Thursday, September 19, 2013

Thursday + {Edinburgh: Day Three}

Today Gooligan and I pried ourselves out of bed, dressed in as many layers as we could, and headed off for the Hairy Coo tour. The Hairy Coo runs a free Highland tour (light on the highlands, heavy on the hairy coos), but it was filled up by the time we tried to book it so we opted for the £39.00 tour (student price), with an option £11.00 one-hour tour of Loch Ness. Completely worth it. Our tour guide was fantastic. 

While there was a million things Gooligan and I wished we could have done or experienced while in Scotland, I'm glad we spent our last day seeing the countryside and putting Edinburgh in context. Plus our tour guide explained so much of both historical and contemporary Scotland, including the movement that is coming up to vote next year about Scotland's independence from the UK.

The highlands were gorgeous. It was rainy today, so everything was super green and the rivers and waterfalls were a little higher than usual. The mountains were a little hard to see sometimes, but the mist obscuring them made them almost more magical in a way.

We stopped at this tiny village and on Donald's recommendation we ate at this tiny mom and pop bakery. We had a quiche and a macaroni pie and both were incredible.

Then we hurried back onto the bus to make it to the 1:00 hour-long boat cruise on Loch Ness. The Loch was gorgeous, choppy, and dark--and terrifying. Apparently anything that sinks to the impossibly deep bottom is permanently petrified!

We didn't see Nessy, but we did see a lot of stunning reviews. Unfortunately there was a mix-up in the bookings and our tour guide couldn't get us into the whiskey distillery, but he took us to a free whiskey tasting and bought a bottle to share on our way to Glen Cloe.

One of the best parts of the tour, however, was the end. We got to see some hairy coos (AKA Highland cows) which are the most adorable animal in the world. We both fed the cows, too, although I dropped my piece of apple. (Cows don't have very much agility in their mouths.)

Apparently Hamish (one of the cows we saw) is so famous that the Queen herself spared his life when there was an outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease and all cows over seven were supposed to be slaughtered!

Once we got home, Gooligan and I heated up some soup, showered, and hung out with Ritchie and another one of his friends again. I'm really glad to have had such a wonderful experience for our first Airbnb place.
Anyway, just a brief update before hitting the hay. We have to be up in five hours to catch a series of buses to get to the airport. Both of us are madly in love with Edinburgh (and Scotland in general) and want to come back as soon as possible. One of my favorite things about our few days here, though, is hearing about the locals discussing the Scotland Independence movement and hearing the people for, against, or undecided. The States isn't quite in the same situation, of course, but in a lot of ways we can really sympathize with how removed and unlocalized the politics are; I'm definitely going to keep tabs on this issue and see what comes of it.


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