We had our first houseguest! It was my momma. She came for 11 nights and roughly 11 days since her last day she went to the airport at about 11am. I am pretty big into itineraries…I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m flexible. I can adjust. But I like a list of things we’re going to do. I don’t want houseguests sitting around bored or a situation where we want to do something but can’t because it’s not open on the day we decided to go out and do it or anything like that. I will say, I don’t back down on plans for weather. Not here. We had some awful, AWFUL weather forecasts, and (thank you glittery, purple Jesus) we actually only had one awful day. You just can’t trust Scottish weather. You must embrace.
Anyway, wanted to recap the trip. You’ll see what a good little planner I am, my mom’s holiday will live on forever on the internet, you’ll realize Scotland should absolutely be on your bucket-list, you’ll get a little jealous of my fab. lady-whom-lunches life, and you’ll start getting ideas of what you want to do when you come visit me!
Wednesday – A sleepy Sandy arrives, though I immediately take her to Costco because we have no wine. You hear that, no wine for Sandra’s arrival?! It was damn near a national emergency. Anyway, got wine, put her to work cleaning my microwave, and had a nice little dinner at home (feta stuffed chicken burgers), and then went to take a look-see at our new place! Though we couldn’t go in because the leasing agents are assholes…but that’s for another day.
Thursday – Sandy cleaned some more, of course. In the afternoon we took the walk down the old Deeside Train line to Duthie Park with Stella. We tied poor little Stella up outside and went into the (free) indoor gardens. E got off work and came to play with Stella and drive us home since the temperature started dropping and the clouds looked a little ominous (I’ll note that it did not rain though).
Friday – We waited for E to get off work a bit early and we all went down to Stonehaven. Stella included. E dropped us off by the harbor to take the walk up to Dunnottar, while he drove to the castle parking lot so that we didn’t have to walk all the way home (and he could do some work). The first bits the worst, and after a few, “I think I’m going to die”s Sandra got her Scotland legs and enjoyed the rest of the walk though opted out of climbing all the way down and back up into the actual castle. The view though, is all you really need.
Saturday – We went into town to take a gander at the local Aberdeen markets. I don’t want to get into it, but they suck. The Country Market that happens once a month and the other one…they suck. We also went into St. Andrew’s Cathedral, where whoever let us in was super nice and informative, and learned they have free concerts every Saturday and provide sammiches and tea after. Pretty sweet but we had to head out to Balmoral Castle for E to run the 10K. So off we went. We had to park miles away, so that sucked. And you couldn’t get audio guides. So that sucked. And the garden was closed. So that sucked. And Sandra thinks the fact you can only see 1 room just plain sucks in general. Regardless, I’m over going to Balmoral. If you come visit and want to go- you’re on your own. On a good note, E smoked the 10K with 44:15 on a pretty wicked course in less than ideal conditions. He is such a stud it makes me want to murder him in his sleep…just kidding. When we got home we were all pretty exhausted, but I rallied everyone to go out to dinner to Cock & Bull. It might be my new favorite Aberdeenshire restaurant and we were all super happy we went out.
Sunday – This was the day of miserable weather….and me messing up the camera. We went up to Newburgh beach to see the hundreds of seals in the icy cold rain. It actually didn’t disappoint. But, my pictures did and this was the only one salvageable. Shame too because I had some adorbs Stella-Seal pics.
Monday – I have my golf lesson on Monday mornings and sewing lesson on Monday evenings. Between, my mum and I went over to Seaton Park for a walk with Stella. She really liked the CHURCH, but I wasn’t able to go in with furry butt so we just kicked it in the old cemetery. No complaints. It’s a shame there wasn’t much blooming, but it’s still pretty and very close- we’ll definitely come back in summer.Tuesday – We were heading off to the West Coast! But of course, we got off to a late start. And before we left, I kind of realized hitting up 2 castles on the way out was never going to happen. So we rerouted and went around the Cairngorms from the North, hitting up Fyvie Castle. I really liked its gothic-ness, the mothership didn’t. Had lovely gardens and you got to see a lot of rooms, though the tour was quite dry. We carried on to the west, stopping for pictures of coo’s and of course to see the gorgeous Stalker Castle from a look out point. Arrived at our LOVELY b&b in Oban (Glenburnie House)…went out to dinner, and back to our room where I grinded my teeth all night bracing for awful weather on Wednesday while we were on a boat and outside for 12 hours.
Wednesday – After no sleep fretting about Scotland weather, we woke up to sunny skies. We left our room at 7am but the owner so kindly packed up a great to-go breakfast (muffins, juice, bananas, oranges, trail mix) and we made our way to the ferry. The ferry over to the Isle of Mull. Where we took an hour bus up to Tobermory. From there we got on our little boat, which we used for the next several hours. We saw dolphins, and then headed over to the Treshnish Isles (Lunga) to see the puffins! It’s been my mom’s lifelong quest to see puffins. Every time she’s gone to see them anywhere in the world, they’ve been a no-show. But I delivered!
Then we went over to Staffa to explore Fingal’s Cave.
And then the whole trip back to Oban. Of course ending after we step off the ferry and trek up a hill a half-mile in the opposite direction of our b&b for a yummy (but overpriced) meal that we are underdressed for. C’est la vie.
Thursday – We started with some salmon and eggs at the b&b and a great chat with the owner, then headed back to Aberdeen going south around the Cairngorms. Lots of stopping for coo pictures, cool landmarks, and another castle.
Friday – Finally my mother got to meet my best Aberdeen lass, an Irish girl named Sarah. We had a proper, lovely tea at the Marcliff and that’s about all a day can handle.
Saturday – We tortured Sandra again with a 3-mile hike at Countesswells Woods, my favorite running trails. It was actually pretty lovely. Afterward, she solidified as the best mum ever taking us out to dinner to toast to end of a wonderful trip.
Sunday – Not much, just dropped mum off at the little ole’ Aberdeen airport.
Overall, a pretty damn successful trip! And we’ve already got a rough schedule for her next visit at the end of August. That trip holds less adventure, a decent chunk of time in Edinburgh, more gardens, some (east) coastal hikes, a sprinkling of castles, and a return trip to Stonehaven for a deep fried Mars Bar.