is always an adventure! I am obsessively neat and organized at home, but somehow when I travel, all of that goes out the window. (Last spring, I found a piece of fudge I had completely forgotten I had bought hidden in my suitcase!) The bed in my room is looking awfully inviting right now, but I’m hoping I can stay awake long enough to check out another traditional music session at Hootananny later tonight!