So this morning we had an extra half hour to sleep in - yay! After breakfast we got on the coach and stopped about 5 minutes later to see a stone circle in a housing development. James took a group shot of us in the circle.
Next we headed for Blair Castle near Pitlochry. This was another optional excursion that we had picked. Alf dropped most of us off there before taking the others into town.
The castle was medieval but updated in the Georgian times and again for Victoria's visit. We toured the inside, then got an early lunch in the café. I picked up a ploughman's sandwich (cheese, branston pickle, white bread, lettuce & tomato), hot chocolate, and a custard cream pastry. Definitely a lovely lunch. I'd like another custard cream please!
We made it back to the bus in time and were headed back to Pitlochry to pick up the others when we saw two "Harry coos" in a field. James asked Alf to pull over and several of us got out to take photos of the hairy cows. We had time - in the choice between more time in Pitlochry and hairy cows, we picked the cows. Heh.
Once we gathered the others, it was off to St Andrews. We had 2 hours to kill there, so we started at the abbey for photos and walkies. At one point mom went a different way than Amy, so I stuck with mom once I found where Amy was heading. We eventually found each other and went in search of a place for continued lunch (mom & Amy had eaten only half their sandwiches). Eventually we entered the Greyfriars pub. I ordered a half pint of Strongbow cider, while Amy had a Twisted & Bitter and mom G&T. Mom wanted soup to go with her sammich and Amy wanted to try their haggis fritters. The fritters were very good and mom liked her Cullen skink soup (sort of a fish chowder).
We bugged out with 10 minutes to get back to the bus & at one point almost turned down the wrong road. Then when we were nearly there, we had a gauntlet of OAPs with canes & zimmers to dodge around. But we made it with time to spare. Go us!
Now we're heading for our hotel (another resort outside of town) and this evening we doing our last optional excursion. Edinburgh, here we come!
I'm writing this later in the hotel. Dang, it's a nice place! And the spa is open till 10. Though we didn't get to it tonight, but maybe tomorrow night.
James is a big fan of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and when we crossed over the Firth of Forth, he had Alf drive us through narrow streets in Queens Ferry to get to an ideal vantage point in order to take photos of the "first Forth bridge over the Firth of Forth towards Fife" (which he can say very quickly AND with a nifty London accent). This is a cantilever bridge that Brunel built in the 19th century and it still used for the rail line over the Firth of Forth. It was interesting on one of the narrow streets when one person in a car encountered us going the other way and she wound up having to get onto the sidewalk to get around (helped by a lady from a shop moving her sandwich sign off of the sidewalk). These coaches are HUGE and the streets are NARROW. :-)
Our dinner tonight was in a private club that underlooked Edinburgh Castle (after all, no building can OVERLOOK the castle, it's the tallest thing in the city). I had lentil soup for starters, lamb, potatoes, and vegetables for main course, and a chocolate torte for dessert.
We're back in the hotel thinking that maybe we shouldn't ever eat again. But we know that tomorrow we shall be hungry and there are many things to try in Edinburgh. :-)