Visitors from back home!!!!! Ahhhhh!!!! Yay!! 🎉 As much as I’m loving life out here, I am ridiculously excited to have friends from back home come to visit. Shoutout to Wade and Tiffypants for being #1!! Don’t even have a real place to live yet. You lucky ducks, you!! Sleeping on the single. 🛌 🙂
When I told people here our plans (driving north through Inverness, over to Isle of Skye, past Loch Ness and Glen Coe and down to Glasgow, further south to the ferry to Belfast, back up on the ferry, over past Loch Lomond to Edinburgh and back north to Aberdeen – in 9 days), they all thought we were nuts. Granted now that I read all that back in one sentence it makes me slightly winded. 🌬 It’s clearly a lot, but it’s not unheard of by Canadian 🇨🇦 standards. I guess because the country’s are so small over here, people just don’t drive the whole thing in just over a week. 📅 Everyone told us we were crazy (how did they know??) but what Scot’s don’t understand is 2 hours here will get you halfway across the country, back home 2 hours will get you to Brandon. 🛣 Now, not that I’m trying to call out Brandon (go Wheatkings!!) but it really doesn’t have anything on the highlands. Or Skye. Or the Cairngorms. Or Glen Coe. Or Edinburgh. Or Glasgow (well, it might have a small leg up on Glasgow..kidding..kinda – lets just say that me and Glasgow need a redo..).
We drive 5 hours to get to Regina. Regina. And think nothing of it. 🤔 Driving 3-4 hours a day through some of the most scenic countryside I have ever seen, more beautiful then I could’ve possibly conjured up in my mind (and I have a ridiculously good imagination, so that’s saying something), was a treat. We’re not in Kansas anymore. Or the flat prairies or whatever, you know what I mean.
Wader and TifTif arrived and we spent the first day/night seeing the sights of Aberdeen city centre. Checked that off in about 40mins and decided to spend the rest of the day doing what Aberdonians do best, we ate good food, then we drank, and drank, and went somewhere else, and drank some more. 🍺🍻🍷🍹
Next morning the adventure started: up northwest on our way to Inverness, our first night’s stop. It did not go well. Don’t get me wrong, it was freaking stunning. The Cairngorms were unreal, absolutely unreal. But it was snowing. 🌨 And because we didn’t find out our whip had 4wheel drive until the end of the trip, it was a bit slow and painful. And then it came to a screeching halt when we got to the gate. The closed gate. Locked gate. Too much snow in the park, road was closed. Now it was getting dark and our nav system was shite (I’m so Scottish, using the slang and everything) and taking us down even smaller back roads that were even more snow-covered… We made it to Inverness, we just had to drive halfway back to Aberdeen to get there. Ces’t la vie.
Another day, another place. Off to Skye. Which is quite possibly the most beautiful place on the planet. 🌍 I’m convinced. On our way, we passed Loch Ness. 🐉 No Nessie sights, but the views were outragous. Truly, truly, truly outrageous (yes, that was a Jem reference, she’s amazing, truly, truly – now on Netflix!!). My handy Scotland guidebook (thanks Mand!! Best gift!!) 📒 had a blurb about a “majestic” waterfall at Invermoriston. ⛲️ We stopped. Turns out the “majestic falls” were rapids, but they really were majestic. In a hidden wood off the side of the highway, with an adorable stone bridge, moss-covered trees and the only noise, the sound of the rapids..the guidebook was right, it was freaking majestic. 🌲🌳
From the first moment on Skye to the last, every sight was just stupidly beautiful. Our hotel in Portree had a view of the harbour, and postcard-pretty houses painted in pastels. 🏡🏡 You can’t make this stuff up. We looped around most of the entire island seeing Old Man of Storr, Kiltrock, Fairy Glen, Dunvegan Castle (with seals playing in the water in the bay!!), and the Fairy Pools. And all of these places are just naturally formed (obviously not the castle). Mother Nature was on fire when she got around to this place, I’m telling ya.
After leaving the most beautiful place ever created, we drove through possibly the second most beautiful place ever created on our way to Glasgow. Glen Coe. Just unreal. Pictures don’t even come close to capturing how truly freaking beautiful these places are. It doesn’t even look real. ⛰
Glasgow (pronounced Glaz-go, everyone made fun of me when I first got here for pronouncing the ‘w’ – why is it there, then, making it hard for all of us foreigners?), and I have had a bit of a rocky start to our relationship. First our stupid shite nav took us into a parkade instead of our hotel. We managed to find our way there, clean up and go for a cocktail at an adorable spot. It seemed like things were looking up for Glasgow and I. Then it started pouring. Like a real proper downpour. Turns out, like most places in this country, no one eats a proper dinner after 730. Kebabs or chip shops are your only options (fast food…). 🍔🍟🍡 After running around for awhile in the rain, we manage to convince the manager at an Italian joint to let us order (pizza 🍕 only – my poor tummy) and again we think the night is turning around. We head to a bar, it’s Carlin’s birthday, 🎂 we must celebrate. We were laughing and joking on our way in, but apparently in Glasgow, the only people having fun are intoxicated..the bartender refuses to serve us. 🍻 Me and Glasgow are officially at the rocky part of our relationship. We decide that it might be best to sleep on things. We all sleep in. 💤 Glasgow and I decide to part ways. It’s sad, cos I really feel like we could work things out and make a go out of it. Which is why we need a redo. Glasgow and I need to start fresh. Take our relationship back to the beginning and give it another try. Till next time Glasgow..
Off to the ferry: heading to Northern Ireland. Belfast was so much fun. Beautiful city, great people..We toured around the city centre, saw the sights: Albert Clock, the Big Fish, 🐟 the Titanic Experience, ⛴ about a half dozen pubs claiming to be one of the oldest in the city, and some of the peace walls (if you don’t know anything about these, look it up..freaking crazy!!). My goal for Belfast was to hear a traditional Irish music session. 🎶 I googled where to hear some tunes and dragged everyone out of the trendy area with all the people, through a couple backlanes (while everyone was freaking out a tad bit wondering where the hell google maps was taking us) to a pub called Kelly’s Cellar. It was heevin’ (Scottish for busy, full). And there was music. THERE WAS MUSIC!! There was amazing music. 🎵 Of course I ditched everyone and parked my ass directly in front of the band where I proceeded to stare dreamily (i.e. creepily) at them for the entirety of their set. They loved me. Or at least smiled at me while saying to each other, “who’s the creepy chick, sitting really close?? Anyone actually know her? No, just a weirdo with a big grin? Ok, cool.”
The following day we headed out to explore the countryside. Up to the Carrickfergus Castle (huge, beautiful, old), 🏰 the Carrick-a-Rene rope bridge (just for the view, no time to cross it), 🌉 and on to Giant’s Causeway. Talk about a wild thing outta Mother Nature, it’s unreal. Impossible to think it was made on its own. Humankind’s got nothing on good ol’Mom Nature.
Back on the ferry to stay at Strainrear. A tiny town, incredibly sweet. We had a curling rink in our hotel. A full size curling rink. How ridiculous is that? Amazing, but ridiculous. Very Manitoban. We felt right at home.
Off to Edinburgh, driving along the beautiful Loch Lomand to get there. Edinburgh is a very pretty city. She’s definitely the cool sister out of the Scottish cities. Every building here is beautiful. Unfortunately I got sick. Tiffy got sick at the beginning of our adventure, and it was my turn at the end, I laid in a fetal position in bed while everyone else checked out the sights. Second time in Edinburgh, and second time down for the count. ✌ I forgive her though, I am sure that the third times the charm.
Next day we’re back to Aberdeen for a couple relaxing days trying to recover before Wader and Tiffypants headed home. 🛫 Great adventure. Full, busy, exciting adventure. One of a lifetime.