Many, many months later… I am finally sitting down to blog our amazing experience traveling through Scotland and England. We had such an amazing time, and I am still in awe of the history we experienced while over there. Our trip was planned for August 21-30. Originally, we were planning another trip to the Yucatan to make further plans for our future move on to the mission field, but in June, it seemed we were be led elsewhere, and that elsewhere was Scotland. It had been brought to the husband’s attention of the need for minister’s in Christian churches through out the UK, so we decided we would check it out! Since we were already going, might as well as explore through England too while we had the chance!
All of our luggage for our 9 day adventure!
My in laws kept our boys for the first two days before my dad and stepmom came into town to spend the remaining week with the boys. We got the boys settled, and a friend dropped us- and all of our luggage- at the airport. The first leg of our journey was a flight to Frankfurt, Germany. We were tired upon arrival, as our bodies were screaming, “It is night!”, but the lovely Frankfurt airport said it was definitely close to noon. We made it through the maze to get through security, and then get to the right area for our connecting flight to Aberdeen.
Eating lunch in the Frankfurt airport! Experienced true frankfurters in Frankfurt!
We arrived in Aberdeen, and picked up our rental car to be ready to get on the road at 5:30pm. One thing we would not do again is a rent a car. The general consensus was just use trains, but I couldn’t wrap my mind around using just trains with all our luggage and our fairly busy schedule. The car was wonderful to have though. Getting out of Aberdeen was an adventure! Driving on the “wrong” side of the road and all the round a bouts! And traffic! We made it out of Aberdeen alive… hee hee hee… and were on our way to Cullen, Morayshire, Scotland, which was approximately 90 minutes from the airport.
Beautiful countryside as we drove to our B&B!
One major difference between US and Scotland on day one is there was no where to stop for food! We were ravenous at this point, and luckily our friends in Morayshire had given us a name of a fish and chips place near our B&B that should be open. After getting checked in and luggage unloaded into our room, we grabbed our first meal in Scotland. Our room at our B&B was on the bottom level, and we had a “private” bathroom, which meant we had to walk outside our door, but the bathroom was just ours. A delicious, Scottish breakfast was served every morning which was absolutely delicious! We enjoyed out stay at The Elms.
The outside of our B&B, The Elms, where we stayed the first four nights of our trip.
And that is the end of August 21-22, 2013…. On August 23, we had plans to meet with friends of ours that evening, but for the day, we decided to explore. We were staying in Cullen, which was an absolutely beautiful city. We started by checking out the Cullen bay.
The beauty of the Cullen Bay!
From there we just drove a bit down the road and found what seemed like a stop worthy opportunity to explore the view. It was near Port Knockie, I believe, where we stopped and enjoyed the breath taking views. I, unfortunately, was still recovering from my first ever time having pneumonia (how wicked it was!) so I was taking it easy on my adventures. Christopher enjoyed climbing all the way down to the coast, where I stayed and ventured higher. The views were amazing! The grass was incredibly soft, not like our grass. The temperature was in the 60’s… in August! Which felt splendid after coming from hot and humid Houston! We ventured into Buckie to explore and for lunch. While eating, we decided we would be spontaneous and go to Inverness and explore Loch Ness and the Urquhart Castle, which was approximately a 90 minute drive. Urquhart Castle over looks the Loch Ness, which is the home of “Nessie” depending if you believe the tale. We have been asked often, but no, we did not see Nessie! The castle was wonderful to walk through and experience the history and the views of Loch Ness were breath taking.
Our view of Loch Ness as we drove to the castle. Breathtaking! The beauty!
Welcome to the Castle! Squeal! I was so looking forward to exploring this castle!
The view as we made the trek to the castle.
Pictures from the castle. The history leaves me speechless.
The view of Loch Ness from the castle. As you can see, no spottings of Nessie.
We quickly got back to town that evening, just in time to participate in a church gathering with our friends. It was nice to meet up, meet some of their friends and church members. We hadn’t seen our friends since they sang in our wedding over 8 years earlier! The end of August 23, 2013! Our Saturday was spent with our friends taking us all around the area, showing us the sites. Our first stop was the Elgin Cathedral. Elgin Cathedral dates back to the 13th century! Elgin Cathedral has a rich history – it was badly fire damaged in 1390 following an attack by Robert III’s brother Alexander Stewart, Earl of Buchan.
At the entrance of the cathedral.
The view upon entering.
The view from the tower. I did climb it partly, despite my coughing state.
Tombs at the Cathedral.
The architecture was absolutely gorgeous.
For lunch, we ate at Baxter’s. (http://www.baxters.com/) I decided to try the lentil soup, which I usually do not like. The lentil soup was absolutely delicious, which has caused me to have to cook a similar soup when I am craving it. Attached to the restaurant was a small museum showing the history of the company. Our last awesome site of the day was to see Findlater Castle. This ended up being my husband’s favorite site. The remains dated back to the 14th century. It was a misty, wet day so we did not venture too close, but the sites were awesome.
On Sunday, we attended church at Buckie Church of Christ, where C had the opportunity to share a message with the church that morning. It was awesome taking part in the church service in Scotland, sharing with those in Christ who are thousands of miles around the world. We attended service that night, and had our first experience eating Indian food that night. It was entertaining that our first encounter with Indian food was in Scotland. The morning of August 26, we checked out of our B&B to venture on our journey to Edinburgh. Our GPS said four hours, so we thought easily we would make it, have lunch and spend the afternoon doing our planned tourist items… We were wrong! The scenery driving through the Highlands was absolutely breath taking. Gorgeous views. I, unfortunately, get car sick easily, so stops were needed for me to get fresh air and a drink before we could continue on.
I just couldn’t leave the pics to one or two. The views are gorgeous.
Close to noon, we stopped in Perth for lunch and a good break. We found this pub and had a soup and sandwich for lunch. We continued on into Edinburgh. We found our next B&B (The Beverley), and parked to check in. One interesting thing is that a lot of hotels and B&Bs do not have elevators (“lifts”). We were still a little surprised to find we were on the third floor when we arrived. It was not the most exciting thing in the world lugging our luggage up to the third floor.
The scenery from Perth to Edinburgh
After we got settled, we quickly got out to get to the Edinburgh Castle. We pre-purchased our tickets, and we had very little time to get out there. It was quite a maze to find parking, but that was the start. Once we found parking, we walked for-ev-er up hills and stairs before finally reaching the castle. Wouldn’t have been so bad if I wasn’t still on the recovering end from pneumonia. I was determined to see the sites. It was absolutely awesome getting to tour this famous castle, in our few hours in Edinburgh.
Entrance to the Castle
A couple castle shots
Look at this amazing view from the castle!
We had to watch the time closely to get out of the castle on time. I was excited that I was going to be having dinner with a midwife that evening who works in a hospital and does home birth in Edinburgh. Such a small world, I got introduced to her from a doula friend in the Houston area who used to live in Edinburgh. It was lovely meeting this midwife sister, chatting birth and then getting to tour her hospital. Particularly, the most lovely part of the hospital was getting to see their birth center wing that was designed for low risk women. This was definitely one of the highlights of my trip!
The birth room.
The birthing tub
The bathroom. Nicely designed with a laboring mama in mind. Love all the bars for women to use to squat, the cushion on the toilet for a woman to rest her head as she labors backwards on the toilet, the large shower area. Thought this was an incredible set up.
We had a splendid time in Scotland. Reflecting back, we could have spent the full trip just touring Scotland alone. We talked about going back for another visit this year, even a possible move trip, but it seems that God has other plans for our family right now and moving to do church work in Scotland is not in the plans right now. We would love to spend time just in the Highlands, northern Scotland and the islands. The trip was fantastic. We loved every minute of it. Part 2 will continue our adventures in England!