Sunday, October 20, 2013

Scotland - Edinburgh - Our Last Day - April 2012

John and Pauline picked us up for a coffee and a lovely visit.  Pauline hasn't changed at all. It worked out great as the coffee shop was right near the castle so we headed over.  A stop at St John's Cathedral, the art museum, a listen to the Clandonia - pipes and drums and then a walk through Princes gardens.  It was such a beautiful day that we just grabbed some fries and a sandwich and sat on the garden wall along with a bunch of scots and tourists lapping up the sun. Next stop was a walk up to the castle, a stop in a few shops and then back to the hotel for a rest.   Dinner was once again at Whiski, fish and chips, a much earlier night than Saturday as the band wasn't half so good.  We did try and talk ourselves into going up to see Roadhouse again who were just up the road, surprisingly we took e low road back to the hotel. Bags are packed and we are now sitting on a train back to Glasgow.   Ps on Edinburgh. I was totally surprised how many of the shops and our hotel were operated by European immigrants. Every shop other than the high priced kilt stores were all run by east Europeans.

My first glass of prosecco, a new favourite.

Scotland - Edinburgh - Our first pub crawl

Our first pub crawl on the Royal Mile started at a place called WHISKI.  It was absolutely jammed and we were told it would be forty minutes.  Siobhan told us to wait by the door as the bar was jammed. There happened to be a table right by the door with one chair and she said Deni could sit there.  The next thing a man popped over with a chair from his table.  And then Siobhan came with menus.  I was worried about the ten people in front of us waiting.  No worries she said. A glass of wine and a big plate of haggis, neeps and mash and the night was shaping up pretty good.  The next thing we knew Siobhan was moving us to a table away from the door as the two man band ROADHOUSE was setting up.   There were eight Norwegian golfers sitting across from us.  They say the scots are dour, we have nothing on the Norwegians.  Around eleven a bunch of female Norwegians came in. All I can say is exact opposite of the men.  Lol.  There wasn't a song the band played that we couldn't sing too and Deni played a pretty mean air piano or drum.  So for the next  3 hours we sang Rod Stewart, Beatles and a ton of CCR.  Our first pub crawl started at Whiski and ended at Whiski....... Lol

Friday, October 18, 2013

Scotland - Firth of Forth and South Queensferry, April 2012

Bus tour from Edinburgh to south Queensferry where we got on a little boat to take us on wonderful tour of the Firth of Forth. Firth actually comes from the Scandinavian word fjord meaning mouth or estuary of the river which was formed by a glacier.  Opened in 1890 and spanning over 8000 feet it was the largest cantilever bridge in the world.  It moved to second spot in 1917. 63 men lost their lives there.   

We stopped but didn't disembark at Ichcolm island where there was a little old abbey. The army also used to store munitions during the second world war here.  It is now a popular wedding destination, and just happened to be one today, lots of kilts. North sea oil has a pipeline to the coast where freighters come for their oil.   They invented a new paint for it which is called forth bridge red and lasts twenty years.  

We saw seals/silkies on buoys and mini puffins on the islands not to mention hundreds of seagulls. After the boat we decided to head to the town for lunch.  The recommendation was to go to the Boathouse for lunch.  We walked downstairs in this old building with modern style and there was a gigantic picture window with an unbelievable view of the bridge.  They had painted the walls white with a wooden frame so the bridge was the centre of everything. And to top it off the food was fantastic. I had a broccoli soup with bruschetta and Deni had a seafood salad with oyster mussels, salmon, freshwater shrimp and pickled herring When we left the restaurant all these men were walking towards us with either kilts on our tartan pants and the girls were dressed beautifully.  So needless to say I had to ask and they had been at a wedding out at the old abbey and were heading to the reception.  They looked so beautiful. 

 The town itself is a definite must visit on the way to st Andrews  next year. Cobbled streets very narrow roads, right on the firth with great views of the bridge.  

Edinburgh - planning the day - April 21, 2012

The holiday inn express is a wonderful clean little hotel that looks like ikea might have decorated it.  Everything you could need is right here.  Coffee and tea is right in the room.  A lovely breakfast is included, which we made a good hole in this morning.  And perfect location a 2 minute walk to the royal mile.  I gather the road we are on -Cowgate is known more for its little alley like pubs which get quite busy at night.  Which is good for us as they all have security who do a great job with directions.   

Today we are off on either a bus tour of the inner city or a bus ride out to the Forth with a boat ride showing us the coast and bridges.  Not sure which one yet, it will depend on the weather.   Have a great day

 Cheerios Xoxoxoxo Big hugs for my cats please

Penicuik and Edinburgh, lots of travelling - April 20

Walk, taxi, train, walk, another train, a bus ride and we were at our destination, Penicuik, the home of grandma Carlson's family.  We had a lovely visit with Sandy and Irene Purvis.  They are both in their eighties and Irene is living in the house she was born in.  Sandy took us for a walk to see the Kirk where Jim's grandparents were married - St Mungos which was originally built in 1648 and then rebuilt in 1770 (note the English had nothing to do with it being rebuilt). It was rebuilt because the population kept growing and services are still being held there today.

FYI St Mungo is the patron saint of Glasgow.

Another bus ride and we were back at Edinburgh, just as the city was starting to get exciting. There are people everywhere, popping in from one bar to the next. We had a great Italian meal on the corner of North Bridge and the Royal mile and then headed back to a wonderful Holiday Inn Express right in the heart of the royal mile.  An early night to get ready for some major sightseeing tomorrow

Ttfn Lynne 

Getting ready to head to the east coast - April 19/20, 2012

At 8 pm we popped down to the marine bar for our usual sheppards pie (3rd night in a roll) .  Delish.  Before we even ordered our first wine. I hear my name called. Is that Lynne from Canada and standing there looking as good as ever with a wee bit less hair was John Wright.  Just looking at him brought back a lot of memories of my dad, uncle Fred, needless to say his father John and also my brother Jim.  For the next two hours we had a good gab about family with lots of fun stories.  He has three children, John (surprise), Andrew and Linzi.  John is married with 2 children .  His son Andrew is working in Florida training and riding dressage horses.  It was a visit filled with memories of childhood and family. Thanks John and Linzi for popping in and hopefully we'll see Pauline on Saturday in Edinburgh.

Deni ordered us a wake up call for 7:30. She is CRUEL.  The phone rings and up Deni gets. I stayed in bed for another hour as I packed the night before. :)

Down for another great brekkie.  I then went for a quick walk to the beach for a little yak with my mom and dad.  I started off singing "always on my mind" and realized i only knew the chorus.  Last stop in Troon was to get a big hug from Ina.  

Next stop Edinburgh to see Sandy and Irene  and where grandma's family  came from - Penicuik

Arran - April 19, 2012


I love Scottish breakfasts. Once again we almost missed it, I popped out of bed to check the time thinking It was around 7 and oops it was 9:10. Quickly wake up Deni who would probably have missed lunch as well. She was sound. Lol. Oh to sleep like that. A lot like sleeping with Jim only Deni smells better. (Jk)

Next stop was boots for some super strong blister fixer uppers and then on to the train to Killwinnig. A quick switch of trains and we were on our way to Ardrossan where we catch the ferry ride to Arran. The sun is out and shining on Arran. It is about an hour boat ride with lovely calm seas.

Must be lunch time. There is a beautiful little restaurant called Arran on a Plate with the only master chef in Britain. Deni had a mussel soup and hot and cold smoked salmon salad while I had a haggis and apple salad on abed of warmed arugula and an Arran beer. Absolutely divine.

Deni's feet were pretty bad so she opted to shop and sit by the sea whilst I went for a long walk along the beach. It was a windy walk as there was also a windy tidal river with all these little bridges that cut through the Brodrick golf course before taking you back to the forth

On the way back I discovered the Arran chocolate shop. Yum.

As we were leaving we found a couple of seats at the back of the boat. This huge cloud came in from the north and slowly started to cover the north end of the island whilst at the same time the sun popped out and covered us in sunshine. We were so warm we had to take off our coats. Then to make it even more beautiful the sun rays shone through the stormy north coast and was just magical looking

A wonderful day

Prestwick and Ayr - April 18, 2012

The room is so wonderfully dark we almost slept through our first wonderful Scottish breakfast. Scrammies, vege sausages, baked tomatoes. Yum. Deni had the same with Ayrshire bacon. Then we planned our day. Off to get a car.

A fifteen minute walk to the train, which we just missed but no problem they come every half hour. 2 pounds for a ticket to Prestwick Airport. I go to one car place. Deni goes to the other. WOW. 100 plus pounds to rent a car for the day. It would have cost us less than 50 if we rented it online in Canada. NOTE TO SELF. Next year rent from Canada

Being ever so versatile, plans changed and off to Prestwick we went using our dead sexy feet. We ask one of the unbelievably friendly scots for directions and after a wee talk with lots of arm pointing and being told. Ach no you can walk, it is only about fifteen minutes down the road.

Thirty minutes later we land in the picturesque little seaside resort of Prestwick. As we are walking down the road we notice a pub called "The 19th Hole". Could we ask for a better place to wet our whistle after our long walk. So in we go. Looking out their front window lo and behold is the home of the first British open. Prestwick the old course. A quick walk over to the clubhouse, which was stunning.

From there we hit the coast again, tide was going out.

Next stop Ayr. Off we head for the train. Just as we approach the station the train pulls in. Oh no we have to run (probably more of a very light jog). Just as we get there the doors close. I look at the doors. I look down the train. I look up the train. Dang we are snookered and I her this voice. "push the open door button" you idjit. Sure enough on the door is a green button saying "open door". We quickly jump on laughing our bleeding heads off realizing we haven't paid. Oh well it is only one stop the conductor probably won't catch us so we stand by the door to do a quick dash off. Ayr comes up and off we get with the rest of the train as this was the last stop. We look ahead and realize you need a ticket to get off. Sheepishly we approach the security. No problem she will sell us a ticket and give us directions to the seaside . Another NOTE TO SELF it is much cheaper to buy a return ticket. The ticket was only 3 pound 20 there and back and we could have hopped off and on compared to the 2 pounds just to go one stop.

Ayr is quite a bit larger than Troon and Prestwick and very busy. As it is now lunch hour we look for a pub and lo and behold they are everywhere. So we pop into a very traditional looking pub, lots of dark wood, large bar and plop down into a window seat. The locals look at us, the bar tender looks at us we smile and then nothing. So up I pop and ask for a menu of which I get a definite look of "hello are you an idjit". Sorry lass this is a BOOZERS only no food just drink. Well this time we needed more than a pint so off we head.

Looking for a friendly face, they're everywhere I zero in on a nice looking couple and after a wee chat they send us off to their favorite pub Willy Wassle, named after Robbie burns best friend.

On the way to the pub Deni spots a coat sale and five minutes later we are walking out with her purchases. For a change I showed some restraint lol. It probably won't happen again.

We finally find a pub and order our lunch fish and chips for me and a beef strip chili for Deni. Delish and it was 2 for 1 day. Well we were eating a car pulls up pops a large keg of Guinness out of his trunk and brings in into the pub. The bartender being a large portly guy lifts the carpet in front of the door, next goes two pieces of wood and a piece if support wood, lifts up the keg and drops it into the basement, by this time Deni and I have our hands over our heads expecting to be covered in the lovely frothy Guinness. Nope nothing happens other than it boinging around on the cement floor.

Now we head down to the coast again, another beautiful coast with lots of entertainment for the little ones. By now our feet are a little bit sore so off we head hoping we can get a bus to the train. We see a bus and ask the driver if he goes near the train station of which we get another look. It's only five minutes up the road, a wee turn here through the lights over the bridge and off we go. Twenty minutes later we arrive at the train station. We dash again hop on the bus and head back to troon.

Back in our rooms Deni takes off her shoes and oh my two gigantic enormous blisters.

No walk on the beach tonight but a nice swim is perfect. The pool was wonderful.

Dinner was a repeat of the night before and just as delish. We discovered Skype and made a few phone calls, I talked to answering machines, Deni talked to John and Jackie. And off we went to bed. A great day

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Off to see Ina - April 17, 2012

The Day is shaping up to be absolutely beautiful. Sun is shinning, puffy clouds blowing by as there is still quite the gale blowing. We had a small walk along the coast when we first arrived it's as beautiful as I remember. The tide was going out so you could walk out over the reefs and rocks

A wee rest was needed before we headed over to Ina's.  We jumped in a cab and off we went. She was so excited to see me, that yes we both had tears in our eyes. And then off to Scott's for a lovely lunch. Aunt Deni had the Shetland mussels, with Thai coconut curry sauce to see if they were as good as PEIs. And yes they were smashing. She almost needed a bath after digging into them. Lol

Ina was in great form. I think they could write a book about Ina sayings. Her highlight yesterday was when Aunt Deni ordered the mussels. Her face screwed up and she said do you eat oysters too. They look like you are sucking in a big snoter (boger). And then she starts showing how people eat them. We were just rolling on the floor.

When we took her home she was pretty tired and I am sure would have been having a little nap before I was back in the cab.

As were Deni and I. A nice hour to get us prepared for our next meal. A lovely long walk along the coast and over the golf course, back to the room for a wee dram and then down to the bar for dinner. I had a cottage pie which was similar to a meat pie and Deni had a chorizo sausage risotto

Off to bed in the Carnoustie room, a read and a good nights sleep.

An adjective to describe Aunt Deni. Just like grandma. When she sleeps. Boy does she sleep. And she has the cutest little change purse to carry her change in.

A wee lassie has landed - Troon - April 17, 2012

Air transat was great. Can't believe how quick it went. There were a crazy number of babies and young children on the plane. Happy feet II came on and all but one quieted down.

The stats kept coming up on the tv. At one point we were as high as 30000 feet and it was -63f outside.

We are now having a cup of tea watching the waves crash on the coast.

Getting ready to pick up Ina for lunch at one at my dads favorite restaurant -Scott's