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Postcards from Travel Near and Far by Jia-Rui

IV63 6SJ, Loch Ness

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Urquhart Castle, on the banks of Loch Ness

Urquhart Castle, on the banks of Loch Ness

Dear ——–,

No, we didn’t see the Loch Ness Monster. But we did get to an unrestored, ruined castle: Urquhart Castle. It changed hands many times through its several-hundred-year history and English soldiers finally firebombed it to pieces in 1692 so it couldn’t be used by the Jacobites (loyal to the Scottish king James VII). I liked imagining what it would be like to live in a bedroom in the tower overlooking Loch Ness and what it would be like to bake in the stone oven. This was so much better than listening to the recorded sizzling and clanking sounds piped into the kitchen of Eilean Donan Castle. We arrived at Urquhart (pronounced ERK-ert) right after it opened, so we had the castle almost to ourselves for an hour. Then the swarm began, with sounds of Mandarin, Italian and some Eastern European language echoing through the stone corridors. Sometimes it was hard to get up the spiral stairs because tourists carrying enormous backpacks were blocking the narrow path. Touring Scotland = touring castles, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. At least we limited ourselves to only two castle visits.

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Author: postmarkhere

I'm a journalist based in Los Angeles who has always said that writing postcards for a living would be a dream job. The posts -- short enough to fit on an actual postcard -- chronicle recent travels near and far. I could blab on about being inspired by epistolary novels, the short poems of Emily Dickinson, and the New Yorker's "Talk of the Town" pieces, but I'll just say that I'm aiming to give you a sense of flavor of a place without boring you to death. Wish you were here!

4 thoughts on “IV63 6SJ, Loch Ness

  1. OK, actually we visited THREE castles. I forgot to count Edinburgh Castle our first day. If you count the ones we drove by, our total for the trip was six. If you throw a stone in Scotland, you hit a castle or a bed and breakfast.

  2. Why would a castle pump in recordings of clanking and sizzling? Wouldn’t the serene sounds of, I don’t know, the lapping of the lake and the banshees outside (unless that’s Ireland) be sufficient?

    • Uh, we were surprised by it too. There were also plastic roasts and jello molds in that room, so I can only imagine that *someone* thought they were re-creating something very authentic for us.

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