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Charlotte Juarez's Going Home
Wednesday, March 26 - Inverness, McIntosh Country

March 26th, 2003
Lynden House Bed and Breakfast

Well, here we are in Inverness. We traveled as we usually do, taking our time to enjoy the Highlands and Islands, enjoying each others’ company and pretty much traveling as the spirit moved us in the general direction of our destination.

It was very difficult to say goodbye to Jane and Greshornish. I had a little walk before our 9 a.m. breakfast and enjoyed sitting on a quiet hillside, looking at the waves of Loch Greshornish lapping on the rocks, watching the sheep move around in their grazing patterns and listening to the seabirds and the woodland birds as they made their morning calls.

After breakfast we had to have a "photo op" on the lovely steps of Greshornish House. We each grabbed a piece of play equipment – croquet mallet, tennis racquet, fishing rod – Steve brought his golf club – and surrounded Jane, our hostess, amid much laughter and hopes of someday returning to this lovely and peaceful place – a least until this girls’ road trip descended on it!

Our destination was Inverness, being a base drive of three and a half hours away. But we included about two hours taking a tour and scrambling around Eileen Doonan Castle, frequent Kodak moments on the drive to Kyle of Lochalsh from Dunvegan to enjoy the mountains, glens, burns, waterfalls, picturesque villages, and sea views of this misty and beautiful isle. Saying farewell was indeed difficult. I have an old book entitled "The Scotswoman" which is about Flora McDonald and her life in South Carolina and eventual return to Skye. The novelist describes the heartbreak of the island McDonalds leaving Skye. Now I understand.

When we reached Kyle it was definitely time for a relief stop. Quite accidentally we stumbled upon what has been identified as the best public toilet in the United Kingdom. Public toilets cost 20p. to pee (or other) and this money is used to maintain the cleanliness and function of the facilities – and I’ve seen some nice ones during my stay here. But this little gem, in the tourist info square just off the road bridge at Kyle beats them all. Every inch of wall space is decorated with clan posters, tea towels, Scottish info and photos, even geisha doll posters – and we haven’t figured out the Scottish connection yet, unless it is the Scotsman who opened up Japan to the west and whom the character in Shogun and the old John Wayne movie ("The Geisha and the Barbarian" I think) was based on. Fresh daffodils are in pots and Guinness glasses alongside the sinks. This toilet was so remarkable we were so busy snapping photos of each other that we almost forgot the reason we were there (yes, all of us together as women are want to do) in the first place!

(And Steve later told us the men’s was no’ sae bad either.)

I stopped to congratulate the manager/owner on my way out and turned to go over to our van, only to hear it starting up and calls coming from inside of "Wait, wait! Wait for Charlotte." Apparently, since we’d all received maps of the area as part of our fee to pee (as I call it) my girlfriends were all reading their maps, heads hidden, and Steve thought I was behind one of them, so off he prepared to go. I might still be in Kyle now if the girls hadn’t stopped him.

This made me laugh so much because, remember, there were several occasions in the family trip when the girls threatened to make it worth Steve’s while to leave me somewhere when I got to "tourist guidy" or insisted on making the trip educational (in my family’s view) rather than fun (which talking about Scottish history, music, literature, poetry, people, pride and more is in my view.) Stephanie at one point, turned up her CD player loud and told Steve she was playing the family road trip theme song by a heavy metal group, ACDC (she felt this was a connection because one of the band members, Angus somebody or other, was born in Forfar before his family emigrated to Australia). The particular song on the CD was "Highway to Hell." And my family sang the chorus to me. Thank you very much, Steph!

Nickie was so excited all day about Nessie hunting. Every mile brought her that much closer to finding that elusive wee creature. Even when we were touring Eileen Doonan – which was closing to visitors early on the last tour when we got there in preparation for a wedding that afternoon – Nessie was on her mind.

Now Nickie knows quite well that Nessie is just as real as haggis, male and female, but she has been looking forward to this day since before the trip began. So, for her, our time at Eileen Doonan was well spent in touring the Castle, inside and out, and visiting the various rooms and the "virtual kitchen," but the focus of the day was to "find Nessie."

When we got to Drumnadrochit we found the Loch Ness Research Center where a large model of Nessie graces a pond in the grounds. Nickie had found Nessie! Mission accomplished.

Inverness is a short drive from Drumnadrochit and we arrived here with time to enjoy a nice walk up to town along the river front and around the Castle before settling in at Lynden Guest House for the night. Part of our walk along the River Ness gave Nickie the chance to climb to the river edge and fill a water bottle with Nessie Water as a prized souvenir to bring home – hope she clearly marks it and doesn’t drink Nessie in one gulp.

So, here I am in our lovely little family run bed and breakfast, happy that my friends are happy and ready for whatever tomorrow brings.

Farewell to Greshornish

The Bridge at Kyle of Lochalsh

The most amazing public toilet in Scotland, Kyle of Lochalsh
Robbie and Me with the Pots

Views of Eileen Doonan Castle on Loch Ness

Belinda, the Little Scottish Mermaid

Above, the view from Eileen Doonan
Below, Castle Urquart at the head of the Loch

As we sometimes saw the Girls Road Trip Van

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