loch ness

i didn't plan my trip to edinburgh very well,  but if i was going to stay in scotland for any period of time, i was definitely going to figure out how to get over to loch ness and visit the infamous lake monster, nessie.  this was not a small feat.  from edinburgh there were several day trips - "day" being the operative word as the entire tour there and back was planned at 12 hours.  luckily, haggis tours was at the top of the street from my hostel, so rolling out of bed for a 7:45 am bus departure wasn't an issue. (hey, i was on vacation. 7:45 is like 4:45 in real life time...)

i arrived bright and early and was greeted by a much smaller bus than i anticipated, operated by a driver who apparently felt that the best way to break the ice early in the morning was to tell dirty jokes.  i was immediately both literally and figuratively on board with haggis tours.

as luck would always have it, i got sat next to a smelly old man who took up an additional 1/4 of my seat on top of his own.  the good news was that apparently he didn't want to sit next to me either, as he practically begged people to switch with him until a girl named amanda offered to trade. maybe that was actually the bad news (why didn't he want to sit next to me?!).  amanda was about my age and from brazil and we ended up getting along really well, so the move was a good one.  plus, she kept answering for me at roll call, which was another bonus since i was probably too tired to respond myself.

just one more hurdle in the road before we made it to the boat for our lake tour.  there was a big car accident on the way, and we ended up having to turn the bus around completely to try another route.  sounds simple, but on the back muddy roads we were taking this turned into a 33-ish point turn event for our bus.  luckily a man who barely spoke english but claimed to understand what an "axel" was volunteered to direct us in completing this turn. moment 1 of a few where i wondered if maybe i might not make it home after this trip.

by the time we got to the boat, we had just enough time to grab our "lunch" that came with our tour and run to the boat.  quotation marks have never been more necessary here.  the brochure claimed a sandwich/bagged style lunch, which wasn't entirely a lie.  there were four options: ham and tomato, cheese and pickle, hummus and pepper, and egg and mayonnaise.  if these four sandwiches were presented in a line up, i'm 100% positive you wouldn't be able to identify one from the other, which was kind of unsettling given my new little healthy eating thing i had going on.  in this case, hunger won and i kept my eyes closed.

the boat trip was pretty simple - actually it was more like a booze cruise.  the boat sold very expensive local loch ness monster themed beers and m&ms.  we cruised around the lake and watched monitors that showed the depth of the lake and sensed any movement.

 kind of regretting not trying nessie's "monster mash."

 monitors showing the depth of the lake. excuse me - the loch.

cool kids at the back of the boat. teacher's pets up front.

much to my dismay, i only saw one nessie the whole trip...

 thank goodness she wasn't real.  i struggled enough just getting a shot of the fake monster...

so maybe i didn't see a monster, but the five year old child within felt pretty fulfilled at my attempt.

me at age 5. plus 22.

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