A Weekend in Inverness – The Good and The Bad

Hey all!  I’m writing this the day after I came back from Inverness – and what a trip it was! I went with a friend and we took the bus all the way up (a pretty taxing journey but nice scenery). Firstly, Inverness is so pretty! Even when we got there in the dark and with heavy rain, it was so lovely (probably because of the pretty buildings and Christmas street lights). And the bridges were lit up!! I definitely wasn’t expecting that. I would’ve spent ages staring at them if I wasn’t drowning with every second we were outside. We got there in the evening on Friday, ate and went straight up to our room. We might’ve done some night time exploring if it weren’t for the rain but we were both pretty tired so we agreed to go up to our room and start the trip the following morning.

An aside here about the hotel we stayed in – it was called the Waverly Guest House and it’s on Union Street (which is about 5 minutes away from the bus station and literally across the street from the train station). We got a very good deal from Groupon (or Wowcher, or some other site like that but I’m pretty sure it’s Groupon) and paid £50 for 3 nights bed and breakfast. It was amazing value! The room was very nice (ours had 3 single beds, 2 chests of drawers, a table with a kettle and tea/coffee, and a TV). It wasn’t en suite but there were 2 bathrooms along our corridor (shared between 5 rooms I think?) and I never had to wait or anything. The rooms were clean and tidy. They weren’t cleaned during our stay (they probably would have been if we’d stayed longer I guess) but I’m not a messy person so it was fine. You got a hand towel and bath towel, and there’s also hand dryers in the bathrooms. Breakfast was a “continental” style – a selection of cereals, toast (white and brown, with individual butters and jams/marmalade), bananas and pain au chocolat. You could pay extra for a cooked breakfast,  but at £9 I thought that was pretty pricey (especially as I’m a pescetarian and my friend is a vegetarian). You could ask for eggs on toast or croissants and a few other things but again, they had an additional charge which I think was pretty steep (if you really wanted a croissant there’s a coop down the street where you could buy them for a lot cheaper). These additional items were the only thing I thought wasn’t value for money however – the rooms and the included breakfast were brilliant.

On Saturday we woke at 7 (breakfast was 7:30-9:30 Monday-Saturday and we wanted to get an early start). We had been planning on going to the Highland Park/zoo in Aviemore; however, due to some unfortunate circumstances my friend decided to leave that day after breakfast. This unexpectedly made my trip into a solo adventure (my first solo holiday, exciting!). On the Saturday it drizzled pretty continuously throughout the morning, although it did pick up in the afternoon (I’d advise you to take scarves, hats, gloves and waterproof jackets if you visit Inverness in the winter). Because of the weather and the scarce buses available (and the person who I have the zoo pass with no longer being here) I decided not to go Aviemore and instead explored Inverness itself. I went to the shopping centre (thrilling I know), walked up to the castle (now the Sheriff’s Courts) and wandered around the Museum. I’d highly recommend the kinetic theatre show in the museum (upstairs, in the art gallery bit). It was beautiful! I have some photos but in order to really understand how lovely it was you need to watch it complete with the music.

Once I’d spent a few happy hours in the museum (it’s quite small but there’s quite a lot crammed in), I wandered along the river and explored the Old Town a bit. The Victorian Market building (just opposite the train station) is very nice. I went out for dinner and then retreated to my room kinda early to plan where I was going to go the next day.

On Sunday, I originally wanted to go to the Ship Space – a museum with scale replicas of the Titanic, submarines, lifeboats etc. that you can actually go on! I had breakfast, snaffled some bananas and a pain au chocolat so I wouldn’t have to buy lunch (such a rebel, me) and set off. There were blue skies! The first of the trip! Woo! I had taken a photo of the map to the Ship Space on my phone and so set off, determined and enthusiastic. After wandering for half an hour and doubling back on myself several times (and stopping suddenly and squinting at my phone a LOT), my enthusiasm was waning. I asked three people where I could find “the Ship Space”, “the ship museum”, “the titanic museum”, and “the place with the titanic replica. There’s a bridge near it” all to no avail. So in the end, I packed away my directions, gave up on outside help, picked a direction and started walking. I found some lovely buildings! I never did get to the Ship Space though…maybe next time.

In the end, Sunday was spent wandering aimlessly, admiring the pretty houses and generally getting myself lost and found again. Apart from a heavy rainstorm in the middle of the day, it stayed pretty dry, albeit cold. The weekend overall was uneventful, a nice way to relax and unwind before exams start.

Relaxation ended on Monday, when I had to get home. Originally supposed to be getting the bus home with my friend, I had to get the train back instead. Bought my ticket on Saturday, fine. Picked it up on Sunday, all good. Went to station on Monday…cancelled. Bummer. After finally tracking down a member of staff and asking what I was supposed to do, I was directed onto a bus. I had to get the bus to Perth which was an ordeal in itself. The bus smelled strongly of mould, the woman sitting next to me fell asleep on my arm and it was looooooong. Again, lots of nice scenery though. And there was a cute dog in the aisle! Yay for the small things. At Perth train station we were put onto a train to Edinburgh and finally home was in sight. I have to say, the train journey was lovely – I spent most of it staring out of the window in glee. Stunning countryside.

And then I was finally home! Taking two and a half hours longer than it was supposed to and leaving me completely shattered, but I was home. All in all, I had an amazing time in Inverness (and I took lots of photos, which I will put into a separate post). Would I go there again in winter? Hell no. Would I go there again in summer? ABSOLUTELY YES!! In fact, I think I will go back in summer 2016 (just during the week and hopefully without all the dodgy weather). I love Inverness and would highly recommend it to anyone who fancies a short break in the Capital of the Highlands.

Goals for my next trip to Inverness: going to the Highlands Park (I think there’s more buses during the week so fingers crossed); finding the Ship Space (second time lucky!); going to the Culloden Battlefield and Clava Cairns (a battlefield and Bronze Age tomb that’s a little way out from Inverness – I’d take a bus out and spend the day there if I went to Inverness during the week next time); doing an open top bus tour of the city (they don’t run in the winter and it wasn’t ideal weather for open top this time anyway).

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A Trip to Edinburgh Butterfly and Insect World in Pictures

Hey everyone! On the same day I went to Gorgie City Farm last week (I’ve done a whole separate post for that so check it out) I also went to Edinburgh Butterfly and Insect World. This is on the outskirts of Edinburgh but it’s still only about an hour away from me on the bus and it is SO WORTH IT!! I had so much fun here. You go in and there’s an adorable little gift shop, then the butterfly section which is so humid (DON’T wear layers to come here!) and terrapins, then there’s the reptile and bug rooms. I held a millipede, a tarantula and a snake (best thing ever – she was gorgeous) but I don’t have pictures of them (I was kinda occupied at the time y’know?) so I’ll just show some of the pictures I took. I took LOADS but here are my favourites:

   
                               

Gorgie City Farm in Photos

Hey everyone!! To celebrate the end of my exams and the end of my first year at uni (wild I know) a friend and I took a trip to Gorgie City Farm and also the Butterfly and Insect World (the latter is on the outskirts of Edinburgh while City Farm is just a little west of Princes Street). Here are some of the photos I took at City Farm. It was a lovely day to be there and the animals were SO CUTE (it takes so little to make me happy!) enjoy!

   
               

           

We’re Off to See the Wizard…

Hey everyone! I went to see Wicked at the Edinburgh Playhouse with a couple of friends yesterday, and I had the most AMAZING time!! I’ve never seen Wicked before but I love any type of musical extravaganza or play and this was no exception. I laughed, I cried, I sighed in longing over Fiyero…it was just magical. The theatre was gorgeous and the sets were stunning, the costumes beautiful and the acting perfection. I took a couple of cheeky photos (you weren’t really supposed to take pictures inside) that I’ll put below for you guys. I’m not sure how long the run is on for (they’ve been there a while) but I believe it’s the UK tour which means that there’s still a chance for you to go and see this…wait for it…WICKED creation (sorry, I just couldn’t help myself!). If you get the chance, I highly recommend it!

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Currently Reading

Hey everyone! I’m going to do a quick post about the books I’m currently reading – what they’re about, how far into them I am, whether I’m enjoying them, that sort of thing. I’m also thinking of starting to watch the TV show Grimm today, and possibly doing a “watch with me” type post, where I write about what’s happening in the episode and my thoughts, and we can discuss it in the comments? If that’s something that will interest you, stay tuned!

But now for my current reads. From top to bottom:
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Withering Tights by Louise Rennison – this is the first book in a series about Tallulah Casey, wannabe starlet and completely relatable awkward teenage girl. I’ve read this before but decided to skip through it again before reading the next in the series. Withering Tights is a nice, quick read with both drama and laugh-out-loud bits.

Vicious by V. E. Schwab – this is about two college roommates, Victor and Eli, who plan their dissertation around the hypothetical notion that, under the right “conditions”, people can develop supernatural powers. Their problems arise when they start exploring the…practical…side to their notion and not just the hypothetical side. I haven’t read too much of this yet, but it skips between Victor and Eli in college and Victor several years later, newly escaped from prison and attempting to find Eli. It seems really good so far, and I can’t wait to keep reading and see what happens.

Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult – an Amish teenager gives birth in the middle of the night and when she wakes up, the baby is gone. It seems that God has answered her frantic prayers…until the dead baby’s body is found. I love Jodi Picoult, and this book is no exception. Again, I haven’t read too much of it, but it’s intriguing and saddening in equal measure.

Black Cat by Kentaro Yabuki – this is the first manga I’ve ever read, and it’s a pretty good one! It’s about an ex assassin turned bounty hunter, who’s attempting to track down a dangerous weapons smuggler. He is aided by his bounty hunter partner Sven, and a new allegiance with a burglar. This is going really well, once I got used to the different style of reading! I’m enjoying this a lot, and can’t wait to dive into some other manga too.

Finally, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs – a teenage boy, haunted by stories and his grandfather’s death, travels to a little island off the coast of Wales to find out more about his family’s mysterious past. I’m enjoying this book, as well as the beautiful if eery photographs, and am looking forward to seeing what happens at the end. It’s taken me a while to get through because of numerous things getting in the way of my reading but hopefully now I’ll have the chance to finish!

So that’s all the books I’m reading at the moment. Hopefully now that my lectures are over, I’ll have more time to read in between my revision. I hope you enjoyed this post, and let me know if you’ve read any of these books and what you thought of them!