A Travellerspoint blog

September 2008

Och-eye...It's guid ti hae yir cog out whan it rains kail

Or, oh yes... make the most of your opportunities... like we did, in Scotland

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View Scotland, och eye... on StephenJen's travel map.

Well, good friends getting married in a country as lovely as Scotland was enough motivation we needed to take a look at this beautiful place, and 5 days was just enough to make us realize that we need a longer period of time to explore it properly.

We landed at Glasgow at Prestwick airport, not the nearest airport to the city but certainly the nearest to our first destination - which was the Isle of Arran.

We stayed in a budget B&B overnight near Irvine, where we caught the ferry across from Ardrossan to Brodick on the Isle of Arran (nicknamed "Scotland in Miniature"). We checked into a welcoming B&B on the waterfront, the owners of which went to ridiculous lengths to make us feel comfortable and able to get ready for the wedding despite our rooms not yet being available... all at no extra cost!).

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View across Lamlash Bay from our B&B in Brodick

The wedding was at Lamlash Parish Church, a lovely spot overlooking Lamlash Bay, and we all had a lovely time seeing our good friends marry in such beautiful surroundings. The Reception followed at the Auchrannie Hotel, again, a lovely room which was set out beautifully for us all to dance, eat and drink the night away. The bride and groom had employed the services of a traditional ceilidh, a called dance, not unlike a barn dance, which everyone had a go at, most of us looked silly doing, but we all thoroughly enjoyed!

The Isle of Arran is a beautiful place to visit and we wish we had have allocated some more time to explore the island... so have made a commitment to return to see it properly with more time!

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Isle of Arran

The following day, Holly. Kris, Stephen and I headed off back to the Mainland and on to Glasgow and checked into a lovely serviced apartment Holly had found a few weeks before, in the heart of Glasgow. Perfect for exploring the surrounding city.
Glasgow is a bizarre place, with beautiful old buildings and architecture swamped by masses of ugly and poorly designed housing estates for the cities low income earners, of which there are many.

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Glasgow Cathedral

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Glasgow Cathedral Interior

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Beautiful Art Deco theatre, the Capitol

We were lucky enough to be in Glasgow on a day where many of the cities public buildings were open to the public to visit, for free! We visited the Glasgow City Chambers, just off George Square, and were stunned at the full marble staircase, the dark council chamber and the sheer grandeur of the banqueting hall. It was a great coincidence to be there on the day that we could visit, and we are glad we took a peek inside.

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George Square - Glasgow City

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Glasgow City Chambers

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Glasgow City Chambers Interior

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Glasgow City Chambers - Full Marble Staircase

We took a stroll up to the "Barra's", the market area in the East End. There were all the usual things you expect to find at a market in any major city, Copied DVDs, BB Guns, Cheap Clothing and household items. Another thing we saw a lot of at the Barra's was what is known as a "Glasgow Smile". This is also known as a Chelsea Grin/Chelsea Smile. Basically, a Glasgow Smile is a practice which originated in the city of Glasgow which involves a person being cut from mouth to ear, causing a permanent and extended smile like scar (most famous recipient of such practice would be the Joker from Batman). Its quite a fascinating thing to see, when every 3 or 4 men that pass have such scars... and these look like regular guys (did not seen any women with this)... Very, very strange thing to see indeed. Needless to say, we did not get a photo of one of these...

After two nights in Glasgow, we decided to get up early and drive to Edinburgh for our very last day before catching a night flight back to London. After all, It's guid ti hae yir cog out whan it rains kail (Make the most of your opportunities!) Boy... are we glad we did! As soon as we reached Edinburgh, we let out a sigh and smiled as we knew we had gotten up early for good reason. It took us about 1.5 hours to drive from Glasgow to Edinburgh (including time finding a car park!).

We wondered up the Royal Mile towards the Edinburgh Castle, where we spent a few hours wandering around exploring and taking in the amazing views of the city from the Castle. Lunch was fabulous, Oysters, Haggis, Chicken and Lamb, and boy were we all full!

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Entrance to Edinburgh Castle

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Jen at Edinburgh Castle

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Stephen & Jen at Edinburgh Castle

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Edinburgh Castle

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Guns eye view from Edinburgh Castle

The Sun stayed out for us to wander the streets of Edinburgh until it was time for us to get back on the car and head back to Glasgow Prestwick for our return flight to London.

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We did toy with the idea of changing our flights to stay in Edinburgh longer but decided instead (thanks to the small issue of our four jobs!), to book in another holiday back there really soon.

Posted by StephenJen 05:09 Archived in Scotland Tagged air_travel Comments (2)

A Wales of a time...

a weekend road-trip in South Wales

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Well, its actually been a while since we went to Wales the last time but we thought it necessary to upload our entry for this awesome weekend adventure anyway...

We headed off in mid May for a weekend on the road and some exploring of the rolling green hills and castles on offer in Wales.

We started by driving out from London direct to Tintern Abbey, one of the greatest monastic ruins in Wales. There were very few people around, with the exception of a few kids on a school trip, so we were able to explore and take photos at our leisure.

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After getting our fill of the Abbey we hopped back into the car and headed for Chepstow, not far down the road from the Abbey, to Raglan Castle.... a fantastically beautiful castle in South Wales...

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The evening was closing in and the cloud settling in low so we took a drive up through the [Brecon Beacons National Park],

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to Brecon Town where we found an Inn for the night and got a good sleep before heading out early again the next morning...

We took a long drive out to Carreg Cennen Castle, an amazing Castle sitting atop a hill amongst rolling green hills and farms. Carreg Cennen goes back to the 13th Century and it is amazing that it is still in such a magificennt state after such a long time.... and the best views we have seen yet....

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We then moved down and towards Cardigan Bay to visit the Devils Bridge.... whose most famous feature is probably its three bridges - which are built one on top of the other. The original bridge was believed to have been built either by the Cistercian monks of Strata Florida abbey or by Knights Templar. The latest bridge was built by the County Council during this century. Walking through the area, we got to see some amazing waterfalls of the River Mynach...

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We loved Wales... and look forward to more weekend roadtrips over the next year or so - maybe next time it will be warm enough to camp!!

Posted by StephenJen 11:02 Archived in Wales Comments (1)

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