Our next stop on the trip was the Cairngorms, on the other side of Scotland in the eastern Highlands. One would think, looking at a map, that you could just head due east and get there in relatively short time, but no. We had to take the bus north to Inverness, then catch a train southeast to Aviemore, then hop on a bus to Glenmore, then walk up the hill to where our bed and breakfast Cairn Eilrig is located behind the Reindeer Center.
But I'm not complaining.
How can you when you have views like this from the bus?
This is a far cry from my experience with bus rides, which has been limited mostly to the stretch between O'Hare airport in Chicago and my hometown of Rockford, Illinois, where there are cornfields as far as the eye can see and random collections of industrial buildings.
We passed lots of homes like this.
We rode for a long time along Loch Ness. Nessie did not make an appearance. It wasn't really the weather for monsters--the sky was a lively blue and the surface of the loch was dappled with sunlight. No mist or moaning wind.
We arrived in Inverness, where the buildings all seemed to be carved out of the same block of stone.
Various storefronts tried to introduce a dash of color into the mix.
The train station was modern, white, and airy. These little guys were posted on a wall.
We arrived at Aviemore Railway Station, which was decorated with candycane colors. I loved the railway stations of the United Kingdom. While the Victorians sometimes overdo it in the decorating capacity, their railway stations are lovely.
Our final destination, Cairn Eilrig (Hill of the Deer Walk), where we met our gracious host Mary and her black lab Poppy.
How can you resist reindeer? The Reindeer Center is located just beneath Cairn Eilrig. I peeked over the fence numerous times during our stay in the Cairngorms.