Tag Archives: Life

Scotland: Glasgow to Gills Bay

Highlands View by David Gadient, 2016

Halfway through our Scotland trip last month, we got a rental car, had a yummy farewell lunch at Mono, and got to know our dubious new friend, the GPS (who later misguided us or just faded away on more than one occasion) as we headed out of Glasgow. Since David was driving and I’m not much of a shutterbug, especially while in a moving car, there aren’t many pictures of our driving days.

On a different side of the road than we’re accustomed to, we drove up past Loch Lomand and kept going. Along the way, we stopped twice, once for the sheer greenery of the view, and again when we reached Glencoe―as the GPS (we had begun to call her “Evil Siri“) directed us off and onto our first single-track road, where we got a luckily-not-crash course in passing places. Since we needed a stop and a turn around, we went further down the road and ended up at the Clachaig Inn. We went inside for a break, and I noticed a sign there: No Hawkers or Campbells. Glad neither of us are Campbells! History lesson here (with mention of the Clachaig Inn at the end): These Terrible Historical Events Inspired Game of Thrones’ Red Wedding.

Glencoe Driving by David Gadient, 2016

From there, we ignored Evil Siri and got back on the A82, where we were led past Loch Lochy (aye, really) and Loch Ness (didn’t see Nessie, but didn’t expect to) and finally reached Inverness, where we spent a lovely stay at Carbisdale B&B, which we highly recommend, if you happen to be in Inverness; we stayed there again on the trip back and hope to return.

Inverness Sunset by Karen Gadient, 2016

The next morning, we enjoyed a lovely vegan breakfast, cooked by Wilma and served by Colin, and chit-chatted with other guests while admiring the bird-filled garden. Then we were off northwards. We stopped at The Storehouse of Foulis for some tea and to take in the view of the Cromarty Firth. Worth noting on the entire trip so far: no rain. Just wonderful weather.

Foulis Tea by David Gadient, 2016

When we got far enough to feel comfortable with our schedule to meet the ferry to Orkney (the reason for the drive), we made other stops. One was in Wick, at The Alexander Bain, which not only offered a wide selection of beer, but some veg-friendly items on the menu. At the time we were in Scotland, all the news was about the Referendum, and this pub was papered in material to help make a decision. Most people we met during our time in Scotland didn’t feel that leaving the EU was a grand idea, and their final vote reflects that sentiment.

EUwetherspoon by Karen Gadient, 2016

As we neared the ferry, we still had more time, so we stopped at The Castle of Mey and got a look at our second castle so far plus a relaxing view of the tip of Scotland before boarding the ferry that would bring us over to Orkney.

Mey View by David Gadient, 2016

Thurso by David Gadient, 2016

Finally, we got to the ferry. We parked our car in the line to board, and had a cuppa tea. I’ve always wanted to see Orkney, so this is where the trip gets bucket-list for me. Might take me a while to sort out how to post about it, but I will!

FerryToOrkney by David Gadient, 2016

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Filed under Family, History, Holiday, Journal, Landscape, Life, Nature, Photography, Scotland, Travel, Vacation

Our Day in Edinburgh

Edinburgh Pano by David Gadient, 2016

The first photo is a panorama of Edinburgh from Edinburgh Castle. It was a bit of climb to get there, but we’d already been walking miles that day, due to hiking from Waverley station to The Auld Hoose first. It was our plan for lunch, because: ‘Home of Edinburgh’s Largest Nachos’. Vegan nachos, in our case. Utterly epic nachos, the size of your head, loaded with guacamole, beans, and jalapeños. You’d think, living in Arizona, that we could get something like that here. Nope. And certainly not with local Scottish beer. So, it was worth a hike from the station, even if there’d be a hike to Edinburgh Castle from there.

Edinburgh Streets by David Gadient, 2016

We walked many residential side streets, but also the Royal Mile. It was a Sunday and crawling with tourists, but that made it all the more interesting. Weather was perfect, despite a bit of drizzle when we’d first arrived.

Edinburgh Castle by David Gadient, 2016

Edinburgh Castle is as impressive as they say. We spent many hours there, all the way up to when they kicked us out (we were actually the very last visitors that day). Although David had seen castles in Europe many years ago, this was the first castle I’d ever been to―well, other than Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley―and that’s not quite the same. Edinburgh Castle is a glorious place.

Royal Dragoon by David Gadient, 2016

A group of German tourists were happy to take our photo in trade for taking their photo… so finally, a photo of both David and I greets the online world!

Karen and David Gadient, 2016

The evening brought our true plans. Aye, many folk go to Edinburgh for the sights, but we went primarily for the beer. Specifically, to indulge in our love for Innis & Gunn. We trekked another mile and spent the remainder of our day in Edinburgh at The Beer Kitchen by Innis & Gunn.

Innis & Gunn Beer Kitchen by Karen Gadient, 2016

Innis & Gunn makes our favorite beer. Back home in Phoenix, we have to drive hours to Las Vegas to fill our car with bottles just to keep our fridge stocked. And we do, when we can. But it’s not a wide selection, so we were thrilled to sample all the beer we’ve never tried, including limited edition, seasonal (Espresso Barley Wine, how I miss you), and test series brews.

Of course, we got glasses and t-shirts; we couldn’t figure out how to bring a cask head home. Being vegan, the food menu was all sides dishes for us, but we had no complaints because we were given enough tasty chips to keep us upright and get us back to the station. Well, actually, our server pointed us to a taxi, which was lovely after such a long day of walking and beer-sipping.

Edinburgh Waverley by David Gadient, 2016

So, there you have it. That’s how we experienced Edinburgh. You’ll find that our travels might be different than most, but that’s really what travel should be: personal and meaningful to the traveler. Happy travels!

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Filed under Family, Food, History, Holiday, Journal, Landscape, Life, Photography, Scotland, Travel, Vacation

Glasgow Botanic Gardens

Glasgow Botanic Gardens by David Gadient, 2016

We spent most of our second day in Glasgow at the Botanic Gardens. It was perfect sunny weather and lots of people had come out to enjoy the day. If we lived in Glasgow, this is a place we’d go to every week. I love our Desert Botanical Garden, but the high temperatures in Phoenix make it difficult to enjoy a walk there in summer. So this was a real pleasure. Plus: so much green!

Glasgow Botanic Flowers by David Gadient, 2016

We explored all of the buildings too, which were free to enter. We really enjoyed The Kibble Palace (nifty 360° views at that link), and we nearly had it to ourselves, probably due to the humidity inside―which, while heavy, was a pleasant change for us, with so little humidity back home.

Kibble Palace by David Gadient, 2016

The variety of plants inside the buildings is amazing. There’s even a section of desert plants―a bit of Arizona in Scotland. Of course, we didn’t take pictures of those, since we have heaps of them here, but David snapped quite a few shots of other, less familiar-to-us, plants.

Glasgow Botanic Plants by David Gadient, 2016

Elsewhere in the Gardens, we found the abandoned railway station. We could look down to the platform area below, but the beauty was at our level.

Abandoned Underground by David Gadient, 2016

There was also part of the West End Festival on display: The Ideal Hut Show. Colorful and clever sheds by artists and designers. This isn’t even all of them. Kids and adults alike were having fun examining these little pieces of architecture―such a fun outdoor installation!

Ideal Hut Show by David Gadient, 2016

We took a wide walk to cover the entire Garden, and were greeted by plenty of pigeons and squirrels. The squirrels were particularly gregarious; David made friends with one while we stopped at a bench.

Squirrel by David Gadient, 2016

If you’re ever in Glasgow, be sure to check out the Botanic Gardens. It’s an oasis in the West End and a wonderful way to spend some hours.

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Filed under Animals, Holiday, Journal, Life, Nature, Scotland, Travel, Vacation

Our First Day in Glasgow

Airplane Wing by David Gadient, 2016

For the first day in Scotland, we didn’t take many photos, due to being utterly exhausted. We’d been on three different planes and had gotten no sleep; the longest flight had several very unhappy babies directly behind us, and not even earplugs and Bose headsets could drown out the noise.

Oh. And I had been struggling with the flu for the week before the trip and was still a bit sick with congestion. I pretty much lived on cough drops and pain killers to get through the flights. You do whatcha gotta, right?

So! We arrived in Glasgow around noon, having been awake for a long time―and the plan was to remain awake to adapt to the time difference. The day of arrival was David’s birthday. I had made a reservation months earlier at the Red Onion and, despite being tired (and, for me, somewhat sick)… we went. Of course!

Sadly, I was too out of it to more deeply appreciate the amazing three-course meal. No pictures (apologies to my dear Tanya for not letting the camera “eat first” for so many meals of this trip). But, trust me―if you’re in Glasgow and have a chance to go to the Red Onion: GO. Whether you’re vegan like us, flexitarian, or full-on carnivore, you’ll love the place. Next time we visit, we’ll make our reservation for later in the trip, so we’re more alert!

Our hotel―Grand Central Hotel―gave us a wonderful room and had the most awesome of staircases, complete with the most awesome of chandeliers.

Grand Staircase by David Gadient by David Gadient, 2016

Room service breakfast was glorious and just the thing for us to start our day.

Grand Breakfast by Karen Gadient, 2016

The second day, we were still tired―but ready to take on some serious walking. My next blog entry will have more photos, because we spent a perfect day at the Botanic Gardens, happily basking in the warm sun with the locals.

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Filed under Food, Holiday, Journal, Life, Scotland, Travel, Vacation

Iceland’s Keflavík International Airport

Reykjavik Sink by Karen Gadient, 2016

Before I get to our time in Scotland, I want to mention Reykjavík, since we had a stop there both coming and going. It’s a strange but kinda nifty airport, and definitely different than any other I’ve been to so far.

It’s got free wifi and a large self-service cafe (that actually had food for us, and as vegans, we were impressed and grateful). When you get off a flight, it can get confusing if the place is crowded. We almost stood in a long line we didn’t need to get in; seems the long line upstairs is only for those needing to get through customs. Or something. Took us a while to decide we could move.

There’s a good chance you’ll be standing-bused from the airport to your plane, then climb mobile airstairs to get onto the plane. Also, they hold flights until all passengers are on: which, for us, meant an extra hour waiting on the runway for three other flights to send passengers over. Can’t say we loved that, but it’s the right thing to do. Icelanders are pleasant people, so that helped.

BUT the real thing I wanted to post about was the toilets. They were like Ikea’s secret bunker, equipped by Dyson. Individual rooms (toilet and sink) for stalls, and these crazy faucet-dryers. The faucet-dryers seemed awesome at first glance, but got wacky when you tried to use them, especially if you wanted to wash your face or brush your teeth.

You can rinse a lather or gargle and end up somehow getting soap or toothpaste all over the walls, ceiling, and yourself. Which caused a lot of ladies and kids in the place to scream and giggle. Honestly, it was hilarious. Smart design, yet… well, not that practical. But hilarious to listen to everyone go mad over them.

So, if you’re in Reykjavík: go wash your face and dry your hands. It’s memorable.

We should return one day to see volcanos, glaciers, and auroras (none of which, sadly, you can see from the airport).:)

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Filed under Holiday, Iceland, Journal, Life, Travel, Vacation

Scotland Travels

Scot2016 by Karen Gadient, 2016, 2015

A short update, since I didn’t manage to post anything else this week:

We’ve been in Scotland for the last two weeks―which has been beyond wonderful. My first trip overseas, in fact. While our trip probably wasn’t the usual Highlands itinerary (we spent half of our time in Glasgow, with a day in Edinburgh, and two stops in Inverness as we drove up and back for the ferry to Orkney, which was our base for the rest of our time), it was one of my personal dream trips and I was glad that David was eager to follow me―and do the driving for the half of trip where we weren’t train-and-bus-ing it.

The weather was beyond perfect for the majority of the trip, and we had the joy of basking in the sun with the locals (without the hellish burn―114ºF/46°C―that we left back home). We were also delighted to have tea with Charlotte Hoather while in Glasgow; she’s got a very busy schedule, so it was a honor to spend a Saturday afternoon with her.

I’ll share more photos and rambling later, if there’s interest. But right now… I’m exhausted! I’d expected that jet lag going east to west wouldn’t be as difficult to bear, but I haven’t been able to switch back eight hours to Arizona time. Zzz.

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Poetry by Alison Luterman: ‘I Confess’

Braided Hair

About a decade ago, I found this poem and wrote it down to tuck it into my old poetry book (where I’ve stored scraps of poetry since I was a child). Since I’ve recently re-discovered it, I wanted to share it with you.

Please check out Alison Luterman‘s site and admire the rest of her work!

I Confess
by Alison Luterman

I stalked her
in the grocery store: her crown
of snowy braids held in place by a great silver clip,
her erect bearing, radiating tenderness,
the way she placed yogurt and avocadoes in her basket,
beaming peach like the North Star.
I wanted to ask “What aisle did you find
your serenity in, do you know
how to be married for fifty years, or how to live alone,
excuse me for interrupting, but you seem to possess
some knowledge that makes the earth burn and turn on its axis—”
but we don’t request such things from strangers
nowadays. So I said, “I love your hair.”

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Filed under Art, Inspiration, Journal, Life, Poetry