A rugged castle on a hillside loses something when it is turned into a tourist attraction. It's one thing to find a castle with no one about, even a small one. It's another to pay for parking, pay for entrance, and be kept to well-prescribed areas to see almost everything "reproduced" as how it might of looked, as opposed to how it was found.
Also: There is a lovely garden one can see at another castle. People actually live in the castle so you can only see the garden. It has meticulously shaped hedges, gravel, planted trees, and statues. Very pastoral and calm. You pay entrance to this garden and can walk around it.
Meanwhile, when you leave the garden and go back to the road, you encounter wild forest trees and moss, paths beside waterfalls and streams, deer, foxen, and rabbits, vines, rocks, and so on.
The garden would be amazing in any other context, say the middle of a city or somewhere in the midwest of America. Here, I just can't see the point.
Let's just say that I plan to spend less money on my next trip not visiting any more of these attractions.
A side-effect of all our expeditions is that I am sick. I made it to shul on Friday night and Sat morning (Rachel gave a well-received shiur), but otherwise I either ate or slept until shabbat went out ... at 11:40 pm. Hopefully I'll be up and about tomorrow.
Please note that despite my terse notes, I am having a great time. Almost too good. I fear to come back from vacation. It's possible that a better vacation would be one where you don't enjoy yourself, which then makes the rest of your year seem nice in comparison.
My hosts have a wireless, so I am uploading a few pictures ... many more to come ...
Some unusual sweets for sale in a London store (real ants and worms in there)
Upskirt on the bridge across the Thames
On the banks of the Thames
At Dicecon with Gordon Lamont (necklace), Peter, and Andrew
Gordon's new prototype; something about deer mating
Typical rural Scotland scenery
Also typical Scotland scenery; usually penned up, but not always
Kinloch Rannoch, the town near where we were staying
Post Taste in Kinloch Rannoch, the town's communally run eatery, post office, internet cafe, and a few dozen other things
Rachel and me on a trail
No explanation needed