We have found that the nicest wines at reasonable prices in this area of the world come from the ‘new world’ wine countries – Chile, NZ, South Africa and Australia. Rather than only use small portions of a large bottle before the wine goes off, many restaurants and pubs sell wine in half bottles and quarter bottles.
On our second night in Thurso, we had dinner at the Red Chile Restaurant, where we were served by a very personable young lady. She said that she had quarter bottles (1 glass) of wine available, so before ordering them we asked “Where do they come from?”. With a very straight face, she said “I get them from the bar!”. Good answer, but no the one we were expected.
Having dinner one night in Inverness, our waitress was clearly not a young person of the world. When we asked what the oysters were like, she quite openly said that she had never tried any but the chef had once given her a scallop to try which was something that she would never otherwise have tried, but she didn’t like it. Clearly, hot chili would have been right out of the question!
We have run into quite a number of young women from Poland In the restaurants that we have been to in Ireland and Scotland. Things must be tough in their own country as all have told us that they can made the point that can make more money in the UK. They were all very ice looking young ladies as well.
One thing that we have noticed in our travels along the coast is that a feature of many of the larger towns is the operation of a lifeboat – something that is unknown to us at home. They all look like this one that we saw at the town of Wick. In fact, it was the lifeboat crew who took responsibility for transferring the Queen Mother to shore when she arrived into Thurso on the Brittania.
We were a bit surprised to find that another of Scottish icons is no longer locally owned. Just north of Inverness, is the famous Glenmorangie distillery. This is the largest selling brand of whisky in Scotland. The distillery is located in a grand old stone building and is very different to the historic one that we saw at Kilbeggan in Ireland. This one is computer controlled, with acres of stainless steel and copper. It is actually owned by the well known French company; Louis Vitton, who also own Moet.
It was still raining yesterday and we resorted to doing some shopping in Inverness. I rather like this city- it feels alive and while it has a rather odd mixture of nice Victorian buildings mixed with ugly square 1970’s structures, it has some character. The River Ness is flowing full and fast through the centre of the city. The restaurants in which we have eaten here, have served the nicest food that we have had anywhere in Scotland.
Later, we headed off to see Loch Ness and look for the monster. No luck with the monster, but we did find some nice scenery. The long distance views were very dull and cloudy, but we did see some nice roads and some nice streams. I took only one photo of the shoreline of Loch Ness, just to be able to say that I had at least one image of the famous lake.