On the road again by 8:30am. Sue is not feeling well and has taken over the back seat of the bus (rapid heart beats?) Stopped for tea and shopping at a service stop. We’re now in the Lake District of England. Got to take a steam train ride from Haverthwaite to Lakeside – very Thomas the Tank train. Took lots of pictures – Kyle should enjoy them. T’was a very relaxing trip. Caught the Lake Windemere cruise boat. It was just us and a whole coach load of school kids and another coach load of senior citizens – definitely packed, but managed to find a seat and kick back and relax in the sun and enjoyed the scenery. Much better than being on bus!
Drove up to Grasmere for lunch. Ate a place called the Rowan Inn – right on the river with orange creamsicle walls. Had a fantastic stilton and mushroom pasta. Yum! Walked up to the church and paid my respects to Wordsworth’s grave. Then walked over to the “old school house” where they were selling a delicious smelling gingerbread. Too bad the cookie didn’t live up to the smell – perhaps I’ve become spoiled from eating herefox’s gingersnaps…
Onto Scotland – over the green hills and dales, lots of paddocks with sheep and cows. Just love the highland cows – they’re Irish setter in color and look like BIG sheep dogs. (well at least the calves do…) Stopped at Gretna Green – the Reno or Las Vegas of old England – home of the quickie marriage.
Was very tempted, but did not buy Alani a tartan dress. Saw many sharp pointy swords too.
City tour of Glasgow – Interesting to see statues of Queen Victoria & Prince Albert with their backs facing City Hall. They had refused to come to the dedication ceremony, so it was decided to face the statues the wrong way. Albert’s horse didn’t cast well, so its tail is actually nailed back on and may swing in high winds.
Chaos at the Holiday Inn. Computers were down. Staff was unable to tell which rooms were occupied and which were not, so they had to go check each room to figure out which ones we were to get. We waited in the lobby and were served wine.
6am wake up. 7am bags out & breakfast. 8am departure.
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
More chaos… no wake up and bags weren’t picked up. Wonderful. Glad I brought along an alarm clock.
Tried black pudding at breakfast. Did enjoy it. Just didn’t want to know what’s in it. Yet another mess up – Japanese tour group was supposed to use a separate section of the restaurant, but somehow both groups got seated in same section. Ended up eating the separate room with the long banquet table. Both tour directors and restaurant manager got into arguments over mix up. Oh well.
You’ll take the high road and I’ll take the low road and I’ll be in Scotland a’fore ye…”
We had a lovely, much more peaceful cruise on Loch Lomond. Took lots of pictures of the pyramid topped Ben Lomond. Drove through Glen Coe – spot of the massacre of Clan MacDonald by those Bloody Campbells.
Drove into Fort Williams for lunch. Did a bit of shopping but ended up at Chinese restaurant (enough of meat and potatoes already!). The chicken with ginger and green onions and fried rice hit the spot.
Found a plushie highland cow that mooo’d. Almost bought it for Alani, but it would have been difficult to stuff something that size in already packed suitcase.
Took a detour that pleased the Aussies – we drove through the area that is used for the tv series “Glenbogle” or “Glen Boogie Man” as it translates into English. Lots of excitement as we saw the castle, gate keepers’ house, gas station and the FILM CREW. Didn’t see any actors much to Lorraine, Jennifer, Marlene & Suzanne’s disappointment. Did see the one of the featured cars… *grin*
In the afternoon we stopped at Blair Castle. Did the tour – the collection of weapons all on display in the great hall was very impressive. Walked around the grounds a bit, admired the peacocks.
Our hotel in Dundee was very very nice. Very new. Had both tub and shower. The tub had one of those book rests across the middle plus a bright yellow rubber ducky. All the pleasures of home =)
Kev decided to relax while I went for a walk around the area. Stopped at the Tesco grocery store. Still no dratted Riccola cough drops. Did buy diet pepsi. Walking back, got something in my eye and while I fiddled with it, my contact flew out and wind picked it up and it disappeared. Grrrrrrr! Good thing I brought a back up pair. They had a couple of tall ships on display outside the Discovery museum, so I took a quick peek.
Ended up taking a shower and then soaked in the tub. Loverly…
6am wake up. 7am breakfast. 8am departure.
Thursday, May 20, 2004
First stop – city of the St. Andrews – home of the treacherous golf course of the same name. We first explored the ruins of a Catholic church which had literally been pulled down by a mob during the Scottish Reformation. Would have liked to have spent all day there – reading grave stones is always interesting. Oh well.
The Old Course at St. Andrews – we were able to wonder about the area – could even go the British Golf Museum if you wanted to (nope!). Took a bunch of pictures of people teeing off at the first hole. Thought about how much Dad would have loved it.
Edinburgh! City tour first – our guide, David, looked very distinguished with his mustache and kilt. We toured Edinburgh Castle – got to see the Scottish crown jewels! There is a cannon shot at exactly 1pm – according to David – most places will shoot off the gun at Noon, but the Scottish people being frugal and all, figured it was much cheaper to shoot one shot at 1pm rather than 12 at noon. Reminded me of the scene from Mary Poppins with the Admiral shooting off his cannon at noon…
Walked the royal mile from the top of hill (the castle) down to the bottom where Holyrood Place is. We stopped in many of the shops on the way down and on the way back up. We weren’t able to visit the Palace as there was some dignitary staying there.
Scottish Cabaret: After seeing the Irish Cabaret, I think I was expecting something similar and up to the same standard. Nope, nope, nope. The food was good – had tender roast beef and red wine. The show was cheesy. Felt like it was more for old men – skimpy costumes, female lead singer was so-so, accordion player had smarmy smile…
The best part was the little girls doing traditional dance and the male dancer doing the sword dance. Oh, and then there were the rude Kentucky dentists in kilts. Grrrrr.
Did enjoy the acted out “Ode to Haggis” – including the sword stabbing the haggis bag. (don’t want to know) I did enjoy the haggis served on a bed of mashed sweet potatoes and parsnips. And the whiskey? It burned!
7am wake up!!! 8am bags out & breakfast. 9am departure