Mon July 5th (Stirling)
Early in the morning we packed up and took the taxi back to the port where we caught the Ferry back to Fionaport. I quickly made my way to the bus because we didn't want to be left behind and have to wait for the next set of buses!We then took the bus back again across the island of Mullaig and to Craignure.While waiting for that ferry to be available to board we watched the unloading of the vehicles from the belly of this huge ferry.I started counting the vehicles and came up with around 40 of them including 5 large buses and multiple large other trucks.It was amazing…the passengers discussed that it seemed like this magic box…we couldn't figure out how they got them all in there.It was quite a sight.This ferry had very comfortable plush seats where we could relax and enjoy the ride back to mainland.We then grabbed the train and headed to Stirling.
Of course, it was cold and rainy in Stirling as well (I think I take it with me!)Our hostel (Willy Wallace Hostel) was just up the road from the Bus station so that was very nice.We had a nice sized room and both nights only 2 other girls joined us leaving us with plenty of space and quiet. ;)
That first evening after we arrived we were feeling a little adventurous and decided to try to walk to the the William Wallace monument (think Braveheart, for those that have seen the movie…which I haven't).We were a little ambitious, but we passed a fabulous old Abbey (Cambuskenneth Abbey of Stirling) and then came to the road where we got a better idea of how far away this monument truly was.After seeing it high up on the mountain, still a long walk away, we decided that it wasn't happening. So we turned around and walked back….and it only sprinkled a little bit!
Tues July 6th (Stirling)
The next morning our first stop was at Bannockburn Heritage Center.This was the site of the most important battle in Scotland history.We watched a 10 min video and then toured the museum and read a lot about this famous battle.They allowed us to try on some of the old fashioned gear, so if you are lucky, you may get to see a picture of me with and old helmet and chainmail.Since it was again rainy, we were very glad that it was indoors.We took pictures of the monument before heading to the Stirling Castle.
I knew the Stirling Castle would be great (I just love castles!) but I had no idea it would be so interesting or take so much time.When Heather & I had discussed it, we didn't think we would spend more than 2 hours there…guess again!We entered just in time to join a tour of the castle.After that, we went back through it on our own taking pictures and just taking it all in.We were disappointed, but had known ahead of time that the main palace where the residences were is closed to the public.Plans are to have this part completed by Easter of 2011. When it's completed, visitors will be able to see how it would have looked in its heyday.Again, this castle is considered one of the most important in Scotland history because until Scotland and England were united under King James VI and moved the Parliament to London where it still is today, it was where the Scottish Parliament used to meet.Included in our castle admission, was a tour through the Duke of Argyll's house.The tour guide was so interesting even though the tour lasted an hour!Before leaving the Stirling Castle, we went to where they were recreating a set of 7 tapestries that had hung in the original castle.They have 4 completed and the last big one took 4 years!There are 2 teams of weavers working on these tapestries and they hope to have them completed by 2013, so anyone going to Stirling Castle then should be able to see the full set.
Oh yes, in spite of the rainy and cool weather we decided that we definitely needed to indulge in some fine UK ice cream.Was it ever good!While eating this fabulous cone, I did find a good excuse (gotta check out the little watch tower) to hang out in places where there was a roof over my head.
I think we caught one of the final buses out of the castle.Because of the rain, we decided that riding the bus would be more fun than walking.Did I mention that I'm ready for sunny, warm weather!
Hanging out in our room that night I decided that I was in the mood for some dessert….not that I was hungry, but it was calling me….I just didn't know where it was!So I set out to find my dessert in rainy Stirling.After walking up and down several streets, the best place ended up being right across the road from the hostel.Let me tell you about this dessert…three wonderful cream puff balls filled with some vanilla pudding and wallowing in a chocolate mousse.They then covered it with cool whip, chocolate syrup and cocoa.Combine that with a fine cup of hot chocolate and your every dessert fantasy (at least mine) was fulfilled! J
The rest of that evening was spent charging up one gadget after another!(Cell phone, Ipod, Kindle & Netbook)