03 July 2019

Scottish Soldiers, Wheels, & Another Castle

A few weeks ago, on yet another not-so-spring-like Saturday, we finally visited The Gordon Highlanders Museum, just a few minutes' walk from our flat.  It is a small museum with a massive collection devoted to "the finest regiment in the world" according to Sir Winston Churchill, The Gordon Highlanders.  It was a pleasant couple of hours, learning about the last few centuries of Scottish warfare.  They even have a recreated WWI trench on the grounds.  When we paid, we received special tickets allowing us to visit several other attractions in the region for free!  Lucky us!  We had already used a 2-for-1 voucher for the Highlanders' museum!

So...last weekend, we got a Co-Wheels car for the day to visit The Grampian Transport Museum and Braemar Castle.

Ford GT40 (actually a kit car)

Datsun 260Z

Triumph

Rover "Jam Sandwich"

TVR

A unique bicycle built for 2



Ferrari F40

We have passed Braemar Castle numerous times and even visited the grounds previously, but we had never been inside (past the shop/ticket office).  The decor is mostly as it was in the 1950s when the most recent laird and his family were in residence.





Robert Louis Stevenson is believed to have written the first chapters of Treasure Island during a summer stay in Braemar.









Partial photo credit to Pat.  xo

06 June 2019

Santorini: It Was All Greek To Me!

As I have mentioned before, the ease of European travel was a major draw for me when Pat and I initially discussed our move to Scotland.  Thus far, we have visited France to ski, Prague, Milan, London, and most recently, Santorini!  It was a fantastic week of great food and drink, sun and sea, culture and history, good friends and new acquaintances.  Normally, after a week of vacation, I am ready to go home.  This time, I could have stayed a few days longer.

Santorini is famous for the sunsets, but here is a sunrise from the beach one morning when I was up early.


We stayed in Kamari on the east side of the island.  It was generally quiet and relaxed, possibly more so because it was an early-season visit.  It had the expected tourist shops and things, but it also had a somewhat small town feel overall.  Our hotel was basic, but the staff made it great and we did not need much more anyway.

Our beach



Our beach

Kamari, from above

The Greek sampler--one of my first and last meals in Santorini

Not exactly what was ordered, but how could I complain?!

We were just steps from the Aegean Sea

Maria, our Greek language instructor

We learned hello/goodbye, thank you very much, you are welcome, good morning, good night, and of course, cheers!  I think we frequently impressed and pleased the locals with our few Greek words.

One day, we took the boat taxi around the big rock next to Kamari to the town of Perissa.

The boat taxi

Kamari, from the boat taxi


Perissa from the boat taxi

Perissa from the boat taxi



Pat and I visited five (of the seventeen) wineries during the week.  We were told the white and rose wines on Santorini are better than the reds and also to be sure to try the local sweet wine, Vinsanto which is made from raisins.  So...I actually tasted some roses that I liked!  And, I loved the Vinsanto, which is also remarkable because I generally do not enjoy dessert wines.  We came home with a red, a white, two dessert wines, and a wine vinegar.

A grape vine, trained into a basket to protect the grapes from the wind and hold in moisture

I was struck by the yellow color of the Assyrtiko grape, Santorini's most famous


Grapes


Probably the most stunningly beautiful moment of the week

To accompany our tasting; Santorini is also famous for the tomato paste


We booked a boat (and bus) tour and were able to see a large portion of the rest of the island/s.  We stopped at the volcano to explore; at the island of Therasia for lunch and a walk up the hill for some of us; a quick dip in a hot spring that was not hot; before taking the scenic route back to the harbor and a bus to finish the tour in Oia.  It was a full day of sun and sea and nobody was sick!

Not our boat, but it was identical, I think

Walking to the top of the volcano, essentially the center of the caldera

At the top


Oia from the volcano

Therasia

Therasia harbor



Fira

Oia

Waiting for the sunset


My tasty, but expensive, pre-sunset meal

The sunset from Oia

...and, back to reality.