Here is a picture of our view from last night’s hotel in Ballachulish. The rain stopped during the night and it looks like we will have better weather today.
Today, we had our last view of the Highlands, and they were beautiful. There were all kinds of streams and rivers and bridges, oh my. They were beyond gorgeous.
We even saw a tree growing out of a rock!!!! Our guide told us that the tree had found a part of the rock where it could grab on and grow.
This picture is as we are coming down out of the Highlands.
After the Highlands, we stopped at Loch Lomond to take pictures. We went down to the loch, the closest we’ve ever been to one, and we took pictures. The water is in Loch was so clear! We also touched the water, and it was FREEZING!!!!!!!! While we were taking pictures, I saw two swans, the only swans I’ve ever seen, and one swan swam up and pulled out some of his feathers for me. He knew I had never seen a swan before. He was so cute and sweet.
Next, we drove to Alloway, and on the way we saw some very pretty views and we saw the tops of the buildings in Glasgow. In Alloway, we went to the Robert Burns Museum. Robert Burns is the official poet of Scotland and wrote many famous poems, including the words to Auld Lang Syne. It was the most fun museum I’ve ever been to. It was very interactive and made the learning fun. There was also the cottage where Robert Burns was born.
We also saw the Alloway Auld Kirk. In Burn’s poem, Tam O’Shanter, Tam peers through the windows of this creepy, ruined Kirk one dark and stormy night, and sees a gaggle of witches dancing to a tune played on the bagpipes by the devil. Tam foolishly disturbs the witches and has to flee for his life. The statue below of Tam fleeing from the Kirk on his horse is made from grass and twigs.
Here is my favorite tombstone from the Kirk’s graveyard.
This is a picture of me and my mom posing with a giant mouse we saw on the way to the cottage.
This is me playing on a rocking horse in the “play yard” at the cottage.
In the gift shop of the museum, we found this guy (a stuffed Highland Cooow – see yesterday’s blog post), and we just couldn’t resist buying him. (Thank you, Meme!!) In the second picture, I came back from somewhere and I found my little buddy up on the rearview mirror trying to take a ride. His name is Hamish. I didn’t name him that, our tour guide, Pat, did, but I liked it so I kept it.
We left Scotland by ferry. We left from Cairnryan, Scotland and arrived 2 hours later just outside of Belfast in Northern Ireland (which is still a part of the UK).
This is our hotel for the night. It’s right in the center of Belfast. We are staying at the Europa hotel, which was a big target during the “troubles” in Northern Ireland of the past. Our tour guide told us that the Europa has been bombed 72 times! Luckily, the troubles are a thing of the past, due to the peace agreement that was signed in the 90’s. Belfast has become a much safer place since then!!!
We had dinner in the hotel, then went across the street to see one of the most famous bars in Belfast. (Yes, I went in the bar, but just for a minute to take these pictures). The Crown Liquor Saloon has been open since the 1800’s. It has lots of beautiful wood carvings and tile work inside. The story goes that it was opened by a Protestant woman and her Catholic husband. She wanted to name the bar The Crown, but her husband thought that his Catholic friends would not frequent a bar associated with the royal symbol. So, they compromised by naming the bar The Crown and creating a crown in the tilework on the floor as you enter the bar. This satisfied the husband because his Catholic friends could wipe their feet on the crown as they entered the bar.
If you can’t tell what the second picture is of, it’s of a little cubicle type thing. It’s there because, a long time ago, people thought it was wrong for ladies to drink in public, so there were these cubicles with a string they could pull when they wanted their drink, so then they could drink in public and not be impolite
Tomorrow we will visit the Titanic museum in Belfast and take a quick trip to Dublin.