Posted by: mdmusingsie | August 11, 2011

Onwards and Eastwards

Today it’s off to Dundee, but no trip would be complete without a stop at a castle. Huntingtower Castle is located just outside Perth. There as a number of unique features of this castle.  Two of special note are the painted ceilings and painted plaster that have survived.  It gives us a greater image of what these places really did look like long ago.

It’s also an interesting site as there were once two distinct tower house castles on the site, only a few yards apart from each other. His and hers? No one really knows, but they think they belonged to two brothers. When their father died and the inheritance was split between them, they did not want to share a house. Later, there was a reconciliation, and after a lovely ceremony, the two became one (ok, I probably made up the ceremony part, as I seem to be waxing romantic at the moment, but, like many others, it can be rented out for weddings).

On the way to the castle I passed through Crieff, which is where Caithness Glass relocated a year or two ago. I remember Caithness Glass from my first bus tour of Scotland, marveling at the seemingly endless array of fascinating paper weights. I was so taken with them, I shipped a whole box back to the US to give as gifts, keeping several choice ones for myself, as well. When I visited Scotland about four years ago, the store just outside of Perth had been reduced considerably, showcasing a higher percentage of non-Caithness creations. It’s good to see it in a new home with its former glory restored. You can even watch the glass blowers at work – a fascinating art form. Alas, their credit card machine was out of order, so I ended up leaving empty handed. I’m sure my bank account will thank me, after the exercise it’s gotten on this trip, and there’s always next time.

My last stop before Dundee was Stanley Mills. It’s a huge mill complex on the River Tay, which itself is a wide and mighty river. There are lots of child-friendly exhibits and things to do on the ground floor and more interactive displays on the upper floors, though it lacks machinery actually at work as in New Lanark mill.

Dundee is a rather large town, by Scottish standards, and like many larger cities, even in the U.S. the hotels get away with nickel and dime-ing you for everything like parking and internet. The internet fees at the Hilton were beyond outrageous, so I walked to the nearest shopping center and purchased a USB fob that would likely last weeks, for roughly the same price as a day’s usage at the hotel. Note to travelers: these are worthwhile investments as they come in handy in other parks of the U.K. and depending upon which network you choose, it may be of use in other European countries, as well.

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