We had an amazing time in Edinburgh and can't wait to plan another trip there! We purchased a cheap flight on easyjet.com, booked a hotel and were on our way. We left early from Luton Airport, one of London's smaller airports and only 45 minutes from Windsor. After the flight and a short shuttle to Edinburgh, we met up with Barb...Jake was attending an open house at his almamator, George Watson's school. We got tickets to bus tour around Edinburgh, in typical tourist fashion, and hitched a ride to the Royal Mile, a famous street stretching from the Edinburgh Castle to Hollyrood Palace (a royal residence). After a little shopping, we met up with Jake and his youngest brother Sandy (by this point we had already met the rest of the MacKenzie clan in Windsor). After one of our many Starbucks breaks we finished off the bus tour and hiked back to our hotel for check-in. That night, while Barb and Jake were at the school reunion, we headed out for a night on the town with Kaitlin's cousin Joe Howe, who just got his masters at University of Kent in England and was ironically in Edinburgh at the same time. We started at Hard Rock Cafe for dinner, and then went to several bars to hear live music and drink with the locals...vodka bar, jazz club, and local pub. A great night thanks to our tour guide Joe. The next day we spent all day at the castle, which has amazing views of the city as it sits on atop an extinct volcanoe. There were many great sites to see at the castle, our favorite the Honours of Scotland - Scottish Crown Jewels, Sceptor and Sword of State. We learned about the amazing stories of it being lost, buried, hidden and recovered many times. Kaitlin thought the dog cemetary was particularly touching. We finished the day with a tour of the University Club at Edinburgh University, a place Jake remembered well from his school days. Our trip concluded with a wonderful dinner and a quick goodbye to our first visitors.
We had to finish the Long Walk.. rain or shine or both
Of all days to take Barb and Jake on the Long Walk (which you will come to know if you come visit us - please bring running shoes) it was sunny at first then all of a sudden we were caught in a sudden rain and wind storm of sorts AND in the path of hundreds of wild deer. Of course when we got to the end of the Long Walk ready to head back the sky opened and we were looking for our sunglasses. I guess in the end Tim did prove us wrong by not bringing a rain coast after all. . oh that day on the Long Walk.
Barb and Jake were our first visitors and I picked them up with ease at Heathrow airport (if you really want the skinny of what its like to stay with us in our cozy house- contact them). We had a great time while they were here visiting and will have great memories of their trip out here. We jammed packed 2 weeks with nonstop tourist and "locals" adventures. One of the best trips we took was to Bath, England most famously know for the remains of the Roman Baths and where Jane Austin lived (and wrote about) in many of her books. Barb, Jake, Jake's longtime friend, Hugh Summerville, and I packed up the trusty -wrong side of the road- Ford Mondeo and hit the M4. About and hour and a half later I found myself in one of the cutest little towns I have seen so far. It was like something out of a fairy tale.. We had high tea and biscuits atop of the Jane Austin museum, then took a walk to the Roman Baths. An incredible day! The story of the Roman baths is so interesting, and the story is still unveiling. In fact parts of the Bath are still being "dug" up today. We could have stayed there all day, and in fact I can't wait to go back!
Beautiful sky over Croyde
By our third weekend in England, Tim was getting a bit homesick, missng the ocean. We decided to make a trek to North Devon in search of waves. Our drive from Windsor accross the English countryside was so beautiful often passing by sheep in the middle of the road. Thanks to a great book from Ben and Annett about surfing in the UK we knew exactly where we were headed. We first stopped at a small town called Lynmouth which was at the mouth of the Lyn River. The town was a quite but beautiful place where the forest stretched all the way to the sea. Although the surf was not up, we had a great lunch and spent time sitting by the river.
Destined to find surf we headed to the west coast of North Devon which is more consistent for surf due to its westerly exposure. Two hours later we landed in Croyde, the surf capital of Devon where the surf was fantastic and the beach was packed with vacationers and locals taking advantage of the waves. We stayed the night in nearby Barnstaple so Tim could go surfing early in the morning. We tried the local Mexican restaurant in Barnstaple which used chili powder sauce instead of salsa and accidentally put sugar on the rim of our margaritas...looks like we're going to miss that for another few months.