September 27, 2011
This has been an interesting day. We had our first tourist incident that turned out OK in the end but could have become a nightmare.
Before we left Tulsa, we purchased some travel VISA cards. These are cards that you pre-load with a certain amount of money. We were told these were safer than using our regular bank debit cards or credit card, because, they are protected if lost or stolen. Well, guess what? We lost one. We’re not exactly sure how or when it happened, but it may have been left in our hotel in Stirling. We didn’t discover it was missing until Brian went to pay for our lunch this afternoon.
We still had money on the card so obviously, we wanted to have access to it. We had about an hour of panic when the bank and VISA both told us that they could cancel the card but the only way we could have access to our funds was to go by the bank that originally gave us the card and pick up a new one.
REALLY? What part of, “I’m out of the country”, do you not understand?
Four long international phone calls later we finally got things straightened out. I’m thinking, it should not be so complicated. Bottom line…I wouldn’t recommend VISA travel cards.
OK-enough of that.
I am writing this tonight offline (Tuesday) and plan to put it online tomorrow. The place we are staying, Kilravock Castle, only has Internet in the car park (aka parking lot) and I don’t really want to sit out in a cold, dark lot to write this.
Our day, started off with rain. What a surprise. But even through the rain we could tell the landscape was changing. As we drove further into the highlands, the hills became steeper and the land less populated.
Our drive from Stilrling to Inverness, near Kilravock was about 3 hours. We are very close to the North Sea and Loch Ness, which we hope to explore tomorrow. Along the way here, we stopped at a nature preserve called, Killiecrankie. We just took a look around because it was still raining, but they have some good trails, for the experienced hiker. They also have some beautiful birds. Some of these are definitely not seen in Oklahoma.
We are here at Kilravock because one branch of my family, the Rose family, owned this place for centuries. It was built over several hundred years beginning around 1200.
When I first discovered this a few years ago, I started dreaming of coming here. I never really thought it would be possible but here I am. We’re staying in the former carriage house just a few yards from the castle.
It has three bedrooms ours is the Primrose Room and just across the hall is the Heather Room. That would have been fun to have that room. The room is not fancy but it’s HERE at Kilvarock! So that’s fine with me.
Our room is the only one in use in this part of the building so we have the place to ourselves.
We walked around grounds this afternoon. The garden contains a variety of trees, plants and animals. One of the trees is supposed to be about 350 years old and it is rumored that the poet Robert Burns used to come visit and may have a family connection here.
Nearby the castle there is a field with some of the local Scottish Cows. They don’t look like Oklahoma Longhorns.
This evening we had dinner at the Cawdor Tavern and since it was my birthday, I had a little dessert. Crème brulle with raspberries, a chocolate cake thingy and chocolate ice cream. Heavenly….
And speaking of heaven, even though we started with rain, we ended somewhere over the rainbow.
September 28, 2011
Right now, Brian and I are sitting in our rental car in the “carpark” at Kilravock Castle. I have a good Internet connection at the moment but don’t have the cable with me to add photos so those will have to wait until tomorrow.
A brief overview of our day: We got our indoor tour of the castle. We were only allowed to take one photo in front of the fireplace. There are painting of my ancestors all over the walls and I couldn’t take photos. Guess I will have to google them.
Then we headed out toward Nairn, where my immigrant ancestor David Rose was born. We checked a cemetery there but no luck on finding his parents. Then we went on to Inverness for lunch and shopping.
After lunch we drove around Loch Ness.
Funny thing is, I actually saw something off in the distance moving fast and creating a wake behind. It was pretty far away so all I could see was the wake and a dark shape moving through the water above it.
When I zoomed in with my camera I could see it was a person on a jet sky. My imagination ran away with me for minute there.
We ended on the battlefield of Culloden. A stark, sad place.
We were standing in the middle of the field with the wind blowing the long grass and listening to our audio guide that they gave us at the visitor center when…suddenly, my cell phone rang. What a jolt! It was just a friend calling from Tulsa who didn’t realize we were in Scotland at the moment.
Oh, and Brian ate haggis. I have the photos to prove it!