It’s been a busy summer!
In April and May, John and I vacationed in Europe for a few weeks. We traipsed all over Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, England and Scotland. We had a grand time and I am still basking in the memories.
As soon as we got back it was time for my birthday and Mother’s Day festivities. Turning 59 was a delight surrounded by my husband and kids.
June started out with John’s birthday celebration, and rolled right into one busy weekend after another.
We rode up the coast to San Simeon and looked for Moonstones, hiked a few local trails and went to the beach a lot.
A trip up to San Francisco was necessary for John’s work and we even got to see his brother on his birthday. That was fun.
By the end of the month we were still in birthday mode with my granddaughter’s and son’s back to back birthdays I think I had my share of cake that month.
July started off with a bang, and not the fireworks kind. We helped my oldest son pack up his belongings and move up to Oregon. We got to stay on the Rogue River and enjoy the views and quiet time, between unpacking and setting up.
It was a fun trip, but we had to rush back to help out another son. So I ended up heading North again soon after. I spent a week away from home seeing my girlfriend, and helping my son settle into his new home.
I drove home through thick smoke with half of Oregon and California on fire, getting back home just in time to have our granddaughters for 10 days of fun.
Last weekend we spent a little time reconnecting with a bike trip up to Avila Beach. We had a great time on that big beamer and hiking around Pirates Cove.
So this weekend… it’s time to just be lazy before summer is gone.
I hope you take time to enjoy these last lazy days of summer.
While planning our trip to Scotland, I had some areas that were top on my list. Edinburgh did not make the list. But after visiting John’s cousins, who all proclaimed it to be a must see, we made the decision to spend our last day in Scotland in the capital city.
Arriving before noon, we were able to park the car at our hotel, and walk into the city to see the sights. We ended up hopping on a local bus and got off at King George V Memorial Park.
If we hadn’t looked like tourists before, we sure did in that moment.
The Highlands offer so many options to visit, and Cairngorm National Park was a must see for us.
The drive from Culloden to Coylumbridge was just over an hour away, and filled with beautiful scenery. Arriving at our hotel, we walked around a bit, had a light dinner and a quiet evening in. I got online and found what I thought would be a great hike for us for the next day.
After a restful evening, we found the path to the Craigellachie Nature Reserve. It wasn’t easy to find the place! Following Google’s map, we crossed over the spot several times from the main road, never seeing a sign.
So we parked in Aviemore and looked up the local information center. Armed with a map, we were sure to find the entrance to the park, and be on with our hike. But instead we found ourselves standing on a lane, looking every bit the tourists we were as we studied the map to find our way. Continue reading
We drove into Inverness from Loch Ness, right into an area of the city that was at first glance, disappointing. It felt stark and dirty and busy and I was worried this was going to be a place I wouldn’t want to stay.
We parked the car at a mall, and found a little place to have a bowl of soup and decide what to do next. I found a couple of B&B’s close by, so we walked around to take a look. Climbing up a hill, I spotted the river to our right and a big old hotel right across from it.
That’s where I wanted to stay.
The Colquhoun Clan’s motto and crest is one that, at first sight, I thought was kind of … well, weird. Si Je Puis, translates to “If I can”. That sounds pretty vague to me. And at the center of the crest there is a red stag, with its tongue hanging out…also kind of strange.
Knowing rain and cold weather was ahead of us later in the week, we headed out early Monday morning in search of Clan Colquhoun on the banks of Loch Lomond.
My sister spent several years researching our ancestry and found our Great, Great Grandmother Mary Colhoun’s family was from the Colquhoun Clan.
Wanting to get a sense of family history, I did a little research and found the Clan was located in the town of Luss on Loch Lomond.
On our way there, we stopped at a few castles that the Clan had governed over. The first was Dunglass, which we could just barely see from a stop along the road. The castle was not open for public viewing, so we marched ourselves on to Dumbarton Castle.
That place was amazing!
I hope you aren’t expecting any advice here, because I hate packing for a trip.
I agonize over what to bring and not bring. I try on all of my clothes to see how I feel in each outfit, and a bunch end up on the floor. I’ve tried to pick outfits that will mix and match with each other, but I’m not very good at it.
Shopping before the trip – exhausting!
It seems that I inevitably bring either way too much or not enough clothes. And don’t even get me started on shoes. How do I decide which ones to bring?
I used to tell myself I couldn’t afford to go on a vacation abroad. And you know what? I was right.
Whatever we tell ourselves, it’s true.
Well, at least to the point of believing limitations should stop one from going on a dream vacation. So, I decided to change my thinking.
I now believe I can go anywhere in the world.
If you are like me, that question can be a strange one to answer. Are you asking where I was born? Or maybe where I grew up? Perhaps where I live now?
Or are you asking about my heritage?
Some people are lucky enough to know exactly where they come from; like my husband, for instance. His family is from Ireland, and he is first generation American.
He knows for generations back where grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and second cousins and distant cousins are all “from”. And he also sort of takes it for granted. Continue reading
One of the problems with living in sunny Santa Barbara is… it’s almost always sunny. All that sunshine makes me want to be outside playing. And all that playing makes it difficult to get other things done.
Like planning a trip or working on a fundraiser.
This morning’s cool marine layer gives us the perfect opportunity to stay in and get some work done. While John strategies about how to raise funds for victims of the Thomas Fire and Flood, I’m looking for tours of Clan Colquhoun Castle in Scotland.
If you look over on the right, there’s a link to click on and donate for John’s fundraiser, if you can. And if you know anything about Scotland or Clan Colquhoun, let me know. We could use your help.
I hope your weekend planning is off to a good start.
My husband and I get to travel around a fair amount. He has a job on the road now, so every once in a while I tag along and we end up in interesting places, like Long Beach, California. Right now I’m on The Queen Mary writing this. It no longer sets sail, but resides dockside as a hotel.