Day 3 started when Julie and I woke up around 9:30. I'm convinced people stay up later and sleep in later in Europe. For example, breakfast at our current hotel isn't served until 8am and the sun doesn't go down until almost 10pm. More reason to drink another gin and tonic...jk Mom and Dad. Anyways, I let Julie sleep in a bit while I blogged since she hasn't been sleeping well. But turns out she watched THREE more episodes of reign after I fell asleep. Anyways our first stop of the day was to get scones. Basically all we have eaten (and plan to eat) for breakfast/lunch.
Our first official stop was Balmoral Castle. This castle was built for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (she was the great grandmother of Queen Elizabeth). It's the summer residence for the royal family and therefore is only open from October to July. That's also why only the ballroom is open to the public but let me tell you, the views from the outside are worth the trip in and of itself. Interesting fact: Balmoral Castle is it's own community where the workers reside and it has its own fire department (volunteer).
We toured the whole estate. I loved learning about the gardens which grow all of the fruit and vegetables for when the royal family is in residence. This area gets about 30 inches of rain annually compared to the 120 inches around Scotland. There also could be a frost any time of year except for July. Therefore it's a challenging growing season!
We also saw a building where deer are hung and butchered. The antlers outline the building. The slots in the walls are used for ventilation. So interesting! Deer hunting and salmon fishing are two of the activities that take place at the castle.
We tried to recreate one of the Christmas cards from the Royal Family.
After we lounged on the grass and took some pictures we hit the road again. We weren't going to make it to Loch Ness in time for the cruise so we decided to drive north to a whiskey distillery. The road was sickening! It was gorgeous, of course, but I was car sick just by driving. We basically went up and over the mountains, there was even a ski resort! Although it wasn't very steep or long. I was more than grateful to have some whiskey. The GPS also took us on a one way dirt road through a farm to the distillery...don't think it was an actual road...
We tried the four whiskeys made at Cragganmore. Of course I actually liked the kind that was just released on Friday and is a distillery special and, therefore, 90 pounds...nope. Julie and I have been enjoying trying he whiskey straight before adding a few drops of water to taste the difference.
And then we were off again. This time to Inverness, the city that borders Loch Ness. Jules found us an amazing deal on Expedia! She has been the BEST researcher (since her phone works and she said she'd have some serious anxiety driving). She also is a great back seat driver when I look the wrong way or get too close to a car on the left side...don't worry, Dad.
Anyways check out this hotel!!
We lounged for a bit, did a quick bodyweight workout in the room, and walked to dinner. We are trying to get our steps in when we can! And parking sucks...
We went to a cute little restaurant and had fish and chips. The fish was tasty but the fried part was a bit too tough for me so I mostly ate the insides and the chips. I've decided beer in Scotland is not strong enough for me. I miss my New England IPAs. So when Julie and I got back to the hotel we chatted with the bartender about gin. He convinced us to try Isle of Harris gin infused with sugar kelp and The Botanist gin. I preferred the former. Then we tried two more. Of the four I definitely preferred Strathearn and am on a mission to go to their distillery!
And that's a wrap! We ended the day drinking our gin and tonics and watching Reign in our king bed.
All food to be in one post later on!!