Monday, July 11, 2011

Favorites from Scotland!

Hey again, all!
I just thought I should do one more blog post- of my favorite things from Scotland! I realized  my blog posts were written in a rush, so I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything. I'm going to start with my favorite foods.

Like I said in my blog post from Day 3, the food from the restaurant, Number 27 (that's the name I couldn't think of...) was delicious! Here's the dessert we split.
Baily's Cheesecake
All of the food looked really fancy, but it was pretty reasonably priced!

I'd have to say that the restaurant in Portree (Bosville Hotel) had the best "cherry" coke. That's what I ordered anyway- it actually had black currant flavoring in it instead, and it was deliciously light!

The best coffee I had, would have to be from Pam's Coffee shop (from Day 5). Or maybe it was the mocha I had at Queen Ann's Restaurant in Edinburgh Castle...

Queen Ann's Restaurant
Enough about food. Now I'm going to post my favorite photos of my Mom, Tami and Cari. They were so fun to be around, and I'm so grateful that we could go on this trip together! It's kind of weird to think that we've never been on vacation together, especially just a girl-vacation, so I'm glad that we finally had the chance! So, here's my favorite photos of them:
Cari worked on a lot of family researching in Scotland. We were hoping to find a Scottish connection (we saw "Buswell" or "Boswell" a couple of times at a couple castles, but no evidence that we're directly related, or they weren't Scottish). She spent a lot of time and hard work doing the research!

Tami did all the driving (thank goodness!), and she also did most of the planning/organizing. Because of her, we were able to see a lot of castles, pretty mountains, and cities!

Mom (Patty)
 The whole girl-trip was a gift from my mom. She was the one who suggested that we go, and then she let us choose the place! She had back surgery a few months before the trip, so I think the trip was a bit hard on her, pain-wise, but she did really well, and definitely kept up with us! Thank you Mom!

My next favorite would have to be my favorite photo from the whole trip. This is a hard one, because I really love the seagull photo from Day 5, but because it's already posted, I'll leave that one out. Now I know this photo is pretty simple, and it may not mean anything to you, but as soon as I saw this picnic bench on the white pebble beach, I knew I had to take a photo of it. I've been playing with a few different ways to edit this one, but I think I've finally settled.
This bench was near a shop we stopped at, near Armadale Castle. I think I would hang this one on my wall, but it needs a little more work first.

Last but not least, my favorite location from the whole Scotland trip. This is tough too, because the whole trip was amazing, but I'd have to say Inverness was my favorite city. There was so much to look at, and I think it had the best vibe. Our hotel was nice (where else do you get to see a castle as soon as you walk outside?!), and most everything was within walking distance. There were unicorns, very old cemeteries and churches, great restaurants, music, and shopping!
A view from the shopping area

Our hotel, off of River Ness

A church- I forget which one
Well, again, thanks for following my blog! This was an experience that I won't soon forget, and I really want to take Drew there someday! The next time I go, the Isle of Lewis is first on my list. I think I'll have to get over my fear of ferry rides first though...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 8: Shopping and Music

Well, it was our last full day in Scotland today.  The three of us spent the day wandering around Edinburgh, and we got to do some shopping in Princes Mall. I loooooved that mall! Every store I went into had the most amazing clothes! But, all I bought were some knee-high wool socks from H&M across the street. Go figure. Anyway, here's the mall if you want to check it out:

On the way to the mall, there was a man playing the bagpipes on the street. It was beautiful!! We watched him for a while before we went into the mall. 
We ate lunch at a place called The Slug and Lettuce. The food was really good! Though I was still full from dinner the night before. I've had a ton of good food here! I think my favorite was at the restaurant (I think it was called 27 or something like that...) in Inverness.
This afternoon we took a rest. We've done so much walking this whole trip, that my joints actually hurt! I might be getting old. So I did some reading (still reading Water for Elephants), and the resting time was much appreciated!
Walking about after resting, we stumbled across more kilts. :) They even played a little ACDC. 

We then decided to go out for dinner at one of the local pubs. One thing that I've really wanted to do here is go to a pub that has live Scottish music and dancing, so I could get some good photographs. We did see a place in Inverness, where there was music and people were packed all the way to the doorway. They had their arms around one another, singing and swaying to the music. But we hadn't the time to stop at that point.
Tonight we heard some lively music at the first pub we tried (Fiddlers Arms), but no one was dancing. So we decided to move along and get coffee at another place, called The White Hart Inn. A Scottish singer called Mac Polvo was there singing and playing guitar. That was really fun to listen to! He had a great voice, and a very obvious Scottish accent. No one was dancing around though, so I kind of missed out on that experience.

But on our way home, we ran across a few street performers. Yay, more kilts! But those photos are on my other memory card, and it's 11:00pm. We have to leave the hotel at 6:00am to take a cab to the airport. Then it's off to Newark again!

Ok, here's one more. He was singing a song about how you can't throw your granny off a bus. :)

Bed time for me- hope you've enjoyed my blog! When I get home, I'll try to go through and make sure I didn't leave out any important details. But until then,


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 7: Wandering Around Edinburgh

Today was a fun, but tiring day! Tami left to go home early this morning, and we had to switch hotels later in the morning (Bon Jovi is in town, and our hotel filled up before we could book our last two nights).

After breakfast, Cari took off to do some family tree research, and Mom and I went for a walk. We went into a Salvation Army, did some shopping in some vintage/consignment stores, and then met back at our hotel to grab our stuff.

Then we took a taxi over to our new hotel. It's nice! And it's right across the street from the Edinburgh Playhouse. We saw a musical tonight! It was Jekyll and Hyde. Very well done!!

 Afterward, we went to a small restaurant and had dessert. We were still too full from lunch to eat a real meal. There was a waiter there who sat down and talked to us for a while. He was fun to listen to! He said he knew we were Americans because we just ordered water to drink- I guess they call water "American Champagne" because we order that all the time.

I didn't take many photos today, even though it was a beautiful day. My mom and I did a lot of shopping, so there wasn't much to take photos of. I did buy a cool sweater at one of the vintage shops though. I'm excited to wear it! 

Tomorrow is our last full day in Scotland. I'm sad that we'll be leaving after tomorrow, because it's so beautiful here, but I'm also really anxious to be home again with Drew (though I'm definitely not excited to go back to work after almost 2 weeks off..). I think I did really well money-wise (I really didn't buy too many souvenirs), and I took around 1000 photos. I think this was a great experience, and I definitely want to come back to Scotland someday! 
I'll do one final update tomorrow, and then I'll be back home! I'll try really hard to take more photos tomorrow.
One of the roads we went walked up, and shopped

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 6: Rainy Castle Day

I can't believe we're already ending day number six.  Edinburgh is crazy! I'm so glad that Tami did all the driving. I don't know how well I would have done driving in this busy city. Today we went to two castles: Stirling Castle and Edinburgh Castle. And we got soaking wet! But the castles were fun. Here's Stirling Castle- the first castle we went to.

There were unicorns all over Stirling Castle! I guess they really believed in unicorns back then. Kinda cool!
 Then we went over to the Edinburgh Castle. It's actually not too far from our hotel, though we can't see it from here (unlike in Inverness, where we could see that castle from right outside our door). By the time we got to Edinburgh Castle, it was raining pretty good. I was so glad to have my rain boots and raincoat! Cari and I definitely did some puddle-splashing.

When we got to the Edinburgh Castle, we were hungry, so we went to Queen Ann's Restaurant in the castle. It was fun, and we all got coffee again to warm up. Tami got a macchiato, and it was really cute!

We stayed in the restaurant for a while, but the rain never let up so we just decided to deal with it and tour the castle. We got to see the crown jewels (not replicas!), and some other pretty stuff. The view of Edinburgh was gorgeous, with the foggy rain, and all of the city in the background.  The castle is up really high on a rock cliff, overlooking the city.

After all the walking around in the rain, we decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel. We pretty much spent all day at castles. We did stop at a store real quick for emergency M&M's. I bought an Elle magazine- it came with a free tank top! Or as they call them here, a vest.

Tomorrow, Cari is going to the Scottish Genealogy Society Library to see if she can find any family history relating to Buswell's. Mom and I will wander about, to see if we can find some cool shops. I want to look through some vintage shops! And hopefully it won't be pouring rain again..

That's all for today!

Day 5: Onward to Edinburgh!

We did some shopping today, before we left Inverness. I found an H&M! Though all I bought there was a pair of sunglasses for £3. But then we went into a store called Primark, and we all found a bunch of cute stuff for really good prices! I (of course) bought a dress. I can't wait to wear it! Here are a few last looks at Inverness before we left.

 On our way through a small town (Kingussie), we stopped at Pam's Coffee Shop for lunch. It was cute! I had one of their more popular toasted sandwiches- bacon and banana. Though bacon here is more like ham- it's not crispy like we make it. This is the minty mocha I had here. Mmmm...

We sat next to an ambulance driver, and talked to him for a while. I loooove the accents here, especially in the highlands! 
Anyway, we made a slight detour to drive by Blair Castle, but you had to pay to get in, so I just took some photos from the car window. 

Then we made it to Edinburgh in the early evening. This city is BEAUTFUL. I love it so much! Surprisingly (to me at least), the Scottish accents aren't so strong here. I miss the rolling R's and not being able to understand half of what people are saying.
Edinburgh, a couple blocks from our hotel.

It's supposed to be rainy and cooler tomorrow, but I say "it's about time". We've had the best weather so far! The last couple of days have been in the 60's, and sunny. The only day we've been rained on was the day we got locked in the castle grounds. We were dripping wet!! My poor camera...

Ok, well, off to bed! We explore 2 castles tomorrow, and I'm crossing my fingers for good weather.


Monday, June 20, 2011

Day 4: The Tragedy of Culloden Field

We drove up to Culloden Field today. A historic battle took place here, and it was kind of hard for me to actually see the place that I've been reading about in my favorite books (Diana Gabaldon books!). I'm going to site Wikipedia here; "The Battle of Culloden was the final confrontation of the 1745 Jacobite rising. Taking place on 16 April 1746, the battle pitted the Jacobite  forces of Charles Edward Stewart against an army commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, loyal to the British government. The Jacobite cause to overthrow the reigning House of Hanover and restore the House of Stewart to the British throne was dealt a decisive defeat at Culloden; Charles Stuart never mounted any further attempts to challenge Hanoverian power in Britain. The conflict was the last pitched battle fought on British soil, occurring near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands."

In about 3 minutes, 700 Jacobite men were killed by government soldiers. The battle lasted under an hour. In that time, 1500 Jacobites were slaughtered; only 50 government men died.

The clansmen who were killed were buried in the field, in mass graves. A large cairn stands on the site, in memory of these brave men. Here are some of the gravestones, representing the different clans.
Clan Mackintosh
Mixed Clans, still at Culloden Field

After visiting Culloden, we went to go see Clava Cairns- a prehistoric cemetery. It was awesome! There are some more photos of this on my Facebook page if you want to see them.
Clava Cairns

This day was really fun and interesting because of all the history represented. It's so exciting for me to see historical places that are so old, and that I've been reading about for so long. I can't believe I'm here!!
Tomorrow we're off to Edinburgh. We might stop at Blair Castle on the way. We'll see!

Day 3: Finally saw a man wearing a kilt

Today we left the Isle of Skye, but on our way out we stopped at Armadale to see another castle. This castle (Armadale Castle) was actually in ruins, but the grounds were beautiful! And they had peacocks.

After that, we drove past Eilene Donan Castle again, but we didn’t stop this time. Instead we continued on towards Inverness. We drove up the length of Loch Ness, where we stopped at Urquhart Castle. That was also in ruins, but we were able to climb around in it. It was pretty rainy, but it was still fun. 

Loch Ness in the background!

We arrived in Inverness after most of the shops were closed (I found an H&M!!!), so we’ll do some shopping tomorrow (Sunday). Oh, and when I was looking out our hotel’s front door, a man walked by in a kilt. I may or may not have giggled. 

We also ate at this really amazing restaurant, and our food was really pretty too! I had medallian pork with mashed tatties, and we split a piece of Baily’s cheesecake. Mmm.

Anyway, here’s our hotel! It’s right off of River Ness, and it overlooks Inverness Castle. We’ll be visiting that, and also Culloden tomorrow. Can’t wait!

Inverness Castle- now a courthouse

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day Two: Locked in a Castle

Hello again!
Today was a very fun day! We went from our hotel in Broadford (Skye), and drove up to Uig (like ooo-wig). That was a beautiful town! While there, we trekked up to a place called Faerie Glen. That place was gorgeous! And full of sheep. We did a lot of hiking around Faerie Glen.

Then we headed over to Dunvegan Castle. It was so pretty, and we got to tour the inside of it, and also the castle gardens.

But, I guess we should have paid more attention to the hours of the castle grounds. We had so much fun in the gardens (in the pouring rain, mind you), and we took so many photos, that we completely lost track of time. And this is what happens when you're not out when they close the castle gates...

But don't worry. To the right, after crawling through some dense trees, we were able to haul Mom over a stone wall, and get ourselves back to our car. We'll definitely pay more attention to the hours of the castles we visit from now on.

We also visited a really old graveyard, and Portree, but it's time for bed. Those photos will just have to wait.

Good night!