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First Day of Castles

Day 1 – Thursday – First Day of Castles

Today was really the first day of vacation. Previously Karl was attending the EAGE.

We made it to three different castles today – Inveraray Castle, Dunstaffnage Castle, and the Stirling Castle. And we covered about 220 miles to get it done.

We started out at about 7:30 am walking to the train station, catching a train, then a bus to the Glasgow Airport to get a rental car. When we went to find the rental car, we walked over to where Karl thought the location was to pick up the car.  We kept saying that it says ‘DROP OFF’ place Dad.  But he kept walking.  We got there and they said, oh this is the drop off only, you have to walk back to where you were and pick up!  I sat down with the kids and said see you with the car.  Actually a nice National guy just drove up in the nick of time to take us over.  He offered Karl the passenger seat in the front…Karl began to walk around the car…the driver laughed and informed Karl that that may be a bit too close for comfort, since the driver side is on OUR passenger side.  Poor Karl.  He did great though driving and I kept repeating drive on the left, drive on the left, drive on the left!  At about 9:00 am we set out to see some castles. First we stopped for a bit of breakfast. Scott had an Americana Breakfast…and didn’t eat the eggs…like he does in America!  Troy and Karl had of all things mini donuts dipped in chocolate!  I had a bagel.  Then we continued up the road past Lock Lomand to Tarbet and then west to Inveraray for our first stop.

Scott and Troy at the Inveraray Castle

The castle here was nice…the ticket guy said he had more people from Dallas, Texas come through there than anywhere.  I told him I thought it was because they were jealous and didn’t have a house that big yet.  The boys determined that this “castle” was really a summer home and not a real castle.  Scott being our expert was not impressed by the lovely rooms and the beautiful garden.  He did like the weapons room, however.  This castle was never used to defend territory, therefore, it took it out of the running for the neatest castle!  We then set out to see the Duart Castle on the Island of Mull.  On the way, we saw lots of sheep, some with wool and other sheared!  Boy were those sheared guys skinny!  Troy had to stop and take a picture and when we stopped it appeared there were twin lambs…he loved taking their picture.  They were cute.

The trip to Mull was a long one…we passed several castles to get there as well.  We were all relieved when we finally arrived.  We figured out how to get to the ferry (all on the left side of the road – Karl was doing so great!) and the guy directed us to pull in behind some other cars in slot 2.  We waited about 20 minutes on the dock for the ferry to arrive and then found out that we had to go over to get a ticket. Karl quickly jumped out of our cracker box size car and ran over to get a ticket.  At that point he discovered it would cost £53 to go across to the island for several hours!… Well, we decided that the cost of the ferry ride and the possible cost of the castle admittance did not warrant such a trip.  The trip over would have taken 45 minutes to get there…then we would have had about 20-30 minutes to look at the castle…then it would have taken us a straight ride home for 3-4 hours…no more castles.  We made our way out of the ferry lanes and headed back toward Glasgow. Scott was very disappointed because this was the castle he studied in school, but he understood and agreed on our decision. On the way back we came across the Dunstaffnage Castle. The kids loved this one because they could crawl all around it.

The Dunstaffnage Castle (it has no roof)

It was also one used in battle!  Scott knew everything about the castle, thank you Ms. Zavertnik!  He was a great tour guide to us and took particular care that Troy understood everything.  It was great!  They took what seemed to be a thousand pictures of everything!  When Troy tried to take a picture of the bottom of the well by leaning over the well and lookin in, I took our new camera away and told him that wasn’t necessary!  This place also had the greatest bathrooms!  I know that is totally woman comment, but hey…it is a totally woman problem!  When we were getting the ticket for the Dunstaffnage Castle we got an “Explorer Pass” which included the Edinburgh Castle (which we plan to see tomorrow). The pass saved us money over the purchase of the two separate entry fees, but as we looked at the other castles that the fees covered, the ticket lady said the Stirling Castle was really worth while.

So, about 3:00 pm we decided to go to Stirling… I didn’t hold much hope for getting there in time, but luck (and persistence… i.e., no stops even though Troy was trying not to throw up on Scott) was on our side. We got there at 16:59 and the last entry to the castle was permitted at 17:15! The castle then closed at 18:00, so we got to look around for about an hour. We really did get to see a great deal in that hour.  The boys were once again fascinated, although I believe Karl was disappointed that he didn’t get to see the Kings quarters…I  believe he was hoping I would fix his  bedroom and closet up in the same fashion.  Sorry, only my closet is going to be that large!  This castle was huge.  The kids even got to sit in the throne room…I am not going to let them know who was sitting in the queens and who was sitting in the kings.  

Troy and Scott – royalty…


Stirling Castle from within the walls

We finally had to leave the castle.  It was great.  We didn’t get a picture of the whole castle, but maybe in the “real” camera we might have a picture!  We can scan a picture from the brochure.  This was a huge Castle.  The boys were starving as we hadn’t eaten anything since breakfast except a bag of chips…so we had a bite to eat in Stirling and started our long trek back to Glasgow.

It’s what’s for dinner…

(This is actually a picture of the kitchens in the castle…you didn’t actually think I let me children eat a pigs head did ya?)  Karl and I thought it would be a 3 hour drive…in about 1/2 hour we saw a sign that said Welcome to Glasgow.  Boy were we thrilled!  Then we had to drive to the airport, drop off the car, take a bus back and walk a few blocks home again, home again!  What a day.  We actually got back to the hotel at 9:25 p.m.  The kids are in bed and we are relaxing!  Trying to get energy reserved for tomorrows trek to another large castle.  The boys are psyched and ready, I am tired and old, and Karl is organized and prepared!  As always.  (I said the boys were psyched, not psycho).

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