Friday, September 14, 2012

Scotland Recap Part 1

If you don't follow me on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter/Google+ and therefore have not been bombarded with buttloads of photos, you may not know that I just spent two weeks in Scotland! And even if you DO follow me on any or all of those sites, you probably don't know even a tenth of all the awesome stories I have to share about the trip.

So, here begins my Scotland recap series. I'm just going to write about as much as I can remember and try to break it up into manageable pieces for your reading pleasure. It could end up being like a ten-part gig,'ve been warned.

If you only really care about seeing photos from the trip, you can view them here. I took about 500 more than I put up on G+, but I tried to narrow it down to the crème de la crème so you wouldn't have to spend eight hours going through them (and so I wouldn't have to spend 47 hours writing captions for them).

Anyway. Let's do this.

Our trip started with a bit of stress: we almost didn't make our first flight. I underestimated how complicated it would be to notify my bank that I'd be out of the country (and of course I put it off until the morning we were leaving), so we got a late start out the door to catch the FlyAway bus to LAX. Fortunately, we made it literally TWO MINUTES before the one-hour check-in cutoff that United strictly enforces. Once we were on the plane, we had all intentions of trying to sleep as much as possible on both legs (LAX to Newark to Edinburgh). Joe slept for a few hours total, and I slept for like...30 minutes. Weird since I have never had issues sleeping (heavily) on long plane rides. But we made it to EDI on Saturday morning around 9 AM, where Joe's parents picked us up and whisked us away to our first destination: Callander.

Day 1: We didn't waste any time with silly things like naps or showers; we checked into our lovely first B&B, Annfield, and went for a walk around the little town's main street, starting with a quick meal at a diner above a sporting goods store (weird, right?). Then Joe wussed out (she said playfully and not at all seriously) and walked back to take a nap, and the rest of us braved the rainclouds. We stopped in at a local church that was having a horticultural exhibition, because Pauli loves to garden. There were some really beautiful flowers and homegrown vegetables on display.

Then I got my first taste of Scottish Charity Shops (thrift stores)! There is so much cool stuff in these shops, and also a lot of junk -- so they're pretty similar to thrift stores in that way. But each shop is dedicated to supporting a specific charity, which I think is cool. (Oh, and those two hours spent walking around Callander pretty much defined the weather we had for most of the trip: rainy one minute, clear skies the next, then rain again, then wind, then the sun peeked out, then more rain and wind, then...well, you get the picture. Layering is everything!)

I also experienced something like vertigo, I think, which was not exactly pleasant but didn't turn out to be serious. I walked into the first shop and suddenly felt like the floor was moving underneath me. It was sort of like the feeling you get after being on an elevator for 10+ floors and then stepping off onto solid ground. I tried to keep calm and browse the store but I mostly just waited for Pauli and Ben to be ready to go. Once I was back in the open air, I felt better, but it happened each time we went into another store. I toughed it out so I could enjoy the shopping, but once we got back to the B&B, I decided to take a nap and hope the vertigo-ishness would be gone when I woke up. And it was, PTL! That was weird but luckily it never happened again.

After our naps, we drove about a mile down the road into a little town called Kilmahog (pronounced exactly like it looks) for dinner at the Lade Inn. HELLO, deliciousness! I had grilled salmon over herbed couscous with a tangy tomato sauce. The Lade Inn restaurant also has a little store next door called the Real Ale Shop which sells tons of varieties of Scottish ales and ciders. They also brew three of their own beers: Waylade (a blonde ale), Ladeback (an amber ale), and Ladeout (a dark ale). Cute, right? So of course we all tried one (or more) of the local ales available there. After dinner we moved over from the restaurant side to the little bar room, where we saw a three-man Scottish folk band called Soopna perform! Ben and Pauli had seen this group on a previous trip and were so excited that their performance at Lade Inn coincided with our arrival that day. They're wonderfully entertaining!

Soopna, plus a patron of the bar who took it upon
herself to sing backup vocals for one of their songs!

Yay, we're in Scotland listening to Soopna!
We stayed for nearly three hours of Soopna's performance, which they kept up WITHOUT BREAKS! I don't know how much longer they continued to play after we left, but they sure didn't seem like they would be wrapping up anytime soon. That's how you do a live show at a Scottish pub, my friends. The only reason we left when we did (around 11 PM) was because Joe caught me nodding off and realized it was probably time to see just how badly we would be affected by jet lag.

Answer? I was pretty darn affected. For the first three or four nights, I would fall asleep eventually (anytime between 11 and 1) and almost exactly three hours later, I woke up -- WIDE AWAKE -- and couldn't get back to sleep for another couple hours. It was a great time to write postcards, journal about the day's events, and read Nook books, but gee whiz, I just wanted to sleep! Finally I took some NyQuil just to knock myself out one night, and after that I did much better, though I still woke up in the middle of the night for about half an hour almost every night of the trip. But the excitement of being in Scotland was enough to give me plenty of energy each day despite whatever sleep issues I may have had the previous night.

Okay, I'll have to save Day 2 for the next post, because there's LOTS to write about that one.

To be continued...


  1. Fun to read about your trip. I'm anxious to hear more. How many hours difference between Scotland and California?

  2. Tab, your vivid descriptive writing style is captivating and makes me hungry for more. I've loved your photos with all the descriptions. What a labor of love I look forward to day 2.

  3. OMG you were just up the road from me - about 15 miles (23km) away. I absolutely love visiting Callander it's beautiful there. My summer day trips as a child were usually to there to feed the ducks.


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