Tuesday, September 23, 2014

J and K's Excellent Adventure: Day 4

Day 4 took us to Scotland! Cheryl, Kate, and I left Cheryl's house around 8:30 in the morning to head up to Edinburgh. It was a beautiful drive, so it really didn't matter that it was a four hour trip. The only sad part was that we barely missed the fact that we had entered Scotland. There are no signs or anything indicating that you're approaching the border (at least not on the road which we were traveling). So suddenly as we were taking a turn we noticed a "Welcome to Scotland" sign off to the right. Thankfully Cheryl is a quick draw with her camera, so she captured the sign. The town that was on the border (on the Scotland side) is called Coldstream, and it was gorgeous. It totally wins you over, and helps you instantly fall in love with Scotland. Seriously.

Anyway....we arrived in Edinburgh late morning/early afternoon, and it is one of the most beautiful cities ever. I think I may be in love with that place. It's a major city, but doesn't feel that way, and still actively celebrates it's history. I don't know, I just really like it.

We parked and then started wandering around. We first went to an old cemetery that is right across from Calton Hill. It was lovely. However, there were random drunk guys hanging out in there, which was unfortunate. Who is drunk at noon? ...okay, probably a lot of people in the world. But just kickin' it in a cemetery? What is that?

After that we bought tickets to go on a bus tour of the city. It was grand. It was the type of tour that you could get off at a stop, go explore, wait for another bus to arrive (they came frequently), and then continue on the tour right where you left off. On the first leg of the tour we just rode around and learned cool things about Edinburgh. Plus, our tour guide lady totally complimented my shoes. I totally passed as being fashionable---even if it was only once whilst in Europe. :)

The first time we got off the bus was to go to the Edinburgh Castle. We didn't tour inside of it, just walked around the grounds a bit. We also did a bit of shopping, and then got back on a bus. We got off again soon after though, because we were starving by that point and needed food. So we found a lovely little pub (Maggie Dickinson), and ate lunch there. Oh my goodness, it was so good! I ordered sausages and mash (so did Kate), and it tasted heavenly. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. We also ordered dessert, and the pudding that Cheryl ordered may possibly be the best food we tried the whole trip. I'm not even joking.

We were at lunch for about an hour, then went to catch another tour bus. Normally you don't end up on the same bus twice in a row, but we totally did. The tour guide was funny about it. However, I don't think the bus driver was thrilled. See earlier, when we first rode on that bus, I could not find my ticket anywhere. But he waited until I found it, but it took a good three minutes or so for me to locate it. But don't worry, I totally had my ticket ready the next time we got on the bus. I'm sure he was thinking, "Great. These ladies again."

When we were riding on the tour busses we always sat on the top deck so that we could get a better view of the city, and take pictures with less obstacles in our way. However, sometimes the bus turns before you take the picture, so you get random things in the way anyway....especially when you're turned around trying to capture the site which you just passed. Hence, on my camera there is some guy who is in the majority of my pictures. The funny thing is that he was on the first bus with us, and somehow we ended up on the same last bus. I think by the end of the tour, the people sitting by him thought it was funny, and were trying to photo bomb my shots. The pictures I have seriously look like I'm just taking pictures of him, instead of the sites, just because of the angles. It's kind of funny.

Anyway, after we were done taking a bus tour we headed over to Calton Hill. It's one of the many hills in Edinburgh which you can climb to get a better view of the city. This hill has fun sculptures though. There is a big pillar sculpture, and Kate and I did a little "model shoot" on it. It is high up, so you have to climb quite a bit. There was a nice German guy who saw us getting ready to climb, and leant us a hand. Basically he pulled us up...it was nice of him. Then as we were finishing our "shoot", we met a couple from Manhattan, Kansas. Such a small world. They were going to be in Scotland for 12 days, which is awesome. It is such a great place!

After we were done at the City Centre, we drove to the LDS Mission home in Edinburgh. Cheryl and I are related to David O. McKay, and we wanted to see the replica of the stone he saw while serving his mission in Scotland, that had a huge impact on his life it. It's a stone that reads, "What-e'er thou art, act well thy part." I will be honest, before we went there I seriously thought it was the original stone. I was wrong, it was just a replica. The original one is actually at the Church History Museum. Had I known that, I would have just gone to Utah instead of Europe. ;)

After seeing the stone, we headed north through some of the highlands to our Bed & Breakfast in Inverness. The city was right on Loch Ness, which is cool. We did not see Nessie (the Loch Ness monster) though. And the highlands of Scotland are stunning.


The random guy who appears in a plethora of my photos.

The delicious dessert pudding. 

Workin' it. 

By the replica outside of the mission home. 

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