June Daily Photos – Week Four

And just like that…..half the year is gone in a flash!!! And so is the June Daily Photo theme – “Month of Gratitude”. Here is the last group for this month.

Day Twenty-Two

Grateful for the years I’ve had with my sweet Megan!

Day Twenty-Three

Grateful for the beauty, elegance, and grace of nature.

Day Twenty-Four

Grateful for my awesome bed inviting me to a good night’s sleep after a long day……

Day Twenty-Five

Grateful for arborvitae, spirea, and willows along my west side border.

Day Twenty-Six

Grateful for edible pod peas fresh picked from Kirby’s!

One of my top favorite summer produce items – I eat them raw like candy!!!

Day Twenty-Seven

Grateful for an afternoon at the movies with a dear friend…..we saw Elvis!!!

Day Twenty-Eight

Grateful for the right to vote and the ability to exercise that right!!!

Day Twenty-Nine

This morning I was grateful for tomato juice and a cup of tea!!!

Day Thirty

Grateful for local artists that add beauty to our lovely village!!!

And…..a photo I took a couple days ago that wasn’t part of the Daily Photo Challenge, but I really liked…..it’s not an award winning photo – taken through my windshield…..but the subject matter is so sweet!!!

Traffic on busy Rt 31 at a standstill in both directions at rush hour so the Walmart geese can cross the road!

For those inquiring minds who like to know……here is July’s Daily Photo Challenge Topic List:

June Daily Photos – Week Three

Today is the first day of Summer…..the Summer Solstice……Longest day of the year……and a wake up call that the first half of the year is almost gone already!!! UGH!!!

Here is the next set of June’s Daily Photos for the “Month of Gratitude” theme:

Day Fifteen

Grateful for my air conditioning units

Day Sixteen

Grateful (and more than a little proud) that I can still wear the same size earrings I wore in high school!!!

Day Seventeen

Grateful for the joy the color pink brings to my yard!

Day Eighteen

 Grateful something finally made me realize the reason my car wouldn’t start was because I kept pushing the butt warmer button instead of the start button

Day Nineteen

Grateful for quiet time alone in our beautiful sanctuary before others arrive

Day Twenty

Grateful for Root Beer Floats

Day Twenty One

Grateful for this gorgeous first day of summer and for living so close to one of the amazing Great Lakes – Lake Ontario……May I never take it for granted!!!

June Daily Photos – Week Two

Here is the next set of Daily Photos for June — Month of Gratitude:

Day Eight

Grateful for a pint of the first strawberries of the season

Day Nine

Grateful the rain dried up and made way for gorgeous blue skies and fluffy white clouds!

Day Ten

Grateful that my family and memories have grown so much I had to add significantly to my family tree wall

Day Eleven

Grateful that this is so very true!

Day Twelve

Grateful for the beauty all around us – especially in my gardens

Day Thirteen

Grateful for movies on the big screen and popcorn

(We saw Top Gun – Maverick – WOW – Great Movie!!!)

Day Fourteen

 Grateful for the last few remaining peonies in my gardens!

June Daily Photos – Week One

Let’s just jump right in on the first set of Daily Photos for June…..

Reminder……June doesn’t have a specific topic list — it is a “theme” month and the theme is:

Month of Gratitude!

Day One

Grateful for banana pancakes after an early morning appointment

Day Two

Grateful that my Japanese Snowbell finally blossomed for the first time!

Day Three

Grateful for friends who bring tractor buckets full of fresh top soil to top off my raised beds so I can start planting!

Day Four

Grateful that at my age, I no longer have to feel guilty when I treat myself to a banana split instead of dinner as a reward for all the work I got done today! LOL

Day Five

Grateful for the return of warm evenings on the patio

Day Six

Grateful that my new Ivory Silk Lilac tree (the tall one – planted mid-season last year) is blooming in its first year!!!

Day Seven

Grateful for the mani/pedi I got after my doctor appointment this morning! (Color: OPI Hawaiian Orchid)

In The Air Above Albion

A week or so ago, my friend was up from NC with his private plane. I’ve gotten so I look forward to going up to get photos of our area when he flies up for a visit. So much fun…..and I get some great shots! I used to try to use my Nikon with the big zoom lens…..but, it was difficult to see what I’m trying to photograph and by the time I focused, I either missed the shot or it was too blurry to recognize. So, I started just using my iPhone and I get so much better shots! It is still hard, sometimes, to know if I’m getting the intended object in the shot – things look soooooo different from up there – but, what I do get is GREAT!!!

Here are photos from around the area I took on our flight from this most recent visit.

Our usual selfie in the cockpit waiting for the engine to heat up enough for take-off

The canal

Another shot of the canal

Downtown Albion – Courthouse Square

Christ Episcopal Church (lower right of center), Holy Family Church (left of center), and First Baptist Church (the one with the tall two-toned steeple)

I love taking photos of farm land from the air — so beautiful – a work of art!!!

Approaching Waterport and Lake Alice

Waterport Bridge over Lake Alice

(we used to call it Waterport Creek when we were kids – I was an adult before I knew it had a name!)

As Ron said…..no flight over the area is complete without a fly-over the Oak Orchard River, Lake Ontario, and Point Breeze!!!

Oak Orchard River flowing into the Great Lake Ontario

Point Breeze

The Oak Orchard Lighthouse at Point Breeze

Marinas along the Oak Orchard River at Point Breeze

That square patch of trees just above center is Mount Albion Cemetery — so many trees make it beautiful to drive through, but impossible to identify as a cemetery from the air.

The only thing distinguishable in Mt Albion Cemetery from the air is the Soldiers & Sailors Monument tower – I believe it is still the highest point in Orleans County.

Albion Central Schools – Elementary, High School, and Middle School

Downtown Albion featuring most of Courthouse Square and the canal across the top of the photo

That’s all for this flight……

May Daily Photos – Part Four

I feel like a broken record, but……WOW – May is gone, already…..it flew by so fast I hardly knew it was here! But…..I do have proof that we didn’t just skip it — my daily photos for 31 days plus the posts about the Scotland trip I took in May. And, now – tomorrow June begins….and, in 30 days we will be 1/2 way through the year…..this just blows my mind! LOL

Anyway – here is the last set of Daily Photos for May:

A PAIR

SOMETHING WARM

PINK

LUCKY

HORIZON

A CAR

SKY

THIS IS ALSO ME

June’s Daily Photo Topic List isn’t a list…..it’s a “theme month” – June is “Month of Gratitude”….we’ll see what I come up with!

2022 Scotland Adventure – Part Three

To read about this trip in order, you might want to scroll to Part One first and then Part Two!

Let’s continue with the stories and photos from my awesome adventure in Scotland…..to recap – Part One took us through Days One and Two with castles and traditional highland music, dancing, and song. Part Two took us through Days Three and Four with more castles, cathedrals, battlefields, a visit to St. Andrews golf club, and lots of stunning countryside. We’ll cover Days Five and Six to conclude my time in Scotland in this post.

DAY FIVE: We began the day with a photo stop at the Kyle of Sutherland:

Me with my friend, Loraine at the Kyle of Sutherland

Lots more of the gorgeous Scotland scenery on our drive throughout the day:

We stopped for lunch and shopping time in a quaint fishing village called Ullapool on Loch Broom. I had the most incredible lunch of fresh locally caught langoustine lobster and chips with garlic bread — OMG – heavenly!!! After lunch, I shopped a bit, took some photos, and had some creamy Scottish ice cream – flavor was a Scottish traditional soda flavor – Irn-Bru – delicious….orangey with an aftertaste of berry or root beer or something like that – hard to describe, but it was soooooo good and very different!!!!

That afternoon / evening, we took a boat cruise on Loch Ness to search for Nessie…..no sightings! hahaha But, the cruise was very nice and Loch Ness is beautiful! Loch Ness is the largest fresh water body of water in Great Britain by volume! And it is quite the experience. After the cruise, we went to an exhibit that went through the history and investigations surrounding the Loch Ness Monster (Nessie) and had dinner – chicken with potatoes and veggies and a berry crisp with custard….and a 1/2 pint of locally brewed Loch Ness Lager!

Loch Ness

A kilt and cowboy boots……

DAY SIX: Our last day in Scotland was a long day on the coach driving from Strathpeffer back to Glasglow. Lots of wonderful scenery through the highlands – which we were surprised to see was brown in much of the areas. This was mainly because of the season – the mountain heather was not in bloom, in fact, it is burned as a tool to manage the moorland vegetation. The practice is beneficial to sheep, wildlife, moorland ecology, and biodiversity. So, it gave us an unexpected view of the hills throughout the highlands. But, although it was not green and covered in heather, it was still quite stunning!

Loch Carron:

We stopped at the Isle of Skye for coffee and photos….I had a scone with jam and took a banana for later. This was a lovely stop!

The Isle of Skye has the legend of Saucy Mary: a Norwegian princess known as ‘Saucy Mary’ who would charge a toll to any boat using the narrow channel by hanging a chain from the castle to the mainland to prevent unpaid crossings; she would then thank the boat’s crew for paying the toll by flashing her bare breasts at them, hence her nickname ‘Saucy Mary’. LOL

Here is what is left of her castle:

The route back to Glagow involved taking that huge coach onto a ferry across the Sound of Sleat to Mallaig – here are a couple photos of some of our group on the upper deck of the ferry — it was a cold, wet, windy day…..I stayed below……these photos are courtesy of a friend:

We stopped for a photo op at Glenfinnan to see the monument to fallen Jacobite clansmen and the famous viaduct well known to “Harry Potter” fans……I got a photo of the train seen in the “Harry Potter” films before we got to the viaduct and a friend got this great photo of the train going over the viaduct…..any “Harry Potter” fans out there find this to be a familiar sight?

We also visited Fort William beneath Ben Nevis – the highest mountain in Britain.

Next stop was Glen Coe – known as “The Three Sisters”, where the MacDonald Clan was massacred in 1692.

Me and my friend Pat with two of the three sisters behind us.

The last stop before we returned to the hotel in Glasgow was Loch Lomond…..made famous by the song “On The Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond” – see the video in “Part One”. I told you earlier that Loch Ness is the largest fresh water body of water in Great Britain by volume….well, Loch Lomond is the largest body of water in Britain by AREA and it is stunning!

When we returned to our hotel, we had to take a Covid test – the US still requires a negative Covid test to enter (return) to the US. All but two were negative — there was a couple (husband and wife) that was not part of our group, but was on the Cosmos coach with us that tested positive, so they had to stay in Scotland until they test negative. But we were all good to go!

That night, we had our final dinner together – I chose the spring rolls, bangers (sausage) and mash, and ice cream……I was a little leery of the sausage and mashed potatoes because it was covered in gravy — I thought, gravy on sausage???? But, I decided to try it…..one more traditional Scottish / British meal…..and I am so glad I did – it was delicious!!!

We got up the next morning and took this group photo before getting on the coach to the airport….but, there were several of the 19 of us that weren’t down in the lobby, yet, so we took another one at the airport to be sure we had the entire group in the photo:

BUT…..our adventure didn’t end there!!! We got to the airport and discovered that our flight from Glasgow was delayed and it resulted in us missing our connection in Amsterdam…..several hours and much drama later (I won’t go into it all here), we were able to get all 17 of us rebooked for the next day (only 17 at that point needed to be rebooked – one was staying in London with friends for an extra week and one had a family funeral to attend, so got them to separate her and get her on a flight that evening). The rest of us spent the night at a GREAT hotel in Amsterdam – the Moxy! WE wished we could have had time to see a bit of Amsterdam, since we got stuck there overnight, but it didn’t work out – we didn’t get to the hotel till just about bed time and had to get back to the airport after breakfast the next morning…..so, I guess I still need to see Amsterdam, some day, and I already know a great hotel there! hehehe

They split us up into four smaller groups – try to rebook 17 people on the same plane on short notice…..some had connections through Detroit (I was one of 6 in that group), some had connections through Atlanta and DC. But, we discovered we were confirmed on the first leg of the trip, but couldn’t get confirmation that we had seats on the planes from our connection cities to Buffalo…..had to wait till we got to Detroit, Atlanta, or DC to find out…..but, my thought was “just get me to Detroit, I can get home from there somehow”. But, when we got there, we got on the next flight — all except three who ended up having to spend the night in Atlanta and got out to Buffalo the next day. Some luggage didn’t travel with the owners, but I believe everyone who’s luggage got delayed received it the next day. So…..some definite drama getting home, but we all made it….eventually…..and it was an amazing trip and I refuse to let the last part overshadow the rest of it.

Dinner at an Asian restaurant in the airport while waiting for our new bookings (above) and my room at the Moxy (below)

This was at the Moxy in Amsterdam — we decided to take it as our motto!

My last meal on the trip was a burger and fries at the Long Horn Steakhouse in the Detroit airport!

Before I leave you, here are some interesting facts about Scotland:

  • The Patron Saint of Scotland is St. Andrew
  • The Church of Scotland is Presbyterian
  • The official language of Scotland is Gaelic, but English is their second language and most people do speak English – of course with that lovely Scottish brogue.
  • Much of Scotland was originally settled by the Irish.
  • I used the term “coach” instead of “bus” throughout the three parts because they refer to a large tour bus as “coach” – a “bus” is used for public transportation
  • The Thistle is considered the “defender of the nation” because of a legend from the time of Alexander III (1249-1286). Legend has it that an army of King Haakon of Norway, intent on conquering the Scots, landed at the Coast of Largs at night to surprise the sleeping Scottish Clansmen. In order to move more stealthily under the cover of darkness, the Norsemen removed their foot wear. But as they crept barefoot they came across an area of ground covered in thistles and one of Haakon’s men unfortunately stood on one and shrieked out in pain, thus alerting the Clansmen to the advancing Norsemen. His shout warned the Scots who rose up and engaged the enemy, thus saving Scotland from invasion. Needless to say, the Scots won the day and the Thistle was named “defender of the nation”. While no proof backs up the legend, it stands to this day!

With that, I bid you adieu until my next adventure…..wonder where I’ll go next…..hhhmmm……I have some ideas, but you’ll have to wait and see!

2022 Scotland Adventure – Part Two

To read about this trip in order, you might want to scroll to Part One first!

To recap Part One……I spent an amazing week in Scotland with a group of friends – old and new – and had the best time! We flew to Glasgow and picked up a Cosmos bus tour that took us all over the country of Scotland where we had grand adventures, learned a lot, had great fun, and make awesome memories! This post picks up on Day Three in Edinburgh.

DAY THREE: We had a bit of a late start on Day Three – our Coach broke down (something about the doors not being able to close), so we had to wait for another coach to arrive. But, soon we were on our way to tour the capital of Scotland – Edinburgh. We picked up a local tour guide who talked us through what we were seeing as we drove through “New Town”, which was established in 1779….I guess “new” is a relative term – LOL. At one point during the day, we had a close encounter with Prince William and Kate, but didn’t know it at the time!!! We were stopped at an intersection and Mick (our tour guide that I introduced you to in Part One) pointed out that the royal residence for when the Queen or any of her family are in Scotland was just a couple buildings down the street. There was a lot of security and a motorcade in front of the building. Mick said that perhaps Prince Charles was in town to open Parliament in the Queen’s place. But, we heard on the news later that evening that Prince William and Kate were in town for some event. Sure wish we had gotten a glimpse of them!

After our drive through Edinburgh, we went to “Old Town” to visit Edinburgh Castle. This is a huge castle up on a hill overlooking Edinburgh that had a lot of very steep inclines and lots of uneven walking. After my trouble with the cobbled streets from the day before, my knee and back started screaming at me rather quickly…..I was concerned that I was going to make the rest of the trip a painful one, so I chose to only see part of the castle – I very much enjoyed what I did see and had some nice relaxing time in the sun – it was a beautiful day!

Looking down on Edinburgh from the castle

Some shots of Edinburgh during my walk back down to where the coach was parked waiting for us…..some of us went back to the hotel and some had some “on your own” time to walk around Edinburgh for a little bit and were picked up a couple hours later.

Someone on the coach asked Mick what the zig-zag lines on the side of the street were for. He said that those lines indicated the parking situation. He said a single line meant “no parking”, a double line meant “no parking – ever”, and a zig-zag line means “absolutely no parking – ever – ever”……and used one of his “Mick-isms for this…..he said, “We don’t have the death penalty in Scotland, except for those who park on a zig-zag line – we take our parking rules very seriously, here!” hahahaha

Later in the afternoon, we gathered for our second optional excursion. We went to a distillery and dinner after. The Holyrood Distillery tour was so interesting – we saw how gin and whiskey are distilled and tasted several examples. We learned that Single Malt has nothing to do with the quantity of malts — it simply means that it is all distilled in one distillery for the entire process, which means there is more control over the process and the aging. Blended malts mean it was distilled in multiple distilleries. We also learned that whiskey has to age in the cask for a minimum of three years and more, depending on the process used by the distillery. We also learned that gin has three basic ingredients – beeswax, sea salt, and juniper berry. I don’t like gin – I think it tastes like a Christmas tree! LOL But, I really liked the sample they gave us – they said they keep their gin pure, so it has less of a pine taste. And, the whiskeys we tried were so smooth – no burn at all!

I forget what this place was (saw it on the way to the pub), but it is cool, so I’ll include the photos! hehehe

After the distillery tour, we went to a Scottish Pub for dinner. Most of us chose the Fish ‘n Chips…..it was amazing!!! I also had a glass of Malt Smith Lager that was very good, too – a local brew.

The pub is reported to be haunted. It is located in the old Canongate Tolbooth, built in 1591. It was used to collect tolls from travelers entering the burgh, but has also been used as a Council Chamber, Police Court, and Prison…..and a suspected warlock was said to have been exorcised there.

Those at our table thought this looked like a cow on the back of a child……hhhmmm

My lager, fish ‘n chips, and sticky toffee pudding with ice cream……OMG – so good!!! We also learned that in Scotland, “dinner” is three or more courses and “supper” is two courses – entrée and dessert, typically. And, when a friend ordered a burger, they had the option of having it “with salad”, which meant it was topped with lettuce, tomato, and onion and they could get it “single” – just the burger – or “supper” – with chips!

DAY FOUR: On Day Four, we left Edinburgh and headed to St. Andrews, Pitlochery, Culloden Moor, and Strathpeffer.

We first crossed the bridge that took us over the Firth of Forth – a narrow estuary of the River Forth.

Our first stop of the day was for a photo shoot at St Andrews Cathedral – the ruins of a medieval Catholic Cathedral that was built in 1158. Really cool.

We then spent some time at St. Andrews Royal and Ancient Golf Club – the home of the rules of golf. It is a beautiful course and the beach that borders it was used for the opening scene of the movie “Chariots of Fire”.

The “Chariots of Fire” beach

We really only got to see a putting green and the 18th hole, but it was stunning! We also had plenty of time to wander around and check out the shops.

We had lunch and shopping time in Pitlochry – I had Steak Pie with chips…..it was incredible! The beef was tender and full of flavor and the gravy was so rich and delicious! The puff pastry was “on the side”, which I thought was a bit odd, but I just put it on top of the steak and gravy and it was amazing!!!

We also made a stop at a famous battlefield called “Culloden Moor” where Bonnie Prince Charlie and his Jacobite army were defeated by the British government under the command of the Duke of Cumberland. I didn’t get any photos, but here is a photo a friend took:

We also saw some Highland Cattle…..photo courtesy of a friend!

On the rest of the drive to the next hotel in Strathpeffer, we saw a lot of the beautiful country side of Scotland.

These yellow fields were everywhere! It is Rapeseed – it is grown for animal feed and to produce vegetable oil, similar to canola.

Our next hotel was the Ben Wyvis Hotel in Strathpeffer….very old, but elegant hotel, built in 1879! Stunning architecture and décor. For dinner that night, I chose the bruschetta, honey roasted gammon (which I found is ham that is cured differently than regular ham), and the salted caramel chocolate tart – for which I paid dearly with a restless night’s sleep because I consumed too much chocolate so late at night (dinners were 7:00 or after every night)…..but, it was so well worth it!!!

Here is my room and an actual key to open the door – not something you see too often, anymore:

Dinner…..YUMMY!!!

I’ll end Part Two here…..Part Three coming soon!

2022 Scotland Adventure – Part One

I just spend an amazing week in Scotland! We were planning to go in 2020, but it got canceled due to Covid……we hoped it would get rescheduled in 2021, but Covid prevented that from happening, too! So, finally, we got there! This was a Busy Buddies trip – the group I belong to that does frequent day trips, overnighters, and some longer trips – all expertly arranged by our fearless leader, Mitzy Peglow of Orleans Travel. There were 19 of us that went. When we got there, we joined 20 others from all over the US and one from Australia to make 40 on the bus….42 counting our tour guide and driver. It was a great bunch of people and we had an awesome time touring the stunning country of Scotland!

Here are all 19 of us in the Glasgow airport on the day we left to head home.

This is our tour guide (left) – Michael “Mick”, an Englishman who lives in Spain – and our driver – Tam, a Scotsman. They were awesome…..Tam maneuvered that coach into some of the smallest places – he deserves to be crowned “king of coach drivers”! Mick was so knowledgeable and helpful….and funny! He kept us on schedule, entertained, and fully informed of everything there was to know about everything we saw and Scotland in general! Some “Mick-isms”: “I’m negative…..I’m a negative kind of a guy” – he and Tam were required by their company to take a Covid test every morning before getting on the coach, so he would let us know they were negative each morning. “We don’t have the death penalty in Scotland, except for (insert some trivial offense here) – we take that very seriously” – he would say this when telling us some rule or local law, like parking in a no parking zone. “Does that make sense?” – this would follow every set of instructions or summary of what we could expect each day. Once, we got together and agreed to all say “NO” the next time he said it…..he seemed to enjoy the joke! hahaha And….“If you don’t like rainy, cold weather, don’t come to Scotland” – he explained that the rainy season starts about the first of April and ends oh, about the end of March! LOL – it wasn’t all that bad – it was in the mid-50s and some sun, some drizzle, and one day that it really rained a lot. Mick was wonderful — he even came out the morning we left to be sure we didn’t get on the wrong coach to the airport, since he noticed more than one Cosmos coach loading up and he ran into us at the airport and stopped to chat on the way to his gate.

The tour called “Scottish Outland Adventure” and was hosted by the Cosmos tour company. This is is the itinerary map of all the places we visited in seven days – pretty much saw the entire country! We arrived in Glasgow on Sunday morning and spent our first night there. Then we spent two nights in Edinburgh, two nights in Strathpeffer, and our last night back in Glasgow. Here is the story of our trip.

DAY ONE: We flew out of Buffalo on Saturday afternoon with layovers in Detroit and Amsterdam and landing in Glasgow Sunday morning. We were all pretty tired when we got to the hotel, but our rooms weren’t ready. Some of us just curled up in the lobby to read and relax and some took a tram to downtown and wandered around some. Our first hotel was The Leonardo Inn Glasgow West End – a nice, clean hotel that served an included buffet breakfast with traditional Scottish breakfast items. I slept like a log…..even though the bed was harder than I usually like and was a bit lumpy…..it didn’t stop me from falling asleep almost immediately and I slept soundly all night! This was my room:

DAY TWO: After breakfast the first full day, we boarded the coach to tour Glasgow and make our way to Edinburgh.

Downtown Glasgow

Scenes around Glasgow: A typical Police station, a 12th century cathedral, statue of David Livingstone – an explorer born 1813 / died 1873, and the oldest building in Glasgow:

Stirling Castle in Stirling

My friend Pat by the canons at Stirling Castle

Looking down at the countryside from Stirling Castle

Other shots from inside Stirling Castle:

Robert The Bruce – King of Scots from 1306 to his death in 1329

When we left Stirling Castle, we learned a new word: “Dreich” – a word plucked from the slang dictionaries of Scotland. It describes a dull, damp, Scottish day – one that’s devoid of light, warmth, and color…..in other words, a truly yucky day. We were supposed to spend I think and hour or so at our next stop – the village of Culross, but it is all outside stuff, so Mick called the office to get permission to make a couple unplanned stops and spend less time in Culross. We were all delighted by the additional stops – both were awesome and they gave us two experiences we wouldn’t have had otherwise.

The first unplanned stop was to see the Kelpies. Kelpies are water spirits of Scottish folklore, typically taking the form of a horse and reputed to delight in the drowning of travelers and casting spells. The Loch Ness Monster is a Kelpie. We loved that we got to see these huge metal sculptures…..so beautiful!!!

Then, we stopped at Linlithgow Palace – the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots and James V. This was a really interesting place – great architecture. But, what made the Outlander Fans on the coach squeal with delight was that it is the building used for the filming of scenes at the Wentworth Prison on the TV show “Outlander”.

Near the entrance to the Linlithgow Palace

Entering Linlithgow Palace (Wentworth Prison)

The Palace (prison, for you Outlander fans) – they are in the process or re-pointing the building, so it was fenced off, but all the Outlander fans got as close as they could to get photos!

A church on the property

A cottage on the property and a statue of Mary Queen of Scots

Then, we headed to Culross — the village of Culross is used in the filming of Outlander, too. Unfortunately, in addition to the “Deich” day, everything in the village was closed. So, soon after we got off the coach, Mick called Tam and told him to head back to get us. Some used the time to wander around for Outlander photos and some found a small coffee shop that did happen to be open to wait for Tam to return. It was a quaint little village right on the water…..would have been nice to spend some time there if the weather was better and if some of the shops were open.

The streets were cobbled and steep inclines…..very uneven! It tore my knee up and I turned my ankle, which sent a shock up into my knee, but it didn’t do any damage and all was fine after I was able to rest my knee a bit. GREAT example of olde world villages!

We left Culross and headed to Edinburgh to get checked into our hotel. The hotel we stayed at for two nights in Edinburgh was Novotel Edinburgh Park – very nice hotel with an amazing shower, comfortable bed, and another buffet type breakfast that was included and had the same typical Scottish breakfast items – this was my room:

After we settled in, we met down at the lobby so the coach could take us to our first optional excursion. It was so much fun!!! We were taken to a venue that put on a traditional Scottish night out called “The Spirit of Scotland”— dinner, Highland dancers, bagpipers, singers, and the Ceremony of the Haggis! It was a great evening!

For more about the Ceremony of the Haggis and my bravery in trying the haggis, scroll down to the post titled “I TRIED IT!”.

My dinner choice was the Traditional Scottish Broth – very good, but a bit bland, everyone got some Crispy Haggis Bon-Bons (again – scroll down to the “I TRIED IT!” post for more info on this), and my main course choice was Braised Beef, Fondant Potatoes (that square thing), and Roasted Root Vegetables – all VERY good! The dessert was cheesecake, so I passed on that, but we also had Scottish Shortbread with our tea and a glass of wine. A very nice meal, in deed!

And then the entertainment started — awesome!!! Dancers, singers, a bagpiper, an accordion player, a violinist, some sing-alongs, and wonderful traditional costumes. It was great fun!!!

We sang along to familiar tunes, like “The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond”, “Auld Lang Syne”, and “Ten Thousand Miles”, among others. I got all emotional when the lady singer sang “Amazing Grace” with the bagpiper providing the music……so beautiful……I was blubbering over it!

One of our Busy Buddies group got chosen to dance on stage with one of the girls….he did good!

We went back to the hotel and crashed after a full day of touring and still trying to get over the jet-lag.

I’ll leave you with with beautiful video of the song “The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond” – we’ll visit Loch Lomond later in the trip:

So that ends Part One…..Watch for Part Two to come soon!

May Daily Photos – Part Three

Here is the next set of Daily Photos for May…..

THIS SEASON

A SHAPE

DOOR

CREATIVE

I READ THIS

WAVES

FLYING

STAIRS

(I took this in the Azores in 2019)

Until next time……