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Unread 14 Apr 19, 04:44 PM  
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BONZO
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Join Date: Mar 02
Let's go... to San Francisco March 2019 - Day 2 (Inverness)

Monday 25th March 2019

Lets goto San Francisco
March 2019


Cast (its the usual one!)
Me: Shaun, 50s, loves travelling, eating and drinking (not necessarily in that order!)
Alison: 50s, ditto to the above!

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We both woke up early, had tea in the room and watched the Heathrow Parking PODS fly past the window (with a view of a plane on the runway outside too).



Normal shower and dressed before checking out and walking through to the lifts. Had a small chuckle as a man patently in a rush pushed past us to get in the lift whilst we waited. Gratifying to get into the lift with the same guy a few moments later as wed realised it was going the wrong way!

We headed over to the First Wing to get rid of our bags, before having breakfast in the BA first lounge (confusingly named really if you are travelling First Class on BA you use the CCR lounge!). Anyway, after a nice breakfast we relaxed in comfy chairs with a coffee until it was time to head down to the gate (via Boots where we picked up a meal deal each).

Boarding started on time at gate A7 and we followed Penelope Keith down the escalator to the air bridge! For one moment I thought my Mother-in-law had decided to take the same trip with us!

Not much to say about the flight really apart from the fact we were in the exit row and the flight was absolutely packed (every seat taken!). Small rant here why dont people listen when the announcement is clearly if you are in the exit row you will need to place all bags in the overhead locker 3 people in our row had bags taken from them by the cabin crew!

We landed on time and walked across the apron to the terminal





went to the worlds smallest baggage reclaim, so small you could see the bags being manhandled off the trolleys outside and onto the conveyor. We waited and waited before our luggage finally came through.

We made our way to the car hire desk to pick up our pre booked hire car. There was a person in front who appeared to have a number of issues so we waited and waited. So frustrating as wed pre-booked everything, didnt want any upgrades or extras and were ready to go.

Finally it was our turn and the desk agent looked puzzled and tapped away at the keyboard with an odd look. He looked up at us and said youve hired a van? An interesting discussion took place and it looked like the cheap option wed gone for was in fact a small van and not a car apparently its cheaper in some respects but has limited miles. We said we didnt care about what vehicle it was as long as it was the cheapest on offer. Much keyboard work later and we had the keys to a brand new Fiesta

We finally left the airport at about 1.10pm and drove the 30 mins to Clansman Harbour to join our tour on Loch Ness and to visit Urquhart castle. The stop / start technology in the car completely befuddled me for a while but I eventually got used it along with having 6 forward gears to play with.

Oh, the on-board Sat Nav wanted me to go along some strange unmade roads but I had Alison track from her phone in tandem and kept in touch with that instead, probably hell bent on getting us Southerners in a pickle.

We pulled up in the hotel car park and made our way to waiting area for the boat although there was hardly anyone around so I thought itd be a quiet trip. Shortly before boarding a couple of coach loads of tourists turned up!

Our first view of Loch Ness:



Not a big deal as the boat was huge and easily accommodated everyone comfortably on board. The on-board commentary was really good as our guide gave us a detailed description of the history and size of the loch and soon we were docking at Urquhart Castle.



Once off the boat we were handed our Freedom Passes this a way of identifying us as paying passengers for the return trip.



I hadnt done much research about Urquhart Castle beforehand, I thought it was just a ruin but its so much more. Really well presented and well thought out visitor experience with stunning views over the Loch.









We had a good look around and had some cake and coffee in the visitor centre.



We sat at the pointy end of the boat for the trip back, stoically heading into the wind and taking in the views despite our streaming eyes.



Once back at the dock we had a local piper in a kilt piping us back onto dry land which was a nice touch and the overseas tourists lapped it up.

After a quick toilet break, new fridge magnet and look round the gift shop before getting back in the car and making our way to the Heathcote B & B for the night. The owner was really welcoming and showed us to our room which was very spacious and easy walking of the town centre.



We settled ourselves in and after some tea and biscuits we headed off on the short walk into town, to a footbridge over the river and into the town centre. The whole place was really very pretty, even at this time of year as the daffodils and crocuses were beginning to show their heads.





Feeling a bit thirsty we stopped in a place called Bar 1 for drinks, Alison had a couple of cocktails and I had some draught Ennis and Gunn both hit the spot.





We chatted to the bar staff and asked them for local recommendations for a small bite to eat. They suggested the Scotch and Rye for dinner and we werent disappointed.

We had a selection of small plates to share (loaded skins, nachos and haggis bites!)






before heading back to the B & B and settling down for the night. Tomorrow we will finally be on our way to the USA!
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Unread 15 Apr 19, 04:47 PM  
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IlDivoette
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That is a seriously blue cocktail 🤣. What a great and unusual start to a holiday 👍
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Unread 17 Apr 19, 09:53 PM  
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KarenG
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Ill wager Exeter beats Inverness for small baggage claim to fame

I assume the Inverness element was something to do with status / legs / cost (? ) Unless it was just an overwhelming desire to look for Nessie...

That said photos are stunning.
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Unread 20 Apr 19, 10:09 PM  
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disney owl
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lovely start to your holiday
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