Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Castle Route

In Scotland they seem to have many driving routes, The Coastal Route, The Whiskey Route and most importantly for me The Castle Route. This means on any one stretch of road there are sign posts everywhere of old castles either intact or in ruins or somewhere in between.

There are definitely some good and bad points of visiting Scotland in winter. Admittedly its cold and alot of the castles are actually closed however the good news is that when you do visit, even if its just outside you get the entire place to yourself ... This place was breathtaking. Firstly it was actually breathtaking because the walk up to the castle was exhausting steep but also once you hit the top the view was amazing and the silence was incredible.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Middle of Nowhere is "The Middle of Nowhere!"

So after declaring quite clearly that I was going to stay in touch I then happened to leave the civilised world where wifi and phone service are expected .....

Back to the hotel - after finally finishing a lovely breakfast looking over Glenshee we wandered around the hotel exploring like children. There are three lounge rooms, a music room, a pool room and a bar as well as two dining rooms and obviously the property surrounding the house was amazing.

So last night we checked in .... dropped our bags and relaxed playing darts until dinner. Its amazing how quickly you can relax and just slow down in the right location and for us this was definately the right location.

We did have one slight issue with the hot water .... it seems to be either very very hot or very very cold .... so putting the hot water on in the bath while I was having a shower seemed like a very good idea at the time but in reality it had me backed in a corner screaming for hubby to come turn it off because it was burning me .....

We did have a good 2 hours wander around the property and frozen golf course playing with the frozen ponds (like kids we found the biggest rocks we could and dropped them into the middle) and jumping over all the frozen puddles laughing like idiots....

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Apologies

My sincere and heartfelt apologies for not "blogging" more regularly however work seems to have become the centre of my life .... I wake up and reach for my phone to check emails, I go to bed planning in my head how im going to get through the next day.

Next week im hoping to do better but this week .... work became the centre of my existence and not in a good way.

However back to today and what a wonderful start to the day it was. We are staying in a castle and its more than amazing. Its called Dalmunzie Castle and its located in Perthshire. In my simplistic map defunct mind that means middle bottom of scotland right in the centre so cold and more cold right now.

It has big thick stone walls, lots of rooms that just seem to wind into other rooms and lots of old dusty furniture. Overall its absolutely brilliant. We played darts before dinner where I discovered I may just be the next darts champion. Who would have though .... me an elite sports woman.

So waking up this morning I snuck out of the house (castle) and watched the sun rise. Now I have mentioned how cold it is but to truely get the idea the grass crunches under your feet, your foggy breath puffs quietly in front of you and the absolute stillness of the valley means all you can hear are the birds groggily waking up and the river rushing past.

My day started heavenly ..... now I just have to find my slightly missing husband so I can sit down to a very civilised 9am breakfast before perhaps a small walk .....

Monday, January 23, 2012

Scotland - Day Five

Ok so maybe I might have slightly misjudged the amount of time it took us to get home. The tripadvisor website said perhaps 5 hours max to get from Portree back to Aberdeen. The truth of the matter was it took us quite a bit longer .... a whole day of driving later we have decided to be a bit more cautious with our route plans in the future.

The good news us we saw another day full of amazing sights - We again went through the barren Isle of Skye through along a road full of Lochs and waterfalls ..... up through a ski resort and then home through dozens of pretty little villages.

How amazing is it that I can see all of this within a days drive.

So back at work for another week ..... my apologies for the delay in getting this posted but unfortunately my work computer has the battery life of a kids toy ....

Scotland - Day Four

I think we need to make a new word up because "oh my god its freezing" is fine when you say it once or twice but today this was a well used phrase and I swear I'm wearing out my tongue on it!

The hotel is heaven, its one of those places you cant help but wish you own and I swear, the room was so cold you actually had to brace yourself before you slipped out to the powder room! However I must say, I desperately want a feather doona because it was the most luxurious feeling thing to sleep in I have ever experienced.

Now firstly we found Loch Ness and is huge. I don't think you can visualise just how big it is but I will say I'm relieved we didn't have a towel because hubby was determined he was going to swim out and find Nessy.

Two castles later, miles of beautiful countryside, stacks of mud and so much hale and snow we finally hit the Isle of Skye.

What can I say except its a rather beautiful barren place. If I was comparing it to Australia it would be the vast barrenness of the Pilbara. I do love it and you are constantly stopping the car just so you can have a closer look at a waterfall, a view of even an old ruin.

The idea of driving around Scotland means that the focus isn't on arriving but instead getting there. The journey is the holiday and I like it alot. It means lots of getting lost, stopping at quaint little places and laughing over something stupid and insane. (today it was me falling on my bum in the mud and not being able to get myself up ..... yes well, not particularly ladylike)

Tomorrow we make our way back to Aberdeen and its actually quite a drive so .... onwards and upwards!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Scotland - Day Three

The great trip has begun! A very grumpy hubby picked me up from work and off we went. About 30 minutes in the tension of a drama filled morning drained away and the beauty we were driving through became the centrepoint of the drive. We slowed down, started appreciating just how lovely the country is and then wow! Everything went white.

We stopped numerous times just to admire the lovely white landscape. While winding up the lovely little country lanes we came across an old abandoned castle frosted with white. How lucky are we to get this wonderful but unplanned opportunity.

A stop at an 18th century bridge and a long winding road and we arrived at our first night accommodation. It was dark when we arrived so the hotel will have to wait till tomorrow but the room is more than amazing, its a huge country manor room and so damn lovely I cant wait to finally crawl into bed and go to sleep.

Tomorrow is Loch Ness and the Isle of Skye but a very good beginning so far!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Scotland - Day Two

Today as a rather early start ... for some reason I woke at 3am and although I desperately tried to bury my head under the covers I could not for the life of me go back to sleep, so I worked .... and worked and worked at 3am UK time, around lunch time Australia time.

Waiting for a taxi at 8.30am I watched lovely little snow flakes drift softly to the ground .... it wasn't quite cold enough to actually have a lovely white carpet but it was a great beginning to the trip.

Work itself isn't great, they were not really prepared for us so instead of arriving and hitting the ground running are instead struggling to set up stuff like offices, printers and even simple things like swipe cards and pens.

Because I had such an early start this morning I was able to leave early and hubby and I wandered the lovely grey streets playing with my new toy ... A Canon Eos SLR!

How do you like my new pictures .... I am pretty excited with my new camera and cant wait to try it out on our treck this weekend.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

First Thoughts

My first full day in balmy Scotland and it was a very early start.... 4am!

Now my thoughts, when I left for the office at 8.30 it was all greys and blues. In Australia the sky goes this funny blue grey colour right before a big storm but that seems to be fairly normal here.... it was surreal to drive through a grey stone city where the sky seemed to glow blue.

Although I say the city is grey I don't in any way mean boring. The architecture here is totally amazing, so many different styles and periods which should look totally horrid together but because they are all made of the same stone means they come together beautifully.

The people here are lovely, I met a taxi driver who had me laughing the whole way from the office, everyone seems fixated on my accent but maybe because I have been sitting with a rather multicultural engineering team the accents here don't seem to phase me to much.

Also everything here food wise seems to be almost ridiculously cheap. Lunch today was 3.90 pounds. A huge bowl of spaghetti and a coke. A bottle of Oyster Bay Pinot Noir for 9 pounds. 5 pounds for 2 large frozen gourmet pizza.

On the whole I can't wait to have a proper look around and we have decided on the weekend to hire a car and explore.

Tomorrow I may be brave enough to talk about the crazy that seems to be the team relocation to Scotland but for tonight I am going to stick to the positives.