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.