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A Scotland Adventure – Part 1, the overview!

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Hello, and welcome back to your annual story time of Ben and Sarah’s international adventures! Keeping with the tradition of the last few years, Sarah and I visited with her family, this year going back to Scotland.

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From Saturday, 21-December, 2019 all the way through to Saturday, 04-Jan, 2020

 

Part 1 – The overview, and photo highlights

The general framework of the trip is detailed below; we didn’t come into the trip with any major plans or goals, we were really looking forward to the time to relax after the busyness of 2019. It’d been a pretty amazing year, full of huge amounts of growth… but with that growth had come a number of challenges that left us fairly drained.

A visit to the Highlands was exactly what the doctor ordered.

 

Quick summary of our trip to Scotland!

  • Leave Portland on Saturday, 21-December-2019
  • Get stuck in San Francisco due to a delayed flight, and stay overnight at the super-posh Grand Hyatt while also getting to walk around the city and visit my cousin
  • Arrive in Scotland on the 23rd… but unfortunately without our checked bags
  • Explore Aberdeen for two days (Tuesday and Wednesday), getting to see the Art Museum, attend the midnight mass at St. Maccars, and even watch dolphins jumping in the surf outside of town
  • Drive to the Isle of Skye, staying overnight at the BenLeva Inn on Loch Ness. We don’t see Nessie… but we do have a full can of Irn Bru (a type of soda) vanish, leaving only the pierced and empty can…
  • We spent three full days on Skye, and had an excellent time exploring and photographing everything we could find. Some major adventure points were:
    • We hiked up to the Storr (in the rain)
    • Explored the town of Portree, and ate some extremely good Cullen Skink
    • hiked the Quiraing route from the parking lot down to the town of Flogetty
    • Walked out to the Fairy Pools
  • Back in Aberdeen, we spent a day touring around the countryside, seeing standing stones and other amazing points of interest.
  • We spent another day back in Aberdeen exploring the city – seeing Greta’s office, visiting shops, and walking through some amazing museums

 

A Saturday at home – firewood and brisket – 07-Dec-2019

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Saturday, 07-Dec-2019

 

Today, we stayed home and puttered around.

Not really the normal theme to one of my blog posts, huh?  Yeah… well, you know what?  Sometimes, it’s important to celebrate the little things in life, like cleaning up the bedroom and cooking a nice meal.

 

So I cleaned up the bedroom and cooked a nice meal.  I also cleaned, stacked, and split a ton of firewood!

First things first, cleaning the house.  Pretty boring, but I did enjoy the chance to go through some of our closets and clear out the various odds and ends that’ve accumulated over the years… I even found the old Kayak ornament that Daniel and Erin had given me years back!

The most energetic item on the list was firewood – We accepted delivery of half a cord of firewood in the morning, which unfortunately included about two yard-waste bins full of detrius… but before I could get to cleaning that out, the first order of business was prepping the garage to store that much wood.

It didn’t take long, thankfully, and after a quick re-arrangement of the storage area I was able to put down a few rails to stack the wood onto.  Then the process of cleaning out the bark and detrius, and selecting the “Happy Logs” to form the end towers… it was fun.  It was really fun – it was raining out, I was kind of tired, but I felt amazing.  I’ve missed the simple joy of stacking firewood, and the feeling of accomplishment I got by looking at the nicely stacked and organized wood was a huge boost to the day.  I even sequestered the larger logs out, so that they’d be easily accessable to split and add on top of the rest!

 

Between cleaning, stacking, splitting, and selecting, I was cooking.  Brisket is a beautiful recipe, because its enjoyably complex but not hugely time consuming… it just needs good timing and a bit of effort.  I had my alarms, and every time I stepped back into the house it smelled more and more like that perfect smoked meat scent.  And when all the chores were done, and everything was cleaned up and put away?  Sarah and I had an amazing meal together.

 

It was an excellent weekend.

 

Link to Brisket Recipe, for those who may be curious…

http://www.foodnetwork.co.uk/recipe/texas-oven-roasted-beef-brisket-keyword.html?utm_source=foodnetwork.com&utm_medium=domestic

Exploring Newbury volcanic monument, in Bend! 13-Oct-2019

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Sunday, 13-October-2019

 

We visited Bend again!

Sarah’s friends were in town, and were interested in checking out Bend – they’ve been living in the Southern East Coast for a while, and are starting to get a little tired of the long driving and sticky weather… and since they both went to school in Oregon, Bend is one of the spots they’re looking at.  Since we’d been pretty hectic and crazy, Sarah went down with them to explore and wander the city.

I was able to make it down on Saturday evening, and then on Sunday Sarah and I got to do some exploring while they checked out houses – Instead of going North of Bend like we normally do, we headed South, to Newbury Volcanic Monument!

Yep, that’s pretty much in.  Enjoy the pictures, because they’re awesome!