Thursday, September 18, 2014

Scotland continued

So Glencoe was definitely my favorite place and driving to it and around it was amazing. Rolling green hills, blue skies and puffy white clouds with a little misty rain here and there, perfect! On our tour we learned about many battles that were fought and the history of Scotland that I am embarrassed to say I didn't know much about before we left and only remember bits and pieces now. I did get an amazing sense of how wild the highlands was and still is today, how much pride everyone has in their "clan" and namesake. Having barely scratched the surface on my own Scottish background I know I must make another trip here after having done the research to find my own ancestors. It truly is an amazing place and I was startled to see so many blue eyed brunettes here, something I noticed on my first trip to Glasgow last year.

We ate terribly well on this trip, ugh, I usually lose a few pounds when I travel but not so this time, ha ha!

Pizza as good as Italy!!

A very brief visit to the Isle of Skye, definitely next time I want to explore this place more. Same with Inverness and Loch Ness, brief visits but we did learn a lot about the history of the area.

Loch Ness (with creepy ripples in the water everywhere), more food and property searching, hee hee.

Sisters hanging out at an historic battle site, very moving!

St Andrew (there is a castle ruins and church ruins but this area is famous for golfing)

Lovely friends met on our tour, my mom was especially happy to have a fellow coffee/tea buddy. I was hoping we would meet people who would help with my mom in a way that would be effortless and I truly found it in these fantastic ladies.
more to come! You can check out my photos on instagram as well (I'm private but if I know ya, I'll let you in)

Monday, September 15, 2014

Scotland 2014

This year we went to Scotland again, this time I brought the girls along to help with my mom. I have never taken a tour before but I thought it would be a great way for us to get around and see more with less stress for my mom (and myself). Wow, was I right! Not only did it feel luxurious to be whisked around like royalty on a fancy bus, but it was actually a great deal. Most dinners and all breakfasts were included, plus every place we visited or event we attended was included as well. After counting in all that driving around and hotel costs for four, I didn't feel that financial hemorrhage I usually feel on these trips. We aren't big shoppers so most of my spending money goes toward "doing stuff" which was all included in the tour. I was glad we had seen Edinburgh on our trip last year because the tour was light on seeing many of the sights, it did add more commentary and general info though which was awesome. I find when I travel on my own, I often miss out on the history and what I would call "book work" so I might see some amazing things but I rarely learn many of the details. I have had many ups and downs with the self guided tours you rent (like at a museum or historic place) so I often avoid them. On a tour though, as you drive between destinations, your tour guide will prep you for the next place and I really LOVE that!
 here we are heading out of LAX, seems like just yesterday! We love New Zealand airlines.

so here we are our first few days in london, we always spend a few days acclimating to the time zone. our tour started day 4 so we headed up to Glasgow on a Virgin Atlantic train, excellent service and the gorgeous views out the window

 Sheep farm visit

 Stirling Castle

 Stirling Castle

One of our first big adventures was a visit to Stirling Castle, it was amazing. We learned how much of Scotland was shaped by glaciers so there are many of these craggy hills with sharp cliffs on three sides that make it a great place to put a castle. Down the fourth side is usually a "tail" that allows easy passage up to the top.

 Glencoe was my personal favorite place, green green green!!

So much green and blue skies full of white clouds, oh and the purple heather everywhere! we loved our tour guide Gavin, the best!!

A highlight for all of us was a sheepdog demonstration with puppies of all ages running around

Something we would never have experienced without a tour, so grateful!

out and about on another day, Pitlochry, lovely place and i found the john muir museum and a few local artists to check out like Liz Green!
that's it for today, will post more soooon!