Thursday, June 7, 2018

European Adventuring, Part 1: Scotland

Oh goodness, where to begin?!?!

So I took advantage tonight of some pretty speedy wifi at our hotel in Edinburgh to do a little Scotland recap of our first few days here before we jet off to London early tomorrow morning!  Perhaps I'll do a London recap early next week and then a Dublin one before we head back home next Friday...I guess it's alllll dependent on the wifi situation! HAHA!





We headed out on Monday morning after bidding the big kids farewell as they headed off to their vacay with KiKi and dropped Annie off at the Mooneys before we darted off to the airport!

We took a quick flight up to Chicago before our overnight flight to Edinburgh.  Our overnight flight was about 7 hours and I think we slept about 15 minutes of that!  Gosh it's not easy to sleep on flights! HAHA!


But it was a quick and easy flight and we got in a little before 8am (local time, 2am our bodies' time) and met up with my parents to drive north to Inverness!


"This is on the wrong side!!" HAHA! Oh I knew this was going to be an adventure.  Both Mike and my dad said they'd drive (thank God) and my mom and I could just be the backseat drivers.



Okay.  That fun lasted all of about 60 minutes cause, um THAT ^^^^.

We took a very very scenic (and it was gorgeous!!) route to Balmoral Castle on our way to Inverness but it did NOT agree with me.  It's no secret 'round these parts that I get motion sick, and couple that with being kinda hungry, no sleep, and just coming off of antibiotics (thank you UTI), I WAS NOT HAVING IT.  I literally screamed at my dad to pull over and out I went!  Not kidding, I wasted at least 2 hours of our day on the side of the road (and then in a little middle of nowhere tea shop) trying and willing myself to feel better.  It wasn't working.  I was chugging water and could not shake the barfs and dizzy/lightheaded feeling I was having.  It.was.awful.  I finally said I needed to ride in the front with the window down and my head held out like a dog and that worked...until I realized I could lay my seat nearly all the way back and I guess I passed out (thankfully!!!).  I woke up just as we were getting to Balmoral Castle and although I wasn't 100% I was feeling way better and anxious to get out of the car.

My mom found me these peppermint things (essentially Tums) and they also really helped with the motion sickness.  I bought like 3 packs of them to keep on reserve the rest of the week cause we had some more crazy journeys ahead of us.



Side of the road snaps before it got SOOOO bad. UGH.  But how pretty?!?!?

Okay!  So Balmoral Castle was so much fun.  It was gorgeous and not super crowded and we really enjoyed seeing where the Queen resides come July!

me and my witchcraft anti-nausea tabs.






































It was so gorgeous at Balmoral.  We got to see nearly everything and the weather could not have been any better either!  We lucked out majorly for day 1!




I also have been trying to take as many videos as I can too (sorry, some of these are repeats from my Instastories, which, side note, I LOVE doing and not flooding people's feeds with a bunch of my pics and videos (just posting the good ones there! :).

Once we finished up at Balmoral we headed the last 2 hours to Inverness where we were staying the next 2 nights.  We got a hotel right across from the Inverness Castle which was SUPER DUPER cool.


















Not gonna lie, it was chillllllyyyyyy willy that night!  Oh what a difference from hot humid STL!  Haha!

We PASSED OUT almost instantly as soon as we got back and then woke up nice and early to head out on our 11 hour tour of the Highlands, Loch Ness, Kilt Rock and the Isle of Skye!

This tour was something that I'm so glad we did.  Yes, we could have driven ourselves and done it, but it was so nice not to have to worry about that and have our guide TJ do the driving for us!  Not kidding, at one point I think all 8 were sleeping! HAHA!  There were us 4 and then 2 Mexican-turned-Canadians and 2 New Zealanders (or Kiwis I guess!)...so a diverse group of tourists!
























Our first stop was Loch Ness!  I was so jazzed to see Nessie but dang nabit, she wasn't about.  But still how gorgeous were those views and scenery?! Again, totally lucked out on the weather!






Okay, our guide/master driver TJ use to drive commercial trucks so he was really good on the driving and navigating (and keeping Alex from getting car sick! WOOT! Also helped I had my magic peppermint witchcraft tabs and was sitting in the front seat! HAHA) those tiny country roads.  But golly, the views!  They were just incredible and I couldn't take enough driving videos of our journeys!

Next up was Dornie Castle.














We didn't go in the castle but snapped a bunch of pictures (and some video!) outside of it and it was just gorgeous!!



We then headed off to Portree for lunch, which was delish.

Yay fish and chips from a local shop on the side of the road!


Mike also found a police station which we got a tour of and he traded a patch -- they put his STL patch right in the middle of the board.

After Portree, we were headed to the stone man, Kilt Rock, and the true Scottish highlands.  I think those were my most favorite!

Doesn't it look like a stone man laying down with his thumbs up?!  That's what our tour guide said it was.


We also did a shot of whiskey to toast the stone man and that was my first shot of whiskey EVER!  Alex here likes her fruity drinks!!


We then went to Kilt Rock which was AMAZING.  There was a bagpiper playing as we walked up and it was just STUNNING.  The colors were JUST this vibrant in person!  INCREDIBLE!

















Seriously, I could have stayed there all day long!





Last up was some of the highlands.  After a terrifying journey up to the top on a one-lane road, the views were SO WORTH IT.  Just stunning!









And apparently 'jumping Alex pictures' are all the rage right now cause I've done them nearly everywhere we've stopped soooooo, I guess I'll keep doing them!  HAHA!

We then headed back to the van to head back to our hotel, which took us a good 2.5ish hours to get back as well!  We went out pretty far in the Isle of Skye!





We did stop by Dornie Castle again on the way back so, duh, more pics for you! HAHA!




Once we got back to our hotel we were BEAT. AGAIN.  Vacationing is hard work! HAHA!  We got a quick dinner of pizza next door to our hotel before calling it a night.

Nice and early on Thursday we got up and headed out on the 3ish hour drive back to Edinburgh.  Mike drove this time...and he did awesome.  Especially in the scary narrow windy streets of Edinburgh!!



After a quick lunch my parents went off to see some sights they hadn't seen and we went to the Edinburgh Castle.  This was STUNNING.































Once again, we totally lucked out and had such a pretty day...we even wore shorts!



And I continued to jump all over Europe.  HAHA!


It was after 5pm and we went back to our hotel to check in (which, side note, was such a coooooool hotel!) and rest up a tad before dinner...which we met up with my parents again to go to a local pub to eat!  We enjoyed some delicious dinner (Mike said that was the best fish and chips he's had yet!!) and a few drinks before we called it a night!  We have to catch a 7:30am train to London in the morning and I said I'd love to get to bed before midnight for a change.

I should mention we have been talking about the kids NON STOP and are FaceTiming them as much as possible!  But I think they're all having a blast with family and probably not missing us as much as we are missing them :) Now to just figure out what gifties we are going to get them!!

Anyways, we headed back to our 3.14 room (which I had my three one four shirt on today too!) to grab showers and hit the hay...which I am doing RIGHT NOW since I have finished up our Scotland recap post for ya!  I hope you enjoyed this little vacay recap...and I hope to have a couple more for you before we head back home.  Stay tuned my friends...and have a great one!

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