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Inverness and on up to the Orkney Islands

Morganna | Aug 20, 201306:44 AM

I always do this. I get so excited about a trip that I start doing research WAY in advance. We're not going to Scotland until September 2014. :)

Still, the general plan is to fly into Inverness then hire a car. Maybe spend a day in Inverness or the surrounding area and visit Castle Urqhart and Eilean Donan Castle. Then we'll go on up north and maybe visit Castle of Old Wick, and catch the ferry from Scrabster to Stromness and spend several days on the main island exploring neolithic sites and whatever else catches our fancy.

Then back down towards Inverness and perhaps a day or so there exploring castles to the east. This is all somewhat fluid at the moment but that's the general idea.

So for food, we'll want a small number of nice places to eat, maybe one really fancy one (but maybe not, things in Europe are so much more formal than here in New England...). My husband can't stand fish but I love it and want to have it. He's also not fond of gamey tasting meats, but loves beef, pork, and chicken (do they have turkeys up there?). He's ok with lamb/mutton depending on how it's prepared. So long as whatever place we're at has a reasonable non-fish option, he's happy for me to have fish. :D We are both very fond of cheese.

We always prefer going for local foods that we're not likely to get at home, or that might be way better than what we can get at home (for example, I can get ok Mexican food at home, but it doesn't hold a candle to Tex Mex I get in Texas, or anything I could get across the border into Mexico). So we tend to prefer eating along with the culture as much as we can.

Neither of us really drinks much (we don't really like the taste and our surgeon doesn't want us drinking alcohol anyway). Still, when I was in Italy we tried local wine and enjoyed it. I'm willing to consider trying a local potable that would be superior to whatever I could get here.

We are both large people. My husband is very large. So if a place you're recommending has small booths only for sitting, it'd be nice if you note it (if it occurs to you) so we can decide if it's worth chancing not fitting. Not a huge problem if you don't.

Another thing that has me wondering is about clothing in the restaurants and what's typical. We're from a very informal part of New England and my husband is even less formal than that. Because of his size, he finds most trousers to be terribly uncomfortable and he prefers shorts. He wears shorts even when it's 0-10C outside. Now one of the solutions I've come up with for this is to buy him a couple of nice kilts. But they are very much NOT Scottish kilts. They're made of a heavy cotton canvas material, in solid colors (a rich blue and a dark green). And some collarless shirts with lacing that dress him up, and a lovely kufi hat (he has to wear hats because he gets migraines within half an hour without one, his head gets cold). All this dresses him up nicely and I even took him to a formal night on a cruise in this and didn't have any problems.

Thing is, I don't know how well this will fly in Scotland. Since it's very much not a traditional kilt in any way. Will folks look down their noses or refuse service because he's wearing, say, cotton instead of wool, or a clearly American kilt versus a Scottish one? Should we not even try a fancy restaurant? Or at least, if you recommend one, maybe keep it to places you think wouldn't be all judgey about a fat American man with a kufi hat in a non-traditional kilt. :) (photos upon request ;) )

Anyway, thanks for making it this far through my long-winded post (I'm not the most concise writer out there). I'd appreciate any suggestions around the area we'll be visiting, or thoughts on what to look out for or search the web for. I appreciate your time. :)

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