This morning I used my on and off bus ticket to go the Dynamic Earth museum that shows a geographic history of the world. There were rooms that shook with earthquakes, and various biome rooms, including an arctic/Antarctic one that had a large iceberg in the middle.
After zipping back to the hotel in time for checkout, I made a last stop for another scotch pie at the Piemaker. Then back to the hotel where the group was gathering. It is about 40 people, mostly couples, and a few pairs of friends. While we were at the train station the Queen’s train came through, and a lady near me speculated the she, the Queen, was there and “alighting” because we heard a bagpipe fire up, so perhaps she was being piped on or off the train. On board I and an older gentleman are by ourselves on the tour and were seated together on the train. He is a train enthusiast and we had a nice conversation. We crossed the Forth Bridge which is an early industrial revolution wonder, with many girders and huge steel pillars.
The countryside is beautiful, having the characteristic of seeming to be looked at through polarized lenses (which makes everything prettier colors) but without my polarized sunglasses being on. The journey was about two hours, and we and our luggage made the train far more crowded than usual, which the conductor commented on over the loudspeaker. Something to the effect of, “the rest of you will have more room once that lot get off in Blair Atholl.” This amused the company greatly. Indeed our exiting did seem to immediately ease the pressure, excepting for the poor unknown person still on board the train, whose bag we accidentally took off with all the rest. Scot Rail is apparently sending it on on the next train.
Our hotel is the Atholl Arms Hotel, a former house or lodge built by a baron. There is no way to describe it but to say it is totally charming, with 36 rooms, a formal dining room and at least two bar areas in its small space. My room is on the top floor, with a little sitting area and a tartan canopy and a tartan bedspread. It is like a little apartment and I love it! I have a pretty view too.
Tonight we ate dinner all together and our table had lively conversation on all sorts of topics including oil fracking, Scottish independence, the National Health and Hilary’s chances for the presidency. Also cheese vs. pie as a dessert choice.
No train tomorrow, but a tour by bus to Queen’s View, a distillery, the town of Pitlochery, and Blair Castle, and home in plenty of time to watch the USA vs Belgium game in the bar downstairs!