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Posts from the ‘Scotland’ Category

The road to Turkey

It was the day after dad’s birthday with a big day of travel ahead – but not all together. Dad and I were off to Turkey and mum was heading to the Newcastle area. We would all meet up in Manchester in a few days.

About to leave the b&b

Turkey is perhaps an odd side trip to make in the midst of UK travels. It has been a long time goal of mine to go to Gallipoli because of its significance to NZ’s identity and also because of my interest in military conflict history. I decided to take the opportunity of tacking it to this trip somehow, especially as Mike has already been.

With the way the Scotland/England itinerary was shaping up, I would either have to take an extra week off work and go to Turkey at the beginning or end, or find some way of wedging it into the UK stuff. The latter it was: after St Andrews mum wanted to stay with a friend and this was an opportunity for me to shoot off.

While tossing around these plans, mum mentioned that dad seemed interested about seeing Gallipoli too. Long story short, he and I would ditch mum for five nights to go to Turkey. I would shout him the Gallipoli segment of this adventure for his birthday. Done.

So on May 4th we left St Andrews, initially just for Leuchars not far away. There we turfed out mum at the train station where she would organise to get down to Newcastle. Dad and I continued north in their rental car.

Our Turkey flight was leaving from Manchester later in the day and an internal flight was the best way to get to Manchester. The only workable option for this was to fly from Aberdeen, a bit over two hours away.

I had taken over our TomTom and just on this first day it proved its worth. Dario Franchitti was calling out the directions which was appropriate since he is Scottish.

We made it in good time. This would be as far north as I would go on this trip

It all went pretty clockwork. We dropped the car off, caught the first hour-long flight and made it to Manchester with time to kill. Going through the UK airports we twice experienced the drill of removing jackets, shoes, belts, as well as the usual things that go through the security check.

A lengthy wait here in Manchester. They even weighed hand luggage

The flight to Istanbul was with Turkish Airlines and took less than four hours.

Dad couldn’t sit still in any of my photo attempts

It was around 11pm when we arrived and walking into the arrivals area was a bit overwhelming: big crowd of people and dozens of cards being held up for people being met. I was looking for one such card and had to walk up and down a couple of times before finding our driver. It seemed a 20-30 minute drive to our hotel and for the time of day it was busy – though it was Friday night. And the city has a population approaching 20 million people. That’s big.

At our hotel, around midnight by now, we found we had to walk over to their sister hotel as we’d been moved due to a group booking or some such. This worked in our favour as it was much nicer.

Finally we were there and four busy days lay ahead.

Celebrating Dad’s 70th in St Andrews

The timing was such that dad would turn 70 while away. I intended to meet up with them for this occasion and so the question was, where would an appropriate place be to go? Mum and dad had a few days in Scotland planned sometime during the UK chapter and mum suggested dad might like to go to St Andrews. Having been a keen golfer for 20+ years, and seeing as St Andrews is where the game originated not to mention the golfing mecca for players, this was a pretty easy decision.

While in favour of the idea, dad wasn’t actually bothered to organise to play there. While you can hire clubs it may have meant packing shoes and as a one off activity on the trip, it probably seemed too much hassle.

Fast forward to birthday morning, 3rd May. After breakfast and whatnot our first mission of the day was shopping related. We found a golf shop in the Links clubhouse where dad wanted to buy a shirt. This was a bit of a challenge but I reckon he chose well.

Along from the clubhouse and on its roof are good views across to the Old Course and the Old Course Hotel, as well as a couple of the other courses. There are 10 courses in St Andrews.

Looking over to the Old Course Hotel where we’d be dining that night

Nicely mown yet bumpy green paddocks – I was surprised how barren the general location is with gorse bushes and the lumpy terrain. I guess that proves how little I knew about St Andrews before arriving

He wasn’t going to be playing but it was enough of a kick just seeing it all in the flesh

Weather vane, useful because of the exposed coastal location

Golf trundler next to a fountain commemorating Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee in 1897, the year in which the Jubilee Course opened

We parked in one of the free carparks in town and continued on foot. Not far away, dad veered into a shop to buy golf shoes and look at more shirts. Dunno about you, but there’s only so long I can browse in a golf shop. But it can’t be that often that a bloke especially the likes of dad is actually excited to go shopping. So I think he did pretty well out of birthday gifts to himself.

We halted the golf theme while we saw some of the other sites, as noted in my last post.

Mum and dad in front of the cathedral outer wall, which extends for about 1km

Lunch was some pretty heavy duty fish and chips at the harbour overlooking East Sands beach

But sure as eggs we gravitated back to the golfing end of town.

We were surprised to find that you can walk across the course (so we did)

If you follow golf you probably know this feature. If you’re like me you simply admire that it’s a cute little concrete bridge. It is very historic, being of Roman design, and was originally part of a path from the town, long before golf arrived. All golfers seem to line up for a photo here before continuing on

Dad in front of the 18th on the Old Course; Old Course Hotel at the rear. (The exposure came out strange hence my heavy manipulation!)

While having a nosey at the West Sands beach end we watched some combat jets take off in the distance from Leuchars Airforce Base

I left mum and dad to it while I hogged some Starbucks wifi and when they picked me up it was time to go back to the b&b and get ready for dinner. Before the trip I had booked us into the Road Hole restaurant in the Old Course Hotel, which sounded a bit fancy and a suitable place for a celebration meal. Unfortunately for dad this meant carting around a dress jacket and shoes for the trip. Deary me.

We’re hungry, let’s go

On the way we went for a brief tiki tour around some of the nearby courses before arriving at the hotel. We had a drink in the bar first.

My first drink of the trip. Mum and dad on the other hand had visited Glenfiddich Distillery earlier in the day for a tour and tasting

Looks a bit like they’re dressed for dinner in the lounge at home?

The restaurant has a great location on the top floor of the hotel and looks out over the Old Course. The food was great but it was the engaging staff who really lifted the quality of the evening.

On the menu was a Loch Kyle oyster dish. As my brother is Kyle, that’s the entree mum had to have. Can’t help but think there’s something a bit disturbing about that…

Whatever it was we ordered (that was so last week hence completely forgotten) it was delicious

The mentions of it being dad’s birthday resulted in this at the end of the meal which was a nice touch

A nice ending to the day and most importantly, dad enjoyed himself. It was nice having a family celebration for this birthday (his 60th was a big party) and it was just a shame that my brother wasn’t able to be there as well.

There’s one more milestone birthday to come on this trip… who could that be for I wonder?

St Andrews: great for non-golfers too!

After Edinburgh the plan was to head a bit further north to meet mum and dad in St Andrews. Or, more precisely, the nearby town of Leuchars which has a railway station. I was looking forward to another albeit short train journey.

From the train at the North Queensferry end of the rail bridge (which I had toured under the day before) looking back at the Forth road bridge

But it was not a day for predictable travel plans. Mum and dad were the best part of three hours late, but that didn’t matter as the train turfed me (and others) out about half way to where I needed to go. They (Scotrail) didn’t explain why but possibly because we were late leaving Edinburgh. Anyhoo – I was denied another half hour of train travel and instead got a paid-for taxi ride. As there was just me in the car, the driver kindly took me to St Andrews rather than the supposed destination Leuchars. There I caught another cab to the b&b which required me to pretty much give that driver directions!

It was a nice choice of b&b and a very comfy place to wait for mum and dad while I caught up on some blog stuff. After they eventually arrived and settled in we went out for dinner.

At the very nice West Port Bar & Kitchen

There was no time left in that day to start looking around St Andrews so that fell to the following day. We were only in town for two nights so there was a lot to pack in – probably more than I appreciated. And that was because I quickly saw that St Andrews is far more than just golf.

The next day was dad’s birthday and there was no coincidence that we were in St Andrews. But I will post separately about that and the four-letter-g-word.

We drove into town and after some deviations to have a look at some large green spaces, parked and went on walkabout. It was clear just by driving around how historic the town is and this becomes more clear when you take everything in at walking pace.

It reminded me a bit of the small Belgian towns Mike and I saw on the Western Front

So many buildings invited photos and I couldn’t really restrain myself

St Andrews Harbour

East Sands, the beach beside St Andrews harbour

Dad was inviting trouble by throwing out lunch morsels for the predatory seagulls

The highlight for me was the large site encompassing big extensive historic wall enclosure, St Andrews Cathedral and other ruins, and a massive graveyard. I could have spent ages wandering around taking photos but instead condensed that into about 20 frenetic minutes. The Historic Scotland website says the cathedral is “Scotland’s largest and most magnificent medieval church”. The package of stuff to see really is impressive.

Peek-a-boo through the wall to St Rule’s Tower

The 12th century St Andrews Cathedral is a fantastic structure even in its ruinous state

St Rule’s Tower again

Part of the massive graveyard around the cathedral

Further round the coastline from the harbour, looking toward St Andrews Castle

The ruins of St Andrews Castle on the sea front. Having just been to the fabulous cathedral ruins for free and on our limited schedule we didn’t see the need to pay to go in for a closer look

The expansive West Sands beach

Since I was keen to find spring flowers on my travels, the odd flower photo will pop up. St Andrews provided these bluebells

There was more I could have seen but I had some internet catch-up to do so spent a couple of hours at good old Starbucks. The evening’s activities will be picked up in the next post and the next morning we were underway early. It wasn’t long enough – between the lovely b&b and the historic features of the town, I think three days in St Andrews would have been ideal.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle is Scotland’s number one tourist attraction and well who was I to buck that trend. In typical Hayley fashion I booked a ticket in advance since I had worked out when I could fit it into my limited time in the city.

I made my way up to the castle via the Princes St gardens and arrived at the entrance about quarter of an hour before opening.

This way to the castle! Top of the Royal Mile

Well hello there

Works in progress on the esplanade for the Edinburgh Military Tattoo in August (seems like they’ve got a decent lead time!). Would love to go to the Tattoo one day.

The advance ticket and time of day was the way to go as there were only a few other punters and a group of school children around. I was in fact the first person through the gate and up to the top – a notable achievement according to the kilted Scotsman who helped organise the gate queues.

Through the Portcullis Gate looking back along the cobblestone road originally built to transport canons

The uphill road leads to Foog’s Gate and the main building shown used to be a water reservoir

St. Margaret’s Chapel, built in 12th century and the oldest surviving building in Edinburgh

I wandered around, mainly focusing on the outside features. It was another balmy single-digit Edinburgh day so there wasn’t much stopping in one place for long.

The Half Moon Battery

View over the Argyle Battery

A panorama experiment with the Autostitch app on my phone

Cemetery for soldiers’ dogs

The stand out feature for me was the Scottish National War Memorial, quite possibly the best national war memorial that I’ve seen. Photos aren’t permitted in there out of respect.

The superb Scottish National War Memorial

Wreaths outside from the Anzac Day service held there. A smaller number of wreaths were Inside and included one from the Government and people of NZ.

Rear of the war memorial

I wasn’t in the mood to linger around the buildings with inside exhibits so swept through those, hence an absence of that kind of photo. You could certainly pad out your visit to the castle by following the audio guide and visiting the regimental museums on site, but I think I was done in about 90 minutes and that’s only because I was fluffing around taking photos.

From one of the windows inside the Great Hall

There is still a military presence but the purpose of the castle has changed so other things have changed with it

You can’t help but notice all the different cobblestone patterns. Well I couldn’t at least

Glad to have seen it, don’t need to go back – other than for the Tattoo one day, I hope!

Arthur’s Seat – a worthwhile slog

One goal for my stay in Edinburgh was to make it up to the highly recommended lookout point, a hill called Arthur’s Seat. Located in Holyrood Park, Arthur’s Seat is accompanied by another striking natural feature which I was not familiar with before arriving, Salisbury Crags. They are easily seen in some parts of the city.

Arthur’s Seat in the centre, Salisbury Crags at far right

After the Forth bridges tour ended I had a couple of hours before a Skype appointment with home. This didn’t give me much time but it was my opportunity to do the walk so I strode off into and through the old town, slicing through the meandering herds of tourists.

I reached the bottom of the park and took the left trail, whereupon the uphill ascent began, gradually at first but steepening. It was a puffy old climb but the inevitable photo stops provided some relief.

After a final upward push I was there, a bit surprised that it had only taken half an hour. But once there it wasn’t somewhere to linger on account of the strong cold wind.

Made it

My scary windblown look

View across the Salisbury Crags ridge

Since I was OK for time I decided to take a different path back down to also give me a better look at the Salisbury Crags. This was steep so I was glad I went up the other side.

You can either walk the ridge above the cliffs or the trail below the cliffs and I chose the latter. The rockface (caused by a glacier) is striking and the views are excellent.

Path along the base of the Salisbury Crags

Back at my starting point I didn’t want to muck around getting back to my accommodation so I consulted the map and with my recently acquired local knowledge I took a ‘short cut’.

All was well, for a while. After a bit I began to suspect that I was in fact walking in the opposite direction, and then this was confirmed. Blonde! Eventually I got my bearings and saw with dismay where I was. There was nothing else for it but to continue on foot.

But when I remembered that I had the Skype app on my phone, and since I had a prepay data plan on my UK number, I was able to keep my Skype appointment. Technology is great.

By the time I had returned to base (and up all those stairs) I was truly knackered. It was a great walk and a great way to round out the day. My legs would remind me of my efforts for the next couple of days so I can only conclude I’m getting soft in my old age.

Tour on the Firth of Forth

This tour sounded interesting and was a good opportunity to get a little bit out of the city. From the same departure point on Waverley Bridge it was a 45 minute bus ride out to South Queensferry.

I didn’t delve into much pre-reading about the tour other than to grasp there was a boat ride and there was something about bridges across the Forth River.

As we neared South Queensferry suddenly this big red metal structure loomed. This was the rail bridge and it was immediately clear why they make a big deal of it. We pulled up near the pier and I then saw the big road bridge, a little further to the west. It was quite a striking sight.

To the right the rail bridge, to the left the road bridge, and straight ahead our tour boat

The rail bridge

The bridges play a major role in joining north and south Scotland on the east coast. The cantilevered rail bridge came first in 1890 and is 2.5km long. 70 years later the road bridge was opened. This tour would travel under both bridges and further out into the Firth of Forth – where the Forth River meets the North Sea.

The dozen or so of us on the tour shuffled from the bus down the pier to the boat.

Table top inside the boat!

We circuited under the road bridge first, then the rail bridge and beyond.

The road bridge

Cold? Yes just a teensy bit

The firth has a number of islands, two of which we saw fairly close up. This was the first.

The tiny island of Inchgarvie, below the rail bridge, has fortifications from a long long long time ago. In its day its position was very strategic. In the 1500s it was used to quarantine people with certain diseases

And this was the second. Inchcolm Island looked fascinating and if I could’ve jumped off for an hour I would’ve. It has a mix of ruins from several centuries ago to World War II.

Inchcolm has a fabulous 12th century abbey

Observation post from WWII on Inchcolm Island.

Rear view of the abbey

Other firth features…

The very large oil delivery platform called Hound Point. Crude oil is piped to here from the North Sea

Lighthouse in the Firth of Forth with Edinburgh behind

Grey seals taking it easy

As well as seals we were told to keep an eye out for puffins. Which I did, though didn’t really know what I was supposed to be looking for. As it turned out they were feeling a bit shy on this day.

We headed back. The tour commentary said that there were estimates of around 500 wrecks lying at the bottom of those waters. 500!

On the return run from Inchcolm to South Queensferry

Houses in South Queensferry near the tour departure point. Across the river is North Queensferry. Coming from NZ, this is an excellent naming scheme

All in all, worthwhile. And I didn’t connect the dots but I would be travelling across the rail bridge the next day when I was to catch a train to head north.

Edinburgh wrap-up (part 2)

On this big day of seeing the sights I stopped for lunch in an old town area called Grassmarket.

The Grassmarket, so named because between the 1400s and early 1900s it used to be the main marketplace for cattle and other grass eating animals. Public executions were also conducted there. The round thing that people are sitting on in the foreground is the former site of the gallows

Cowgate is a street down which cows used to be herded to the markets

Just something I liked

You could spend hours walking around. Edinburgh is so historical and fascinating and I confess to knowing very little about that before arriving. From stone buildings to massive churches to cemeteries to cobblestone roads to little alleyways and courts. There is a big tourism influence with the shops and restaurants and the nature of many of them, but there is still plenty about the place that is authentic.

One of the many little historic access ways, called closes

Gate to one of the old town cemeteries. Didn’t go through this one but did a couple of others and they could be my favourite feature of the city. For taking photos at least.

Quick snap from the bus of buildings on the property of the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The palace is the Queen’s official residence in Scotland though I didn’t stop here. Not sure what these buildings are.

St Cuthbert’s Parish Church

St Cuthbert’s Cemetery

Celtic cross also from the St Cuthbert’s Cemetery- loved wandering around here!

The buildings are constructed mainly from sandstone. This turns dark grey over time and one of the tour commentaries said the buildings do not get washed because sandstone is not permanent; eventually it will revert back to sand, and washing would only speed up that process.

In contrast to all that stone, the blossoms were a nice surprise with many trees about the place still looking gorgeous. The Meadows, a large green space with historical significance (mind you just about everything in Edinburgh is historically significant), had beautiful tree lined lanes.

One of the gorgeous blossoming lanes in The Meadows

The Meadows again

Edinburgh is a city under construction at the moment, what with big upgrade at the train station (the second busiest in Scotland), streets being ripped up for tram lines, and the preparations at the castle esplanade for the military tattoo and festival stuff in a few month, the place was a bit of a mess. Which made for distractions when trying to compose photos.

To fill in a little bit of time before the last tour of the day I climbed the Scot monument, a large gothic tower thing on the corner of Waverly Bridge and Princes St. I’m not a fan of heights, yet I appreciate a good lookout point. They have an extra bit of a carrot to draw in the tourists – the £3 admission also gives you a certificate. Along with height issues, I’m also not fantastic with small spaces. And the stairwell was very tight and winding. Very relieved I didn’t meet anyone coming the other way. I didn’t actually make it right to the top as was concerned I may miss the tour departure time… hence I altered my certificate…

One of the stained glass windows part way up inside the Scott monument

My certificate for walking almost to the top

After the tour out to the River Forth I walked up to a fantastic lookout point over the city. Both these activities will be in separate posts. Suffice to say I was knackered at the end of all that and inhaled takeaways for dinner from that famous chain of ‘Scottish restaurants’.

This morning after a repeat of the previous day’s breakfast, I checked out but left the bags with them for a few hours. After more meandering through the gardens, I headed up for a date with the castle. That will also be posted separately.

There were a few more things I wanted to see before my dalliance with the city came to an end. This was conducted in a fairly leisurely manner as I felt quite poked after the big walk yesterday. More gardens, parks, bridges, cemeteries, yet more castle pictures and then that was it! I collected bags and trundled back to the station. It was time to head a little way north and meet up with mum and dad.

I noticed a couple of these blue boxes around the city and liked this one underneath the tree (shame about the construction going on behind). Have now read that they are/were called police boxes and are where beat officers used to be based from before times changed and the boxes were phased out roughly in the 1970s

Charlotte Square, closed all year except for when an annual book fair is held

Edinburgh skyline looking up to Calton Hill

I really enjoyed Edinburgh. It felt quite harsh to begin with – unfamiliar, freezing, grey and dull – but I grew fond of it. Would be happy to return there some day.

Edinburgh wrap-up (part 1)

In real time my 48 hour visit to Edinburgh finished yesterday. I got around as much as I could. How to dissect it all up into blog stuff has been a geeky dilemma. A few experiences make sense to treat separately and the rest I’m going to lump into what was going to be one big post but which will now be two. There are sooooooo many photos and not oodles of time to sort them so it won’t be a perfect summary.

Anyway, now that I have finally found some internet access in St Andrews (and what a painful exercise that has been) I’d best get on with it…

Having arrived in Edinburgh I trundled off I hoped toward my accommodation, while taking in my surrounds. In some respects it was quite overwhelming. There was so much to look at, especially for someone who’s a bit keen on taking photos.

I found the Castle View Guesthouse with only a small amount of faffing. The name is accurate: from the street you look directly across and up to the castle. There were a couple of surprises. Didn’t realise it was fairly central in what they call the ‘new town’ and in amongst shops and restaurants. Also didn’t realise it was the house where author Kenneth Grahame was born. Kinda cool, Wind in the Willows was a memorable book from my childhood. As a result it is a listed building and in fairly original condition – read ‘not that flash’. My modest single (but with own bathroom!) room was on the top floor and I was very grateful to the manager who totted up the three flights of stairs with my bag like it weighed nothing.

A rather apt sign

Not sure the website was totally representative and I think they oversold themselves. Ironically I wasn’t expecting much of the London hotel and it exceeded expectations, and the opposite applied here in Edinburgh. But it worked out fine.

The first afternoon I dumped the bags and headed back out. At the bottom of the street is Princes St, below which are park and gardens which extend across to the lower reaches of the massive lump of rock on which is Edinburgh Castle. The castle, obviously a prominent feature of the city, makes for a fabulous skyline. (Except for when white service vans are parked in view. They should really paint them grey.) I meandered through the gardens and up to Waverly Bridge where the main bus departure point is.

In the Princes St gardens – signs of spring still about!

Princes St gardens

Edinburgh castle from the street below

The castle again

Monument to the Royal Scots Greys in the Princes St gardens. And look, that jolly castle sneaking into frame again

Nothing screams “I’m a tourist!!!!!!” quite like a hop-on hop-off bus. But they give a great overview of the place and helped orient me with the layout as well as areas I wanted to further cover on foot. I planned to do about four different routes and knocked one off on this first afternoon. Followed by more foot trails.

On board one of the buses! The blue sky was short lived

Some of the striking Georgian architecture that is common in the city

Somewhere in ye olde towne

Looking over the North Bridge toward Salisbury Crags and Arthur’s Seat

The Old Calton Cemetery was fascinating

National Monument on Calton Hill

A view from up on Calton Hill

Another view from Calton Hill I think

One of many such alleyways

I loved looking at the doorways

Thought I should try to insert myself into a photo. DEFINITELY needed that hat. Bus is going past the Salisbury Crags

Dinner was a filled roll which I took back to my penthouse suite. Struggled to stay up beyond 9pm. Aside for brief sunshine on the second day, it was grey and low light for the duration of my visit. And cold!! While the temperature was unexpected I was at least prepared for it. Breakfast was included in the price of my accommodation again, with the option of cooked breakfasts. I chose the Scottish breakfast and while I did retain the potato scone (I think it was) in my selection, I did forego the haggis. I have mentioned previously that I am a food wuss.

Hold the haggis!

The second day was going to be busy-busy. Three bus tours, a boat tour, much walking of the streets and a big hill walk. Part 2 to follow.

Train to Edinburgh

Mid morning I got ready for the big 200m walk to the Kings Cross station.

Kings Cross station.

The interior is pretty stunning

At a ticket kiosk I picked up my prepaid ticket. This was all so efficient I had half an hour to kill. I opted for a first class ticket since it was discounted and provided extra legroom for the four-ish hour journey. It was then a matter of waiting for the platform number to be announced so that we could go and board.

Kings Cross platforms

We got underway. The seat in first class was so worthwhile. As well as loads of space and a window seat, unbeknownst to me the price also included food and drinks, plus wireless.

The table meant I could spread out gadgets, juggling laptop activities (i.e. blog prep) with monitoring the landscape, cameras at the ready. Not that we were dawdling so you only had a split second to make photography decisions.

Crops with bright yellow flowers started to appear. They were such a stunning colour that I became a bit obsessed with them.

There was the occasional interruption to nature

I’ve established that these crops are oilseed rape, also known as rapeseed. The reason there’s so much of it is probably because this is commonly used as the vegetable oil in the food industry.

By the time we got to Manchester the blue skies had disappeared.

We crossed the viaduct over the river into Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I wondered what the river was called and then the penny dropped. Eejit.

Tiredness was again setting in. Taking photos and notes helped achieve a certain level of alertness.

Not being intimately familiar with the route, I was surprised when we popped out at the coast. Called Berwick-upon-Tweed, turns out this is England's northernmost town

Also in Berwick-upon-Tweed, stone ruins beside the river

I didn’t know where the England-Scotland border was though I since see that it was only a couple of miles north of B-upon-T. The border crossing could have been about the time the overcast weather seemed to take on another level of gloom. It really did feel quite grim.

And then we arrived into Edinburgh. Glimpses of buildings from the train suggested this was going to be unlike any other city I’d been to. I left the warm cocoon of the train and set foot on Scottish soil. Or concrete as the case was. Pretty sure I either pulled a face or swore (or both): it was freezing! Had to stop and fish out scarf and jacket.

In Edinburgh, walking along the platform to the station. A big upgrade is underway

Wrestling bags up flights of steps to the station not only jumped the queue of people waiting for the lift, it also helped warm me up. I trundled out onto the street and endeavoured to navigate myself to the hotel.

Coming soon! ~ 5 weeks in England, Scotland, Turkey

In two weeks I’m off on my next big trip. These things have a long incubation period so it’s pretty exciting for it to be almost time. I’m going to England, Scotland and Turkey – below is a high level itinerary. Of those countries I’ve only spent a brief time in England before, so the majority of it will be experiencing new places.

This trip isn’t my instigation, basically I’m just tagging along… with my parents! Yep I thought the days of family holidays were behind me, but never say never I guess. Mum and Dad have both recently retired and more than a year ago started thinking about visiting the UK to trace the places of family origin from both sides. Mum is heavily into genealogy so this trip is right up her alley. Dad’s not as bothered but he hasn’t been to the UK before and will be interested to have a look around.

As for my part in this: well I’d like to see where my ancestors come from and figured this would be my best opportunity. Mum is a font of knowledge on this stuff, but more than that, doing this with my parents should make it very memorable. And hopefully we won’t drive each other too crazy in the process!

I should add at this point that Mike is going to sit this trip out. He’s been there done that and will instead save his leave for our next big travel project; the US later next year.

The Turkey bit possibly seems an odd inclusion – especially when it occurs. Visiting Gallipoli has been a goal of mine for a long time and for whatever reason, I decided to include it with this trip. And long story short, it needed to be somewhere in the middle. And then Dad expressed interest, so to cut to the chase, he and I will leave Mum to it for five days while we pop across.

At the end of May we leave Mum again so that we get back to NZ before Queens Birthday weekend.

Anyway – Mum and Dad’s adventure starts tomorrow, with a few days in the US, and I catch up with them in Scotland in 2.5 weeks.


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