We went to visit the Bonnie bonnie Bank of Loch Lomond!
We went up to Glasgow for the weekend, for a post-wedding/family reunion-y celebration with Sarah's mum's side of the family. It was especially exciting as I'd not met any of them! We flew up to Glasgow after work on Friday, and were met by Sarah's parents, who had driven up that day with her sister and her boyfriend.
It was dark so I didn't get much of an impression of Scotland at that point, except that Sarah's Dad somehow took us down a one lane road that had no lampposts and went UP, DOWN, UP, DOWN, sideways, by some big windmills, it was a very intense way back to Kilmarnock!
We stayed with Sarah's papa, in her mum's childhood home - they introduced me to lorne sausage (AMAZING) and tatty scones (delicious!!), and I ate my fair share of scrumptious Scottish rolls.
We rented a 7 seater so we could fit the six of us in to travel around, and my name was put on the rental agreement - I was so chuffed because I LOVE to drive, and never get to in this country! I definitely got practice on roundabouts and roads with no white lines in the middle (neither of which we have much of in Idaho!), and impressed everyone with my ability to drive a stick shift car on the left side of the road, changing gears with my left hand, for the first time ever, around mountainous Scotland with my in-laws in tow! No pressure!
Sarah's mum's oldest sister hosted a barbeque that most of her family were able to attend - I met aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins - all very lovely, very Scottish, and so much fun. Very proud of my American self - there was only one person there whom I couldn't understand! Absolutely nothing he said. I also tried Irn Bru and vodka (lethal), and the food cooked was so good. We were there for 8 hours, chatting, showing wedding photos and an album Sarah's mum had put together of the America trip, laughing and playing games. A very successful first meeting, I'd say!
The next day I drove everyone up to Loch Lomond with the help of my trusty copilot wife. We stopped at a little shop she used to go to as a child for sweets and ice cream, and headed up through the countryside - beautiful, empty roads, fluffy highland cows, blue skies (!!!) to the stunning Loch Lomond. Obviously we were very lucky with the sunshine, but it was just as beautiful as I had hoped. Sarah said it reminded her of McCall in Idaho! We took some photos (a few too many Laura-jumping-fails) and Sarah's Dad taught me (well, he was second in a string of Dads (after mine) to ATTEMPT to teach me) how to skip stones. I did a few successfully, but I think it was luck because I was no good at it!
At the top of Loch Lomond, we took a road to go back towards Glasgow along Loch Long. Because this one is so straight, the military used to test torpedoes in it. This bit I thought was even more beautiful than Loch Lomond! Spurred on by my first taste of Scottish tablet (WOAH SUGAR) I drove everyone back to Sarah's aunt's house for dinner with her and Sarah's cousin.
After dinner, I wanted to see more - so we headed to Ayr to see the sunset over the water. We got there just in time and it was beautiful.
We got to stand in front of Robert Burns's house - this was so cool as we had his poem, 'Red, Red Rose' read by my brother Jason during our wedding ceremony! Sarah's mum knew lots of information about him, so it didn't matter that the museum wasn't open - we got to learn all about him anyway.
We managed to find the 'Electric Highway' - an optical illusion on a random country road, which meant when we turned our car engine off, it looked like the car was still moving - up the hill! Finally, we checked our Burns's monument, then headed back home for a good night sleep.
Finally, on bank holiday Monday, Sarah and I took the train into the city when her family set off on the road home. We went to lunch at the Hillhead Bookclub with my lovely school friend Rachael, who is at the University of Edinburgh, though about to move home back to Boise! It was so nice to catch up because we were bummed she couldn't make it back for the wedding. She gave us the loveliest present which we can't wait to put up in our home - it describes us so perfectly!
We had these amazing coke float cocktails, and were there for hours - the only sad point was that they didn't have the popping candy cheesecake I was SO looking forward to!
Afterwards Sarah and I wandered the city, found monuments, performers, lots of shops - and we bought the cutest brother for our Idaho spuddy buddy - meet MacSpuddy!!
Our flight home was irritatingly late, as was our flight out - British Airways seem to not bother starting boarding until 10 minutes before the scheduled departure time on internal flights! Very irritating.
No sooner had we arrived back in England, I became really ill - and spent the next few hours at Heathrow being hit with it, unable to go home as I wouldn't make it before the next spell. It was so awful, not at ALL the way I wanted to end my weekend away! I was up with it all last night, and it's finally starting to feel better now. Such a random and violent illness - maybe my body just wanted to stay in bonnie Scotland??
I really enjoyed my second venture to Scotland, loved Sarah's extended family, and made lots of memories. Funny that before I next get to go home to our Birmingham house, my parents will be here, I will have been to Scotland again, as well as Lands End, with my work's Ride Across Britain!
|Beautiful banks of Loch Long!|