Tuesday, October 5, 1999

We were picked up in one of those silly, big, black British taxis at 6:00 a.m. It held all four of us and our luggage with no problem. We caught the 6:48 train to Inverness. We had to change trains at Perth, and it was cold as a bastard!

We arrived in Inverness at 10:40 a.m. and got rooms at a cute B&B across the River Ness. The proprietor’s name was Maureen, a very, very nice woman. Question: Why is every B&B in Britain pink? BK and Stine got an ensuite room, Jana and I got a non-ensuite for cheaper, naturally.

We ate some sandwiches at the train station and hopped on the 12:18 to Keith. At Keith we toured the Strathisla distillery, where they make Strathisla and Chivas Regal. This is the oldest operating distillery in the Scottish Highlands. They gave us coffee and tea, we took a self-guided tour of the place, then they gave us a Scotch nosing (and then a nip!) Photography inside the distillery is not allowed; therefore we took pictures anyway.

Strathisla Distillery, Keith

Inside the distillery... Mmmmm!!!

After the distillery, we had some time left before catching the train out of there, so we walked into town. As it turns out, there isn’t much of one. Keith only has 5500 residents. We did happen upon what may be the only bar in town, The Plough Inn Pub, where we drank much Scotch. They had the world’s hottest fireplace, which was very welcome. All the people in the bar thought it was so wonderful that we had come to their little town. Stine made friends with an old drunk, Evan, who bought her a shot of Famous Grouse - and she drank it!!! (Stine doesn't really drink.) Then the other people at the bar gave him a hard time and said "aren’t you going to buy them all one?" so he bought all four of us a shot. We weren’t there long, but they did us in good with the whisky! This is the best bar in Britain! When we left, they gave Jana and Stine commemorative pens and BK and I bottle-opener key-chains. These people became our new best friends.

We had to high-tail it back to the station to catch the 18:23 back to Inverness. We barely caught it. I had forgotten my train pass back at Maureen’s, but lucked out with uninterested conductors both ways.

A tipsy Tom checks out a tipsy-looking car in Keith

We ate dinner a couple blocks from the station. Tonight BK decided it was time to try the haggis. It was edible, but certainly not delicious. I ordered the chimichanga, just out of curiosity. The menu description of this item bared no resemblance to a real chimichanga, and the actual dish of over-cooked vegetables looked even less Mexican. There weren't any tentacles, claws, or suction cups in it though, so it was probably the best choice on the menu.

Continue to Day 9

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