FUN-travel: Islay, Scotland – Fèis Ìle

June 8, 2017 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Islay, Scotland – Fèis Ìle 

  • Feis Ile = The Islay Festival of Music and Malt…

…and our whole reason…

…for coming to the UK!

  • Today is Bunnahabhain Distillery Festival Day

My Wee Little Drams

  • 11 am – Manager & Senior Blenders Dram Tasting
  • 4 pm – Wee little nap time

Robert Graham 1874

…Tasting of 7…

…“Old, Rare and interesting Islay Drams”…

…some still available…

…some gone but not forgotten…

…and some that might be very unique indeed.

FUN-factWhisky tasting is a whole lot like wine tasting…

…swirl, smell, sip, swallow.

  • And how does it taste? …soft & subtle…or strong?… smoky, spicy, salty, sweet?

More FF – My favorites today are the ones…

…finished in the sherry & red wine casks…

…takes the edge off and more smooth.

FUN-travel: Deganwy, Wales to Paisley, Scotland

June 7, 2017 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Deganwy, Wales to Paisley, Scotland 

  • Had flight out of Cardiff…

…in totally opposite direction…

…of where we’re headed…

…would have taken longer 3 hours longer.

  • So instead…

…one train change near Manchester to…

…really, really, REALLY NICE Virgin Train…

…first class is the only way to go!

… then one more change to Paisley…

…town closest to Glasgow Airport…

  • Fleecy flocks of sheep…

…soon to be sheared…

…dot the landscape…

…of rolling grass covered hills.

  • Zig-zagging stone walls…

…criss-cross the hills & dales…

…of the farms & fields…

…and the occasional narrow stone foot bridge…

…cross little winding streams.

Fun-facts – The symbol of Wales is a dragon and it’s believed the Welsh kings of Aberffraw first adopted the dragon in the early fifth century in order to symbolize their power and authority after the Romans withdrew from Britain.

Ian, Stuart, Me & David

Downtown Paisley

  • Good News

…Ashtree House Hotel…

…only 500 yards from station.

  • Bad News

…rain with strong winds

… a cab takes longer due to…

….all those cute narrow one way streets!

  • Happy Hour

…The Bull Inn…

…oldest pub in Paisley…

…and lovely chap at the bar…

…Ian buys us a beer.

FUN-fact – Stuart the bartender has been to San Diego & San Francisco.and we can actually understand his accent.

More FF – They use sheep’s wool as a “green” insulation when remodeling historic homes.

FUN-travel: England & Scotland – 16 Days – Stay Tuned!

May 23, 2017 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: England & Scotland – 16 Days – Stay Tuned! 

Heading out for parts of England and Scotland we have never seen. But MOSTLY for the Whisky Festival on the island of Islay!

This trip also marks a milestone for me as I am only taking carry on and not checking luggage on an international flight! No more BIG FAT vacations. YEAH!

FUN-travel: Scotland to England’s Lake District & York

October 14, 2011 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Scotland to England’s Lake District & York 

Day 24 – Friday, October 7 – Edinburgh to England’s Lake District – mostly blue skies w/cotton candy clouds – low 50’s – depart 11:15

Hadrians Wall

  • 1st stop – 1:15 cap/latte @ Gretna Bakery in Longtown
  • 2nd stop – take deviation to Hadrian’s Wall – (never even knew this existed) A.D. 122 Roman Emperor Hadrian has troops (10,000) construct 15′ wide by 18′ high rock wall (takes 10 yrs) from coast to coast across narrowest stretch of England – spans 80 roman miles (73 miles) with a guard castle @ each mile & 2 turrets between each mile (parts of the wall & footprints of the castles still exist)
  • 3rd stop – arrive Keswick – walk through town looking for a B&B – main areas are The Heads (find one for 100 lbs – too much!) & Stanger St – only one left @ Brun Lea – dbl bed, very small room, 62 lbs cash only
  • 4th stop – Bank Tavern – Stella/Guinness & whisky taste tasting of Jameson & Jura – we think Irish is smoother
  • FUN-food – Star of Siam – owner from Chang Mai – noodles with chicken – duck in garlic sauce w/vegetables & rice


FF (FUN-facts) – Lake District is about 30 miles wide & 30 miles long – lush & green w/lots of lakes

Day 25 – Saturday, October 8 –  Lake District to York – much colder, high 40’s – steady drizzle – low clouds & fog – depart 9:30

York Entry Wall

  • drive south – narrow, twisty, tree canopied road – spot extremely rare Red Neck Sheep!
  • 1st stop – Hawkshead – (pay n’ park local gives us his ticket – good to Monday afternoon & says “pass it on” – third time on our trip someone has done this – good parking karma!)
  • Beatrix Potter’s Gallery – housed in former office of husband William Heelis (her lawyer turned into her husband) & filled with wonderful intimate drawings & watercolors that illustrated her books
  • find lovely Scottish couple to “pass on” the parking ticket
  • 2nd stop – Hill Top Farm – Beatrix Potter’s home is just as it was when she died in 1943 (on way here see some of the real buildings & features from her tales)
  • 3rd stop – Harvest Gourmet Store & Cafe
  • tummy is feeling upset again – this is not good
  • FUN-food – Lunch – spicy carrot & tomato soup – tuna melt served open face w/sweet taste – realize it has catsup on it!
  • Arrive York 5:00 – horror! Horse Racing Weekend & no rooms – lovely lady @ The Hazelwood calls around – one room left @ Monk Bar Hotel (Best Western) 110 lbs – has very narrow iron spiral staircase w/bath on 1st floor & bedroom on 2nd floor – have to be very careful!
  • 6:00 stop – Cross Keys Tavern for pints & shot
  • stroll through town attempting to read map

Hill Top Farm

  • FUN-food – Dinner – Masons Bar & Bistro –  no wait – garlic Portobello mushrooms topped w/cheddar & stilton bleu cheese – Halloumi (from Cyprus) cheese salad w/shredded carrots, red onion, cucumber, cherry tomatoes & crusty bread – Masons burger w/cheese & bacon on Ciabatta, onion rings & chips
  • walk back to hotel & get totally turned around – lovely young man walks us to our hotel

    York Minster

FF – typical breakfast consists of cold selection of yogurt, cereals & fruit & hot meal of bacon (more like our ham) sausage, eggs, baked beans, mushrooms, baked tomatoes & toast (bigger hotels & B&B’s have more fruit & bread selections & cheeses & meats) & one of the reasons we don’t buy lunch is because we make sandwiches to go

Day 26 – Sunday, October 9 –  York to Manchester to Brussels, Belgium – pouring rain early – much warmer high 60’s – pouring rain & heavy fog in afternoon

  • 11:00 take walk & finally figure out map
  • 1st stop – York Minster – massive Gothic cathedral (King Henry VIII destroyed England’s great abbeys but not this one)
  • 2nd stop – The Shambles – most colorful old street where butchers hung their meat – soil wasn’t good so buildings settled helter skelter – now filled w/shops
  • 3rd stop – Clifford’s Tower – ruins from 13th century castle – climb to top for panoramic city views
  • 4th stop – Starbucks cap/latte
  • York is my favorite English city – fully walled Medieval city – looks like a movie set of Camelot
  • Depart 1:00 for Manchester Airport – drive takes 2 hrs – return car w/no scratches, dents or dings!
  • flying Brussels Airlines – member of Star Alliance & get access to Club Lounge

The Shambles

FF – one of the reasons many ruins are so sparse is due to locals “seeing perfectly good stones to build their homes & other buildings”

FUN-travel: Scotland – Edinburgh – Day 3 & 4

October 11, 2011 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Scotland – Edinburgh – Day 3 & 4 

Day 22 – Wednesday, October 5 – Edinburgh – thick clouds, bursts of rain followed by big, long bursts of sunshine, much warmer, high 60’s

St. Giles Cathedral

WRTC (What R The Chances) – blue skies overnight (I saw stars) awake to thick clouds & sporadic rainDepart 10:30 for Park & Ride

  • Arrive 11:00 – walk to Waverly Bridge for Big Red Hop On, Hop Off Bus
  • 1st stop – Edinburgh Castle – 11th century fort sits high on top of solid rock – see Crown Jewels
  • Walk down Royal Mile – series of 4 different streets runs from castle to Holyroodhouse Palace – filled w/shops & pubs & St. Giles Cathedral – the Westminster Abbey of Scotland
  • 2nd stop – Holyroodhouse Palace – 14th Century Palace (originally 12th-century Augustinian monastery) – Scotland’s royalty preferred it to blustery castle – home to Mary Queen of Scots – currently the Queen spends one week each summer – lavishly furnished rooms
  • Walk back up Royal Mile
  • 3rd stop – Gladstone’s Land – typical 16th – 17th century restored merchant’s house – multi storied bldg had shop on ground floor & rented out the other floors
  • 4th stop – Starbucks for cappuccino & Lemon Drizzle Cake
  • 5th stop – Elephant House – allegedly where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter books
  • 6th stop – back to Deacon Brodie’s Pub – Guinness, Tennent’s Lager & shot of Jura Scotch
  • 7th stop – Mary Kings Cross – 1 hr underground “ghost” tour – recently renovated underground network of hidden alleys & rooms where people lived & worked

  • Walk to New Town for dinner
  • FUN-food– Mussel Inn (suggested by guys we met at Deacon Brodies) – 1/2 kilo Moroccan Mussels – chilies, garlic, ginger,

    St. Andrews Cathedral

    coriander & cumin – 1/2 kilo w/ shallots, white wine, garlic, cream (we have a tie for best ones we’ve had so far – these from Loch Laxford, Sutherland) –  grilled sea bass on rocket, feta, warm new potatoes & roasted red pepper sauce drizzled w/balsamic vinaigrette

FF – (FUN-fact) – see Mr. Fox on side of road on way back into Dalmahoy

Day 23 – Thursday, October 6  – Day trip St. Andrews – wake to blazing sunshine – very windy & much colder, low 50’s – sprinkles turn to pouring rain in afternoon

  • Depart 10:45 -arrive noon – 50 mile drive
  • 1st stop – cappucinno/latte
  • 2nd stop – TI for map
  • 3rd stop – St Andrew’s Cathedral – built 1160 – ruins consist of walls & spires – able to see the gigantic footprint & bases of columns
  • 4th stop – Castle – overlooking sea –  built 12th century by bishop for entertaining
  • 5th stop – The Old Course – (they claim founding the sport of golf here) home of the British Open every 5 yrs

  • 6th stop – The Old Course Golf Shop
  • 7th stop – Starbucks
  • Takes 2 hrs to drive back w/pouring rain & traffic

FF– Roads in Scotland better than Ireland – still narrow but no thick bushes/branches next to road


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