Monday, 24 September 2012

Scotland Summer: Part 1

So the summer is officially over...not that we really had a 'summer' over in the UK anyway!  I haven't exactly kept everyone up on my happenings these past 4 months, so I'm going to try and do that now!  The summer was filled with either family visits and animal husbandry experiences for school...both of which ended kept me very busy.  This blog will be devoted to sharing some photos from the family visits, but stay tuned for Part 2, where I'll tell you all about my time wearing a ventilator in a barn crammed with  60,000 chickens! :)  

I want to thank everyone who spent their time and money coming over to visit us in Scotland.  I know it was a vacation for you, too, but Brian and I really appreciate getting to spend time with family as with work and ££ we didn't have the opportunity to get back the The States.  It also gave us a great excuse to get out and explore more of the country that we've been taking for granted and not made the time to do ourselves. Remember that all are welcome here anytime, provided you don't mind sleeping on a futon mattress and an overly energetic dog waking you up in the mornings!

The Casey visit was a success, despite me giving them the wrong directions to the wrong trains from the wrong airport in Glasgow.  Turns out the trio can do a pretty good job of navigating through the UK on their own, and no one got hit crossing the street!  During their visit we managed to drink lots of good hand-pulled, room-temperature British pints, see ALL of Edinburgh (then promptly collapse in bed each night), and get out of the city to explore the countryside (city of Stirling, Stirling Castle, Doune Castle from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, city, castle and cathedral of St. Andrews, and Trossachs National Park-at the southern tip of the Highlands.)  As you can see, we got fabulous weather during their time visiting...probably the best of the summer!  Mom, Pops and Katie have the complete collection of photos from the trip so just ask them to see more when ever you have a spare hour to two. ;)

Dad at Rob Roy's grave;  Balquhidder Kirk, Trossachs National Park

Balquidder, Trossachs National Park

St. Andrew Cathedral Ruins

St. Andrews Cathedral ruins (spectacular!)

Hiking Salisbury Crag to overlook Edinburgh

Atop Salisbury Crags; Edinburgh Old Town beneath (see the Castle)

Calton Hill in New Town, Edinburgh, in front of the "Shame of Scotland" (a monument that the city ran out of ££ and could never complete)

St Andrews Cathedral ruins

Edinburgh Castle, with stadium being resurrected for the famous Edinburgh Festival and Military Tattoo

Royal Botantical Gardens
National Gallery in Princes St Gardens

Loch Lomond, Trossachs National Park
This about sums things up!

After Mom and Dad left, Katie stuck around to run wild throughout the city with me.  We had some good veg/sister-bonding time and then Brian, Katie and I all went to see the USA vs Columbia Women's Olympic Football match in Glasgow.

Becky and Joe also made the trip over from Germany for a nice weekend in June.  Unfortunately the weather was not on their side, but we enjoyed a nice weekend in the city, nonetheless, and even squeezed in some hiking between rain showers.  We also enjoyed pints and free strawberries and cream while we watched the final matches of Wimbledon.
View of Edinburgh from the Pentland Hills just south of the city

Hiking in the Pentlands

We finally just had our last set of visitors as Kate and Keith were able to make the journey over from Ireland.  Becky and Joe returned for a surprise baby shower in Kate's honor, then Kate and Keith stayed the weekend, exploring the city and allowing us yet another journey into a new part of Scotland: Glencoe and Oban on the west coast.
Baby Shower Decor!  Martha Stewart would be proud! (and, yes the banner does read "it's a baby."  My idea of "congrats" was vetoed!)

Thanks to everyone who sent along presents!  It made the shower really special  to have so much effort put in by so many people!

Bao thought all the gifts were for him...especially a plush Hungry Hungry Catepillar (thanks, Katie!!)

Glencoe; site of the famous Glencoe Massacre

Dunoille Castle, Oban, Argyll, Scotland

Oban, Argyll, Scotland

Oban, Argyll, Scotland

It was so nice to see so many wonderful people over the summer and I hope we are able to return the gesture and visit all of you in this coming year!!  Cheers!

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