12 September 2016

First American Visitors: Part 2

I forgot the Speyside photos!

My Dad is a woodworker, so we thought he would like to visit the Speyside Cooperage.  The bad news was that they do not make barrels there, only repair them.  It was interesting, but not what we had hoped for.  The good news was that they make their barrels in Kentucky, a little closer to home.

Speyside being Scotland's largest whisky region, we had to to visit a distillery and, of course, their were several options.  I checked a map for the closest one to the cooperage and it was Macallan!  My personal favorite and by coincidence, one of my brothers-in-law happens to work there.  We got a taste, a short VIP tour, and a significant discount on three bottles of whisky.  Score!

On our way home we took the scenic route through the highlands.

En route to Speyside

Heilan Coos!

At Macallan

In the VIP conference room

An odd VIP room

08 September 2016

First Visitors From America!

We recently hosted our first American visitors to our Aberdeen home--my parents on their first international trip.  (That is, assuming you ignore the walk into Juarez, Mexico and our hasty return to El Paso when I was about 13.)  Of course, it was good to see them after being away for nine months.  It was also nice to receive the replenishment of my supply of Dentyne Fire chewing gum and the Larabars I had been missing and for which I have yet to find a suitable substitute.  The best part though, was to explore Scotland with them and see it through their eyes.

In preparation for their arrival and the expected tourist trips, we joined Co-Wheels Car Club as I mentioned recently.  Thus, we had access to a car when buses, trains, and feet were not the best modes of travel.  My wife and I also joined Historic Scotland and the National Trust for Scotland which gave us free admission to all the sites that they manage respectively (plus other discounts--Yes!).

We showed them all of our favorite Aberdeen spots and even visited some new places.  We explored Aberdeenshire, including several castles (Of course!) and saw miles and miles of countryside.  We ventured as far as Speyside too, for a whisky-themed day which included a beautiful return trip through the Highlands.  The only thing planned prior to their arrival was a weekend in Edinburgh which included The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.  Despite the expense, the rain, the crowds, and the steep learning curve for the bus routes of Edinburgh (Ugh!), it was all worth it.


The Bruce! In front of  beautiful, gothic Marischal College

The Cathedral Church of St Machar

Seaton Park

The Cathedral Church of St Machar

At the Castlegate in Aberdeen

Local fish at the monthly country market

We required sustenance after all our adventures

Aberdeen harbor

Aberdeen beach



Drum Castle

Chapel at Drum Castle

Drum Castle

Crathes Castle

Gardens at Crathes Castle

Gardens at Crathes Castle

Gardens at Crathes Castle

Gardens at Fyvie Castle

Fyvie Castle

Fyvie Castle

Fyvie Castle

Haddo House

Haddo House

Chapel at Haddo House


Edinburgh Castle entrance

View from Edinburgh Castle

Jenners department store

National Museum of Scotland

The wee Kelpies

Sir Walter Scott Monument

Holyrood Palace

Holyrood Palace (Arthur's Seat in the distance)

Holyrood Abbey ruins

St Giles Cathedral

St Giles Cathedral

St Giles Cathedral

St Giles Cathedral


Notice David Bowie on the castle

I loved how the castle plays a part as well.

This is a large selection of photos, but I struggled to limit my choices down to these--I had hundreds of photos from the three-week visit and all our touring.  I may share more later.