Over the weekend, M and I drove up from Aberdeen to the Highlands and stayed in Drumnadrochit on Loch Ness. Aside from just loving the weekend to talk with one of my oldest friends, it was a place that I loved immediately. I’m a mountain girl at heart, and if you can combine that with water, well, then I’m nearly giddy with contentment.

As we drove into the Highlands, I kept my eyes out for a crucial creatures, nope, not Nessie (yet), but the gorgeous Highland cow. If M had been able to pull over to the side of the road, I would have jumped a fence and petted one. Instead, I settled for a postcard of one jogging across the plains (think wild horses go Scottish) and a coaster on which to gaze when I drink coffee each morning.

But then, we left Invernness and came alongside this massive body of water . . . Loch Ness. I actually teared up. This place has held a spot in my imagination for years. I’ve watched every “monster” special there is, and somehow the loch carries something mystical in my mind. We stopped, took pictures, and gazed across the water. Then, as we drove along, I just stared across this massive expanse admiring the water but also looking for Nessie. . . You’ll be surprised to know I did not see her (and she is definitely female), but I believe – despite the Loch Ness Centre’s determination to dispell the myth using this method called “science” – that she is alive and well below the surface.

On Saturday, M and I drove out (and I should say, she drove – this whole “left side of the road” thing really baffles me) to Elean Donan castle on the West Coast. We had wanted to go on to the Isle of Skye, but snow (a forecast 11″) made us cautious. The castle was marvelous though. It was destroyed in the Jacobite rebellion but then rebuilt from the original ruin in the early 1900s. Because our tour was small (4 Belgians, 2 Swiss, 2 Americans, and 1 Englishman), we got to climb into secret rooms and peer through medieval peep holes. Very fun.

The drive back was a bit taxing given the snow, but then we hit a lovely pub (if you’re in Drumnadrochit and want whisky (or just good pub fare) do visit Fiddler’s) and I got a bit of my beloved cider. We spent our evening doing exactly what a snowy night anywhere calls for – talking, laughing, and watching the Top 50 UK Dance Crazes (“Thriller” aptly took the title). . . and our B&B was amazing. Glen Rowan Guest House is cozy, warm, centrally-located, and graciously hosted. Our host, Alistair Ferguson, even came to serve us breakfast in his kilt each morning.

On our way back, I enjoyed the glorious scenery and the chat with Melissa. . . our evening was spent perfectly – a coal fire, whisky, Ben & Jerry’s, and a little of my new favorite documentarian Louis Theroux. Lovely evening. . .

Now I head out to the streets of Aberdeen to search for Kinder eggs so that I can spoil the 3-year-old that I’m staying with.

I Love Nessie!