A Travellerspoint blog

August 13th

Ireland - Dublin

sunny 21 °C

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beep - beep, beep - beep, beep - beep... awoke to the sound of the alarm on my cell phone blaring. I jumped out of bed and shut it off as i didn't want to wake my room mate. Barely 4 hours of sleep had passed and it was time to get to the airport. I jumped into the shower for a quick refresh, packed the last articles into my bag, and woke Andy from his restful slumber. Minutes later we were out the door and rocketing toward the airport. I wasn't worried that we were a bit late as I always remember my first flight with Ryan Air. We arrived and said our goodbye's. I headed in through the main door and headed to the checkin desk for Ryan Air which was deserted. Just as I was getting to the counter a lady rushed in front of me and got a passport check. I found out that she was on the same flight as me and was really worried that she would miss the flight. I advised her no to worry and quoted past flights as proof. We headed to customs where i stepped to the side to perform my strip down. I seriously wonder how long it will be until we have to be naked to go through. I took off my belt, shoes, jacket, jumper and removed all metal from my pockets, took the toiletries and laptop from my carry on and filled two containers. I finally moved through the customs line and redressed which I find always takes much longer. The Canadian lady was having her bags searched by customs so I advised her that we still had plenty of time and waited for her. Eventually they were satisfied and let her go. We headed through to our boarding gate and as there is only two boarding gates in Glasgow Preswick airport it wasn't hard to find ours. As they were still boarding another plane I headed over to a restaurant for a big breakfast. As I sat down at a table with my mouth watering collection of bacon, eggs, toast and sausages, they began to board the Ryan Air flight. It is really quite a pleasure watching everyone line up and go through an entire queue of 150 plus people whilst just sitting and enjoying a full breakfast. By the time I had finished my plate the queue had almost been completely processed. I headed up to board and found that today they were not only size checking bags but weighing them too. There was no way of drastically loosing weight as the queue was gone so I ended up paying the 35 pound charge due to the fact that my bag was 12.6kg instead of 10kg. I didn't feel to worried as I had gotten away with it several times before. I climbed onboard the plane, being the last person, and found an empty seat. I pulled my video player out and after take off began to watch the next installment of Top Gear. Much to my dismay, I was soon asked to turn it off as it was time to land. I headed through to customs and met the Canadian women again. We chatted as we waited in the all passports line which seemed to take forever to process. We ended up chatting to a couple of different Americans. The American family i was chatting too were really nice but the older American woman the Canadian lady was taking too was painful. It wasn't long before we wished we had never opened our mouths to that women. Finally customs took her out of our lives and we headed through. I was given the all clear and met up with the Canadian women on the other side. We bought and all day pass and headed into Dublin city centre. After chatting a while we bided each other good bye and i headed off to check into my hostel. The real problem was that I didn't remember the name of my hostel. I found a internet cafe, not the details and headed over to the hostel. It was by this time already around midday and I couldn't check in until 2:30pm. I dropped my bags into a safety locker, grabbed my netbook and sat down in the hostel lounge. I wasn't sure what to to, but as i only had 3 or 4 days in Ireland I figured I better do something. After hunting around for awhile I remembered the free walking tour that I had taken in Poland. i looked up the website and found a tour starting just a few blocks over at 1pm. I packed away my netbook and headed out the door. I grabbed a sweet chili kebab for lunch and waited for the guide to start the tour. Just as I finished my kebab she called for everyone to join in. Wow, have you really read this far? I am amazed... most people just look at the pictures :-) We started on the tour which went for about 3 hours and were told details from Dublins past, lead through the eclectic Dublin castle to one of the fanciest helicopter landing pads I have seen. We also went through the Temple bar district. The tour was good but I was glad when it did end. I had met up with an Australian bird on the tour so we headed out for dinner at a recommended Irish bar. After a pint of beer, a plate of grub and a parting of ways, I headed back to my hostel and got my bags up to my room. I then headed out to listen to some authentic Irish music which included the banjo and accordion. The streets in the Temple Bar district are covered with buskers playing all sorts of instruments including one of my favorites which was a classical guitarist playing Asturias. I headed back to the hostel and found that everyone was still out. I booked a tour to check out the cliffs of Moher as the tour I really wanted to do was booked out. I got my stuff ready so I could leave early without waking everyone up and hit the sack.
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Posted by classique 07:26 Archived in Ireland Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

August 12th

Talikser Distillery, Eilean Donan Castle, Loch Ness....

all seasons in one day 15 °C

Today I headed down to the bay to have a look at an old house that was falling apart. It was less then a 10 minute walk from the house where I was staying. When I got down to it i realized that it still had furniture in it. Some of the floors from the second story had fallen through but not all. With caution i wandered in and climbed the stairs to have a look around. There was rotting furniture, magazines, cashed cheques and clothes everywhere. After a thorough look around i headed back up to the house. James, Andrew and I headed out on the quad to see if we could catch a renegade lamb that Mr. Campbell wanted to treat. As James and I held on for dear life... Andrew accelerated up the eroded gravel roadway to the top of the hill. We finally located the lamb and tried to corner it. The lamb realized its plight and took off with several other sheep and lambs in hot pursuit. After a foot and quad pursuit we realized that the lamb had evaded us good and proper. We tracked down and munched on some wild berries before heading back home empty handed. At about 3pm, Andrew and I headed off. First stop was the famous Talisker Distillery which is also located on the Isle of Skye only 10 to 15 minutes drive from the house. The carpark was packed so we made one of our own and headed up to the ticket office. I walked up to the counter to over hear that the next available tour was at 4::15pm which would make it too late for our next stop. I asked the guy if we could have a wee dram of Talisker whiskey even though we weren't able to join a tour. Moments later we were supping on quality 10 year aged Talisker whisky and perusing the available info. Then the guy from the front counter called me over and asked if I wanted to take two cancellations for the 3:30pm tour. Too right mate! Andy and I set off on the 3:30pm tour camera at the ready only to be told "no camera's chaps". We were shown different ingredients that they start with and how it is heated up for fermentation by peat which is cut from the local hills and dried for burning. We were taken through to several other rooms to see the next stages of the fermentation and filtration process. Eventually we were taken into the cellar showing barrels of 10 year old whisky.
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Apparently American whiskey distilleries cannot legally use a whisky barrel twice so after they have used it once they on sell it to Scotland. The tour ended and we flew through the door and out to the car. It was getting on to 4:30pm we still had places to go. Once out of town Andy opened up the throttle and hammered down the country roads passing nuisance tourists who had nothing better to do then look at the scenery and hold up people bent on getting to the next attraction. I tell you, these tourists can be a real pain in the butt! After some incredible pieces of overtaking and cornering we arrived at the next attraction at 5:15pm. I ran up to the ticket office to read that admission tickets ceased being sold at 5pm. I figured there was no harm in trying so i headed in and rang the bell. The lovely young lass behind the counter promptly sold me 2 tickets and advised i get to the main door of Eilean Donan castle as quickly as possible. I ran over to Andy, gave him a ticket and headed over the bridge to the castle. I didn't know much about the castle other then it starred in a tv show called Highlander and I knew someone who thought I should go. I will tell you more about it when i get back. We headed through the front gate just in time. Unfortunately, as we were so late we missed the first room which showed actual cannon balls fired from the Spanish armada many years ago in an attempt to over throw Eilean Donan castle. We headed into one of the bottom rooms and headed up the circular stairs to the main dining room.
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We headed up another set of stairs to the sleeping quarters and went through several bedrooms. The walls were flippin thick in some places the would have been over 4 foot thick. There were 4 poster beds, bathrooms, cupboards etc. We headed down the staircase and came across the kitchen and a massive walk in pantry which included stuffed pheasants, ducks, rabbits and a few other animals. We found the main gate which was made of timber and steel. The timber was by memory about a foot thick. It was such a quick walk through that i actually can't remember everything and didn't have time to write about it for some time. Anyways, here are some great shots of the exterior.
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We hit the road again headed for Inverness to pick up Andy's cousin. On the way we skirted Loch Ness, but as it was drizzling, really just a Huge Lake and the Ness monster didn't bother to make an appearance, we didn't bother to stop. We arrived into Inverness at some stage that night and had dinner with Andy's sister and brother in law. We hit the road again and arrived back into Glasgow at about 11:30pm. I packed bags for the early flight in the morning, set an alarm and hit the sack.

Posted by classique 15:25 Archived in Scotland Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

August 11th

Skye

rain 13 °C

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After a late start we had breaky and worship before heading back up the hill to try and get the land rover out of the peat bog. After two and a half hours of jacking and re-jacking and re-re-jacking we finally managed to get it out. Thankfully the jacks would only sink so far. Later in the afternoon we headed off to pick up Andrew and James's brother from his work as it was his 4WD that had been bogged. On the way we headed out to kilt rock which is a cliff face that has a tartan pattern on it. It was blowing a gale and spitting so we didn't hang around long. After checking out a few more sights we headed back home for dinner. Although there was mention of going 4WDing again it was laughed at and forgotton.

Posted by classique 15:23 Archived in Scotland Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

August 10th

Scottish Highlands - Isle of Skye

all seasons in one day 19 °C

We hit the road after a nice hot breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausages and toast at about 11am. We were headed up to the Isle of Skye to stay a couple of nights at Andy and James's parents place. We made amazingly good time on the way up. We skirted the edge of Loch Lommond and went up and down on the roads in the highlands. Yeah there were hills but most of the ups and downs were caused were the road had sunken due to a peat bog or marshy ground. We drove past Eilean Donan castle (from Highlander) and continued on. We finally arrived at about 5pm which was just in time to help Mr Campbell bring the sheep in for shearing. The guys doing the shearing brought a trailer which folded out into a mobile shearing platform as you can see by the picture.
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We pushed the sheep up into the holding spots, folded their fleeces and packed up. After a lovely dinner James took me out on the quad bike to the top of the hill over looking their place and the entire bay. Then we went for a cruise around the island checking out the bay, rivers, castles ect. Later in the evening, whilst cruising around the highlands of Scotland, i.e. their paddocks, we managed to get the 4wd land rover bogged in a peat bog. The doff's were not only on the ground but had sunk in a tad. We tried for a while to get it out but eventually gave up and headed back to the house for worship.
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Posted by classique 13:25 Archived in Scotland Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

August 9th

Scottish Weather

rain 18 °C

Today it was raining on and off like a yoyo. We were thinking of going into Edinburgh but decided it would be miserable with all the rain. Plus, it was nice to just sit for a while. We watched some TV, did some sanding and in the early afternoon we headed into town to the Kelvingrove museum. This was pretty cool as the had an original spitfire hanging from the ceiling. We also finally found the elusive Haggis :-).
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Also on the lower level were Egyptian artifacts taken from the digs in Egypt and on loan from the London museum. We headed upstairs to see a lot of art works, at least that what some people called them anyway. Some were quite good but most... well they just weren't my cup of tea! We headed out and did a wee spot of shopping. By the time we got home we kinda wished we had gone to Edinburgh after all as the weather had cleared up completely. We grabbed a bite to eat, picked up James and his girlfriend, and I can't quite remember what we did after that.

Posted by classique 13:22 Archived in Scotland Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

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