Tag Archives: Aberdeen

A Scotland Adventure – Part 11, The journey home

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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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Saturday, 04-Jan-2020

 

The end of the adventure went a bit more smoothly than the start, though not quite as easily as we would have hoped… But that’s okay.  Sometimes a bit of a challenge comes up at the last minute – but that doesn’t undo all of the good that happened before.

We left Aberdeen bright and early on Saturday.  Or, early on Saturday, at least… it wasn’t quite late enough in the day for it to be bright out.  One of the downsides of life way up in the North of Scotland.  The weather was lovely though, and Bill and Greta had coffee and snacks waiting for us as soon as we came downstairs.  Not a bad morning, not a bad morning at all.

Our first few flights were easy; no worries and no hassles at all, except for what amazing meal to request, or what weird movie to check out.  It was nice, and gloriously relaxing.

Unfortunately, the flight from San Francisco out to Portland ran into a bit of a challenge – or more accurately, we ran into a challenge getting to the flight.  Getting into the EU from the States is beautifully simple; you walk through the gate, an automated kiosk checks you in, bing bang boom.  Getting back INTO the States, though… that’s a bit different story.

Our flight had landed a little bit later than planned, if I recall correctly, and that little bit was just enough to push it over the edge.  When Customs and Border security was slower than normal, that was the nail in the coffin, and our flight took off with us still trying to get checked back in.  Fortunately there were two more flights to Portland leaving SFO that same evening… unfortunately, they weren’t leaving for almost eight more hours.

So we waited for eight hours, then flew home.

We were excited to see our own bed by that point, I tell you what.  But you know what?  A little challenge at the end of a trip doesn’t make it any less of an excellent trip.  The good experiences we had, and the amazing photos that we took home with us more than make up for any delays in flights or airline battles.

 

A Scotland Adventure – Part 10, Aberdeen the second

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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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Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, 01 through 03-Jan-2020

 

After returning to Skye, we ate pizza.

Seriously – we had Dominos!  It was really cool, getting to see an American staple in the UK… it was different, to be sure, but in a lot of subtle ways… different general crust styles, different names for topping sets, that sort of thing.  Overarchingly though, it wasn’t different in any major ways.  Definitely not different enough that it wasn’t the perfect food to have after a long day on the road.

 

Our last few days in Scotland were pretty low key, and extremely relaxing.  A good rest before heading back to the hectic energy of the States, you know?

We did get up to a few good adventures though – both in Aberdeen, and around the surrounding countryside!

 

In Aberdeen itself, we spent some time city-ing, walking around and seeing the sights.  Of major note were the Maritime Museum and the Tollhouse museum – both of which gave really interesting backgrounds on the history of Aberdeen, and the entire surrounding area.

The Tollhouse museum focused more on the city itself, and how it grew and flourished from feudal times into the current era.  It was really cool seeing some of the old artifacts, but one quick spoiler to anyone going to visit?  Look out for the mannequins!

 

We didn’t just spend time in Aberdeen, though – on Thursday, we headed out into the country!  We got some views in, some nice hiking, and even saw a really cool old cattle rustling hideout!  I don’t know if I should technically use that term, since it’s Scotland and not the Wild West, but the idea is the same – it was a really cool geological formation where old-timey thieves would hide their take.

A quick summary of the places we explored:

    • Queens View
    • Tomnaverie Stone Circle
    • Muir of Dinnet – Burn O’Vat area (This is the Rustling spot!)
    • Lunch at The Boat Inn – A really cool small Scottish inn, with an excellent BLT!
    • Glen Tanar & St. Lesmo’s chapel
    • Hairy Coos!
    • Cullerlie Stone Circle!

 

A Scotland Adventure – Part 3, Aberdeen the first

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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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Tuesday, 24-Dec-2019 and Wednesday, 25-Dec-2019

 

Our visit started with a trip to Sainsbury’s.

I mean, not really.  It started with a lovely evening visiting with Greta and Bill, and then an amazing breakfast with the whole family the next morning.  After all of that, though, we headed out and got Sarah the fix that she’d been craving for three years – Sainsbury’s butter chicken takeaway.  Seriously, I think Sarah may possibly like that takeaway better than me… not that I blame her, of course.  It’s freaking amazing.

 

Aside from the grocery run, our first few days in Scotland were gloriously relaxed – very much appreciated after the hectic end to 2019 that we’d been having with work and projects. We visited, caught up with everyone, and enjoyed being able to sit back and relax.

For Christmas Eve, we went back to St. Maccar’s cathedral in Aberdeen – it looked exactly like we remembered it from last time, and even though we’d seen it before it was no less awe inspiring to see such a massive building carved from equally huge granite stones.

The service was lovely, but one fun item of note actually happened afterward, when we were walking back to the car.  The path to the cathedral itself isn’t lit, and as we left the building we saw two lovely little old ladies tottering their way down the unlit path, trying their best to carefully walk over the uneven cobblestones.  I don’t know who got to them first – Greta or myself, offering our arms, or Sarah and Henry shining their flashlights to illuminate the path.

Whomever got their first, the results were excellent – we made it to our car, and the ladies made it to theirs.  All unharmed, and with us all feeling good that we’d helped them out, and them feeling happy that we’d so enthusiastically zipped by to help.

 

Christmas day was equally relaxing, with the traditional Lydecker breakfast of waffles and bacon being served up with the always-excellent nespresso lattes.  Following Christmas morning unwrapping of presents, we rested a bit more before heading out on a quick jaunt to the beach to sight-see and bird-watch.

We even happened to arrive at exactly the perfect time to see a whole pod of harbor porpoises hunting!  Thankfully, Bill had brought binoculars along, so we were able to see the porpoises circling and jumping as they chased after whatever school of fish they were hunting… it was amazing, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it before.

The rest of the day?  There really wasn’t much, actually – one of the downsides of being so far North is the impressively short days.  Not a problem though, since we had just enough board games, and an excellent dinner, to keep us entertained.