A Scottish Holiday: St. Andrews

I don’t golf. Nor do I get the appeal of it. BUT, Thomas, the littlest/biggest of my brothers-in-law is a golfer. Actually, he’s a really good golfer… and pianist and drummer and video gamer and tae kwon do-er. Yeah, I married into a family of guys that are good at  e v e r y t h i n g. Anyway, so, back to Thomas. Since we’re living in the motherland of this crazy “sport” Will and I wanted to take Thomas up to St. Andrews. While the boys went on their 50 hour tour of the Old Course I walked around and helped myself to the cuteness that is St. Andrews. 

One of the cooler parts of St. Andrews was the castle. Apparently, some people seized the castle and started building an underground tunnel and the tunnel is still there! I thought it was really neat.

When the boys were finished with their tour we met up for a quick bite to eat and then headed back out so Will could check out the city a bit. Thomas and I went to some shops instead and then made our way back to the bridge to get some pictures by it – Jackie-style!

Yeah, those are my shoes… flying through the air… landing in the water. Welcome to my life.

I really enjoyed St. Andrews. I loved the college-town feel with the old scottish charm. Good times!

Advertisements

A Scottish Holiday: Glencoe

A few weekends ago Will and I had ourselves a little weekend away. I had been wanting to check out Glencoe and so when a LivingSocial deal came for a hotel in Glencoe I jumped on it. We hadn’t been anywhere in a while so it was nice to have a change of scenery.

At one point while driving through the National Park we came to a bend in the road (well, in Scotland there’s always a bend in the road) and it seriously looked like we were driving towards Heaven. Will and I both gasped when we came up to it.

Once we got to the hotel we dropped our bags off in our room (that had a king-sized bed!!) and walked out to the Loch and watched the sun start to set behind the munros.

Afterwards we walked back to the hotel for some drinks and dinner.

Saturday was our day to do whatever we wanted. We both love to sit and lounge but also appreciate exploring and seeing what’s out there. We also enjoy driving around, and if we’re honest, we’ve missed driving. There were so many things we wanted to do so we started with the most important two: breakfast and reading.

Afterwards we got in the car, stopped by the shop to pick up lunch stuff and then drove out. We found a small road that would take us into the middle of the national park so we took that for a bit. I’m pretty sure Will and I said “Wow!” fifty gazillion times through out that drive.

The loch (aka: lake) we reached was so serene. We were surrounded by a stillness only nature can provide. It was precious and overwhelming all at the same time. We thought we could easily climb up one of the hills to get a better view of the whole area but soon realized were were walking up a rocky bog. Yeah, we turned around.

Aren’t we cute!?!

We drove back to find a spot to have a picnic. We had looked up the Three Sisters and The Lost Valley earlier in the morning and thought that would be a perfect little walk. We quickly realized it’s not something to tackle any later than mid morning. Unfortunately for us it was well into the day so we couldn’t do the whole thing but it definitely left us wanting to go back!

It was absolutely gorgeous! That night we ate dinner and watched tv while sipping on some complimentary wine the hotel provided.

The next day we woke up, had breakfast, read a bit, then made our way back home.

It was an absolutely wonderful weekend! We got rest, explored a new place, laughed a ton, spent intentional time with each other. It was so important for us to have that time because shortly after that we hit the grinding stone. Will is now less than two weeks from his board review and I’ve started a big project so things have been a bit stressful. We would love to go back to Glencoe and explore more!

Post-Holywood

After our breakfast at Holywood we walked up Arthur’s Seat.

This is looking north to Ocean Terminal and the Firth of Forth.

Here’s looking south to the Pentlands.

I loved the sky that day.

After Arthur’s Seat we walked back up the Royal Mile to find a cafe to sit at for a bit.

We figured since Lauryn’s a Harry Potter fan we should probably go to the Elephant House. I do love this cafe. Despite being a tourist hot spot it really is a cool place to go. The food is pretty good and it has an amazing view of the castle.

After we walked back to the Royal Mile to get a couple of souvenirs for the Galloways to bring back home.

Then we started the walk home.

Oh, and I got a welly shot of mine and Lauryn’s Hunter boots!

We’re so artsy and cute.
After being at home for a bit we headed back out to join some friends to do a Ghost Tour; which was freaky. Will didn’t think it was very scary but I was in suspense the whole time. We walked underground into some vaults and the whole time I kept thinking of all the different nooks and corners someone could hide a body and no one would know. And it was cold and dark and echoed. Yes, I scare easily.
After the tour we went to the Bow Bar, one of Will’s favorite pubs.

Photo from Lauryn

The next morning Jared and Lauryn headed off to the airport to go home.  Will and I had so much fun with them. They’re so easy to hang out with and absolutely wonderful people. We loved sharing our home and our city with them. Five days was not enough. Not. Enough.

A Scottish Holiday: Stirling

As I had mentioned before, Jared and Lauryn Galloway were here. They came all the way from good ‘ole RVA to hang out with us! We loved it! Seriously, it was great to spend time with them.
Jared and Lauryn arrived here on a Friday morning (booooooo flight delays) and we spent the weekend getting over jet lag… it’s not easy crossing the Atlantic; but they’re absolute troopers. Friday’s task was walking around the city, Saturday the Galloways went to Glasgow to see some of Jared’s family and we did a pub crawl when they got back, and Sunday was more Edinburgh. Then, on Monday we went to Stirling. Will and I had heard that the Stirling Castle was comparable to Edinburgh Castle so we thought we’d check that out.

I really love the colors of the front doors here.

I love seeing the flags at the entrances of castles. It makes me wonder what a visitor of the castle during medieval time must have thought when entering the castle.

The exterior of the Great Hall was plastered in a limewash called “King’s Gold.” It has this golden hue to it that really brightens up when the sun hits it.

Apparently Spring has sprung in this one spot only… no where else.

Lauryn doin’ her thang!

We stopped in the castle’s cafe to thaw ourselves out before heading back towards the train station.

I’m learning that America has very few original names… case in point. I’m pretty sure this one came first.

I love train rides!

I also love it when people take my camera!

And there you have our trip to Stirling with the Galloways!

A Scottish Holiday: Linlithgow

A couple of weekends ago Will and I went to Linlithgow with some friends. There’s a palace there and it was a great excuse to get out of Edinburgh. The sun also joined us!

Will and I used our Historic Scotland passes to get in and were blown away at the structure. I hadn’t even been inside Edinburgh’s castle yet so this was my first time inside of one. The stories that could be said about all that went on and work that went into not just building the place but also heating it overwhelmed me a bit. It’s a lot to take in when you walk into a building that’s older than your own country.

I’ll give you 10 tries to guess what they’re talking about… and the 1st nine don’t count.

I couldn’t believe how sunny and clear it was. We could see for miles!

We attempted to take some pictures and then headed out to the gardens for some lunch and to feed the birds.

Photo courtesy of Aubree and Luke

I think the boys texted each other in the morning to make sure they would all be wearing the same color scheme…

Afterwards we parked ourselves in a nearby cafe to warm up, fill bellies, empty bladders, and recharge. Then we headed back to the train station.

It was such a nice trip. Good to get out of the city. Good to hang out with friends. And especially good to see the sun. Oh how I missed the sun.

Leith

Will and I have used up most of our Saturdays going to the charity shops. We have a ton of things we’re looking for (i.e. large armchair, writing desk, end tables, spice rack, picture frames, etc.) and know that Leith is a goldmine of Charity shops.

Oh, yeah, and we bought a pumpkin and carved it with some friends in Bruntsfield!

And while we were in Bruntsfield we had to stop by Falko, of course!

A Scottish Holiday: A Bothie and A Bath

After climbing Ben Nevis we had our 1st bothie experience. We had a short 30 minute hike… yes, because hiking for 7 hours wasn’t enough… but it was worth it. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the hike because, well, I was too tired.

Yep, we started up a fire and sat by it while drinking more whisky (this trip may, or may not, have turned me into a proper Scot) and taking in what we had all accomplished mere hours ago. And then we slept.

The next day included relaxing and heading out to our second and final bothie of the trip: Glenfeshie. This bothie was absolutely beautiful and serene and perfect and everything you’d want in a bothie! Now, Gilly said it was a 45-60 minute hike and in “Gilly terms” that means it took us two hours! He claims that’s how long it took last time he went but seeing as he’s a robot it means he probably ran the whole way. So, two hours later we arrived, set up camp, cooked up way too many lentils, crashed, and then woke up to Scottish bliss!

And of course there was a stream where we got our water. Yes, we drank water form the highlands… seriously, I’m a Scot now!

After breakfast we headed out back to the car.

Once we we arrived at the car we changed packed up the car and were on our way home. But then we came to a bridge over a river that looked too tempting for Will and Gilly to pass by. So, they jumped in.

And then jumped right out.

Needless to say that highland streams are cold streams… but that didn’t stop them from going in again.

So, that was our Scottish holiday! I can’t wait for the next one!

A Scottish Holiday: Iona

Before we headed back to RVA Will, Gilly, and I set out to explore some of Scotland’s countryside. We packed ourselves into Gilly’s car to head northwest to Oban where we camped out on a friend’s brother’s front lawn. Our first morning we headed out to the ferry to get to Mull, to then take a bus to another ferry to then get us to our final destination… Iona! 

Three hours later we landed on Iona soil… and so had the rain. We ducked into every little shop we could until the rain finally let up and eventually stopped; allowing us to dry off some and really explore!

I couldn’t believe Scotland had white sands and clear blue water! So, we did a photo shoot to document our disbelief.

Yes, I know, we’re pretty cool.
And yes, I did get bangs (aka: fringe) the day before camping… hindsight is 20/20.
So, after documenting our awesomeness we headed back to the ferry. But, it was on this hike back is where Gilly proved himself useful to have around. Now, I’m loving living in a country where there are sheep everywhere. And by “everywhere” I mean,  E V E R Y W H E R E !!!! And I absolutely love it! Unfortunately Will and Gilly don’t share in this love, especially when I yell out “sheep!” every time I see one: every time. So, Gilly, in all his sheep-prowness literally snapped a baby lamb up so I could hold it!! Yes, I held a baby lamb! Check that one off of the bucket list!

Yes, it really happened! And now whenever I see a sheep or lamb I just sigh and reminisce <sigh>

The rest of the day was spent headed back to Oban, making dinner, and sleeping. It had been a long day but the next day was going to be longer… 5,000ft and 7hrs longer…