Thursday, October 28, 2010

Quirky Scotland - Part 1

My favorite thing about travel is all the crazy unusual things you come across. Here is Quirky Scotland Part 1. Check back next Thursday for Part 2!

This is on the wall at Waverly Train Station in Edinburgh. You pay 30 p to well pee and for 1 pound you can flat iron your hair.

This is a statue outside St. Giles Cathedral. It is easily over 15 feet tall. I wonder why there is a yellow hazard cone on top of it?

While pondering the statue question a wedding party exited the church. Seeing the huge purple tattoo on the maid of honor's back I somehow don't think this was the right dress for her.

It also alarmed me how quickly she lit up a cigarette. I'm no Sherlock but perhaps this wasn't the happiest of weddings.

There's nothing like hiking and coming across a lone bathtub!

I don't know why this sign needs a fake bird, but I love it!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hotel Review - Rocpool Reserve - Inverness, Scotland

After two days in Edinburgh we stopped over in Inverness. This is the gateway to the Highlands and is a surprising little city/village/town. Loch Ness is just down the road as is Culloden Battle Field. Two must see sights if visiting the Highlands.

Whenever we travel we always try to stay at a fancy/modern/hip/indulgent hotel. It's always a fun to see what gems/quirky places are out there. Plus I just love researching hotels so it has become a game to me.

Rocpool Reserve is a short walk out of the main city center yet it was far enough from the train station that we needed to take a taxi. Dave was our driver and like all taxis in Scotland he was a wealth of knowledge. In fact we were having such a good conversation when we pulled up at the hotel that I didn't realise the staff had come out to greet us. There they were in their black uniforms lined up, hands behind their backs patiently waiting for us to finish our business. It was quite a moment and a thought ran through my mind: This must be how it feels to be royalty. Then I realised I was acting more like Hyacinth on Keeping Up Appearances, and I had a reality check.

The male member of the staff (let's just call him Surly) grabbed our bags and disappeared. The front desk lady walked us in and straight to the room. We signed a piece of paper and that was it. All checked in. Bags already in the room.

We found the room to be nice yet the staff was cold and off putting. Don't get me wrong. You never wanted for anything. The minute that you opened the door there was a member of the staff waiting for you. In fact it got so creepy the way they waited for you at attention that I began to feel like Captain Von Trapp.

Surly (the man who took our bags) was the worst. He was everywhere. Pouring drinks in the bar, waiting on tables in the restaurant, and opening the front door. Some sort of pleasantry was flung our way, but he was always off doing something before we could reply.

The restaurant in the hotel Chez Roux really builds itself up to be the dining spot in Inverness. We did not have dinner there as it was way to expensive and we only saw one couple in the restaurant the whole time we were there.

We did have breakfast in the restaurant and it wasn't that great. In fact I think it was about the same as the sausage roll I had at the train station.

The hotel is beautiful and modern. We enjoyed our stay even though we were made to feel a wee bit uncomfortable.

Decadent Bedroom #1

The bed was comfortable

Stairs down to the bathroom. At first glance totally cool. Totally not cool at 2 am!

Fabulous soaking tub with wall mounted TV. Nice!

Fancy dual sinks. The entire bathroom was without plugs. You had to dry and style your hair upstairs.

Fabulous shower! However there wasn't any place to put your toiletries and the floor flooded!

Loved this bath!

Steps up to the room. Since there was not a door the humidity wafted up the stairs and we had to turn the a/c on.

The bar at the hotel. There was never anyone in there guest wise.

Fancy R Bar at Rocpool Reserve.

Breakfast room by day fancy dinner restaurant by night.


Drawing of the chef at the restaurant. Seems a little pretentious - as the theme is here at this hotel.

Full Scottish breakfast.

Scrambled eggs in smoked salmon. Sorry - it wasn't that good.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bonnie Scotland - Trip Review - Part 4

Just a short drive from Kyle of Lochalsh, Plockton is a wee village filled with palm trees and breathtaking beauty. We visited Plockton three times. During one of our visits we hiked around the bay and up to Duncraig Castle.

The view from Plockton.

The main street of Plockton.

A lone phone box.

Duncraig Castle from Plockton.

Palm trees in Plockton.

Another phone box.

A cute little friend hanging out in Plockton.

He has a nice view!

The start of the hike.

Hiking around the bay.

Crossing under the rail tracks.

Looks like Middle Earth.

I kept expecting a Hobbit to run past me.

I love the fake bird on this sign!

Duncraig Castle.

A nice pub lunch at the Plockton Inn Bar after a long and muddy hike!