The day after Christmas is a holiday, Boxing Day, so we visited outdoor sites related to Outlander.  The standing stones don’t actually exist from the book or series, but we saw the circle near Culloden.  Sadly, we didn’t see Jamie and nobody went through the stones – I blame the lack of a proper pagan dance though! 2017-12-26 12.29.29

We also visited the Culloden Battlefield, which the guide told me has become much more popular thanks to the books and show.  It’s a large grassy field now with flags marking the English and Jacobite lines.  I was rather disappointed to learn that I descend from a lowland clan that fought for the red coats, so probably not a suitable match for Jamie! 😭

 

Then, we were off for a few more scenic views of Scotland!  The second site below was the inspiration for Tinker Bell with all the fire flies in the summer.  It was also the first place with open toilets all day, so I had previously learned the hilarious phrases “wild wee” (Scots) and “bush wee” (Aussies).

 

We didn’t quite get a white Christmas, but just after!  Most of my bus was from Australia or New Zealand, so people were losing their minds when the flakes started to fall.2017-12-26 11.30.29

The next day was the end of the tour.  We had a morning stop at the Commando’s Memorial and I managed a shot with all the others hidden by the statue!  It’s always a bit of fun to try and take good photos with 30 other people milling about.  We also made stops by Loch Ness to see Urquhart Castle.  As part of the tour, we did a Nessie Dance that involved a sumo squat, making a “monster shape” with our arms and calling her out of the lake – I was laughing so hard I could barely participate.

 

It was hard to say goodbye to Clan Frosty, but I spent the next day with a friend from the tour – we were the only two still in town at that point.

 

I’d planned for a day in between and so had he, so we met at the Edinburgh Christmas and went for a wander.  He asked what I wanted to see, which he may have come to regret by the end of the day because I’m the sort who will say, “See this Roman-looking stuff I took a picture of?  I just want to go find it,” and then go wandering off on an epic quest.

 

Ok, so it wasn’t as much of a hike as it seemed – just a short walk up a slight incline, then a small flight of stairs on the left to the turret and graveyard and a larger set of stairs on the left to the rest.  Originally, somebody planned to build an acropolis up there, but it was never finished.

 

After wandering around on the hill, he bravely asked, “where next?” and I was set on seeing the palace in the first photo below.  Admittedly, this can be my travel style when I have a free day . . . “Let’s climb that hill to see that thing . . . now that we’re here, let’s climb back down and see that thing over there.”  Since we weren’t sure what palace/building we were looking at, we headed to Holyrood instead, which I soon realized WAS the palace.😂2017-12-27 16.51.222017-12-30 12.54.37_3
I’d clearly met the right friend for this particular day of adventures because, let’s face it, I’m a fan of anyone who humors me in a random, spontaneous mood . . . which is also how we ended up on the Ghost Bus.  Upon seeing it the night before, I declared, “Ok, that needs to happen before I leave!” Response, “Tomorrow night?”  Done!!!  It reminded me of the Harry Potter night bus and it needed to be in my life.2017-12-30 12.54.37_2
It was cheesy, but that’s what made it fun.  Just be careful who you go with because holding hands with your seat mate to help “summon the spirits” is a ‘required’ part of the ride.😂