Thursday, June 20, 2013

Back to blogging - An itinerary for a visit to Scotland

I guess you've noticed that I haven't written in a while, or maybe you haven't. My friend, Kristi, was here for a two-week visit, and then I needed almost a week to recover, catch up with friends, and get my house restocked and back in order. This left me questioning the importance of blogging. Is it a worthwhile time investment? I don't make any money from this. I rarely hear from people, so it's not like it's helping me to really connect with others. What do I get out of this? I've identified one simple answer: It's a journal. No, I don't really share many of my personal details, so it's not that kind of journal, but I guess it will serve the purpose of preserving memories for myself and my family one day. With that said, Kristi and I had a wonderful time. Instead of posting all of our pictures (over 500), I put together a slide show of the best pictures that also lists where we were at the time. Here is an overview of what we did:

Sunday: Walk through Kirkhill Forest to stretch legs after the plane ride. Dinner at my house.

Monday: Slains Castle and the Bullers of Buchan walk in Cruden Bay. Dinner at Nargile in Aberdeen.

Tuesday: To Stonehaven to see Dunnottar Castle (Allow a couple of hours to explore). Then, we ate a late lunch at The Bay Fish and Chips followed by ice cream at Auntie Betty's next door. We took our ice cream with us as we walked around the harbour. We stopped for a beer at The Marine Hotel and took it outside to enjoy.

Wednesday: The Victorian Heritage Trail - We followed in Queen Victoria's footsteps in Royal Deeside and explored Scotland's crowning glory! Our stops included (some weren't part of the trail but were on the way to the next landmark so we stopped!):

  • Crathes Castle
  • Drum Castle (although it was under repair)
  • Queens View
  • Tomnaverie Stone Circle
  • Cambus O'May
  • Ballater for lunch
  • Balmoral Castle
  • Loch Muick

Thursday: We went shopping around Aberdeen, and then went out to The Globe and the Triple Kirks pub.

Friday: Mah-jongg with the ladies. Then we drove down the A96 past The Pitstop (closed.. boo) to see the Brandsbutt Pictish stone and then to Daviot for the Loanhead of Daviot stone circle. Coffee and cake at Touched by Scotland. Went to The Grill for a taste of whiskey that night.

Saturday: Drove to Edinburgh and parked at a park and ride lot for free. We paid £1.50 each to ride the bus into town. Allow an hour for this if you are arriving during peak hours. It was worth it though to not have to drive down town and pay excessive prices for hard-to-find parking. In Edinburgh we saw:
  • The Elephant Cafe (Where JK Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book)
  • Edinburgh Castle (Give yourself about 4 hours for this if you plan to spend time in the museums in the castle)
  • Walked around looking at street vendors
  • Dinner at Under the Stairs
Sunday: Walked up Clachnaben. We packed a lunch, but it's not necessary. It can be quite cool at the top so bring some layers! Dogs must be on leashes most of the time due to sheep.

Monday: Flew to London. GET AN OYSTER CARD for the tube. We walked around looking at shops and to Trafalgar Square. We stayed at The Ampersand Hotel, which was amazing. That night we ate dinner at Wahaca! Finally, some good Mexican food in the UK.

Tuesday: We saw:
  • The British Museum
  • Tower Bridge (and went on the tour)
  • Tower of London (the tour was really expensive so we didn't go inside)
  • Met Debbie and explored Harrods! They have a chocolate shop and entire grocery store in there that is complete with bars to sit at where they will cook you a steak or lobster! 
  • Ate dinner at Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese and sat at a table that had written on the wall that Charles Dickens sat there often.
  • The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
  • Westminster Abbey (tour was worth the cost)
  • The London Eye (although we didn't ride because it's expensive, and I was told it's not worth it, especially on cloudy days)
  • Went to the Royal Opera House to see Mayerling. If you go, do it right and book a table for dinner. You can come back to your table (and treats and drinks) during each intermission!
Thursday: We hopped on the tube to King's Cross Station so that we could see Platform 9 3/4 from the Harry Potter films. We got our picture taken pushing the buggy through the wall! You can take your own picture or buy the one they take. We did both. Then we checked out the Harry Potter shop. Afterwards, we went to Piccadilly Circus. I've never been to NY City, but Kristi said it looked very similar, giant screen included. We picked up some steamed buns in Chinatown and headed back to the hotel to check out! That night, we took Kristi to The Albyn to have her first plate of haggis, neeps, and tatties! She said she liked it. It IS good stuff if it's done correctly.

Now you can see why I needed almost a week to recover. We were busy! I had such a wonderful time! Here is the slideshow.


  1. Replies
    1. Yeah... get ready for some serious coffee drinking with your visit!

    2. I've been preparing for the beer haha

  2. Keep Posting,I am sure we all appreciate your taking the time and trouble. Take care

  3. Hi Kristal,
    My husband and I are transplanting to Aberdeen from Texas in September. Your blog has been amazingly helpful to me and I hope You continue to write!

  4. Great itinerary! And blogging is a great way to archive this adventure you're on. It's time consuming and at times can seem trivial, but you have no clue how many people you're actually impacting, and you'll never regret having all of these memories documented. It's like scrapbooking for the digital age:)

  5. Thanks so much for all of your kind words and encouragement! People long ago used to keep journals and document things so well. I've tried writing in one, but I always lose interest. With this, I continue to write AND I can post pictures, so I agree, it is a good way to document memories. So glad to hear that some of my rambling has been useful!

    Linsey, how exciting! Feel free to contact me with any questions! I think if you search the blog with keywords such as, "packing", "shipment", "bandwidth", "cell phone", and "shop" to name a few, it might give you some ideas for things.

  6. How do you make the video!???? I should totally do this rather than posting 8 million pictures on each of my blog posts!

    1. I used iPhoto to make a slide show. I added music. Then I exported it to a Quicktime file, which took many hours.


I am happy to hear from you!