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Edinburgh Day Trip

Here are some non-castle-y photos from the day we went to Edinburgh. Somehow, almost all of the best photos we took that day were vertically oriented. Not pictured: the massive servings of fish and chips we ate on Grassmarket.

Bonus points if you can find the word “KILTS” in one of the pictures.

01
May 2012
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Day Trip to not-Luss

On our last day in Scotland, most of Stanely House and its guests decided to go to a picturesque village on Loch Lomond called Luss. Getting there involved taking the train to Helensburgh and then getting on a bus, but we missed the last bus of the day. So we hung out on the pier, had lunch and ate ice cream. Helensburgh is located on a loch in the Firth of Clyde, which is a pretty great name for a body of water, if you ask us.

On the way home, an extremely jovial man told us all about the best football team on earth, the Glasgow Rangers. “Rrrrrrangeers! Hup hup ho!” When he found out a member of our party was from Texas, he sang a poorly-enunciated version of Dixie to us.

Another great day with great people. We also learned how to snap a whole apple in two with our bare hands. Thanks, great people.

01
May 2012
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Edinburgh Castle

Although we didn’t see a lot of major sights in Scotland, we did visit Edinburgh castle one day. The kilted tour guide made plenty of jokes, including ones about the weather. We experienced rain, hail, sun and even a few snowflakes in a short time period.

The castle was impressive. We were just reading its Wikipedia page which said that it was built on top of an extinct volcano. A bit of trivia for you to remember if you ever get picked to go on Jeopardy!. Besides that, it was the site of tons of history and violence over the centuries, and was also the birthplace of King James I (the little blue room in the photo gallery). Right now, it holds the crown jewels of Scotland and the completely gorgeous Scottish National War Memorial. No photos allowed of either the jewels or the war memorial; you’ll have to Google them.

Tony got a little disorderly and had to take a time-out in the military prison below the castle.

30
Apr 2012
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Stanely House

In Scotland, we spent all five days in Paisley. We originally had loose plans to spend a couple days in Edinburgh and also to visit the Highlands, but that was scrapped.

When we arrived at the Glasgow airport around 10 a.m., the passport agent gave us a hard time. We were exhausted from all the preparations of leaving the US, followed by several days of tearing around Iceland and I made the mistake of not simply answering “vacation” when he asked us why we were entering the UK. It didn’t really take very long to get our passports stamped, probably three minutes total, but his steely attitude sapped our remaining energy and we already felt done for the day. So we got on the airport shuttle headed for downtown Glasgow, stepped off at the first pub we came across, ordered a big Scottish breakfast, found the wifi password, and didn’t leave our seat by the window for seven hours.

During that time, we emailed to finalize our arrangements to stay with friends-of-friends-of-friends (another term to avoid when answering a border control agent’s questions, especially if you don’t have any actual names to give him). Our friends who we were living with for a few months before we left, Chris and DeeAnn, are friends with Tim and Caroline, who worked at a YWAM Celtic Way Community in Paisley. The six of us had dinner one evening in January while Tim and Caroline where back in the States for a visit. They told us that they wouldn’t be in Scotland at the same time we would be there, but that we should get in contact with their coworkers in Paisley when we were passing through (border control agent didn’t care for that term either) and arrange to stay for a night.

Our intention was only to stay for that first night. But when the cab dropped us off at the weary and worn (but still beautiful) Victorian mansion at the top of a hill, and ten minutes later we were sitting on the rooftop watching the sunset and playing music with great people, we were pretty sure we weren’t going anywhere for a while.

We ended up staying there for our entire time in Scotland. The rooms didn’t have heat, the house was under extensive renovation, we had never met any of the people who lived there before, Paisley isn’t exactly a place where people go to “do” Scotland… based on all those things, it might have been an easy choice to head for the Highlands or another city. But we stayed because of the wonderful people who treated us like old friends and let us tag along with them and played beautiful music for us.

This is why we are doing what we are doing.

-A

(Thanks to Josh Grohman, whose Instagram pics we stole.)

30
Apr 2012
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Food: Paisley-Glasgow-Edinburgh

If you’re one of those people who hate seeing food pictures, you’re just going to have to deal with it. Feast your eyes.

If you’re wondering, we did eat the regular haggis, but skipped the deep-fried haggis.

30
Apr 2012
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That’s Where You Are: Music Night at Stanely House

Our time in Scotland was highlighted by a night of music with new friends at Stanely House in Paisley.

We wish we would have got some video of The Murmerers’ lovely harmonies, but luckily someone else did. Marie Collins‘s seventeen-year-old voice wowed us, and brothers Peter Quinn and Martin Quinn, who usually play with guitarist Gary Stuart as the band “Dad, You’re Drunk” put on a great show as well. Perhaps the most truly moving performance of the night was a tribute to fast food mogul Dave Thomas, courtesy of Josh From Texas.

25
Apr 2012
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Day 7

After chilling in a Glasgow pub for most of a drizzly day, we jumped a train to Paisley. A couple of old ladies and their smart phones were able to procure us a cab, which drove us up to Stanely House, where we are staying with a bunch of cool friends of friends of friends of ours (seriously). We sat on the roof of an old mansion with a bunch of people we just met and watched the sun set behind the clouds. Guitar and ukulele were played along to “I’m No Superman” and “Rolling in the Deep”, then a banjo showed up and Alicia joined in for a round of “Wagon Wheel”. Now we’re all watching a mini marathon of the Sherlock Holmes Brit TV series. There are rumors of a trip to Glasgow or even Edinburgh in search of Scotch whiskey in the morrow…

-Tony

17
Apr 2012
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