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WALES - UK - SCOTLAND

Posted on August 5, 2015 at 9:35 AM

What a interesting month this has been. We started our journey in Wales, staying with some good friends we met years ago in Namibia.  They have turned their old stables into a beautiful, roomy & relaxing   cottage which can take up to 4 people.  A real credit to them, it is peaceful, modern, yet fits in with the rustic surroundings which makes Wales so special. We also head to north of Wales to Snowdonia for a few days so Sara could do her zip-line adventure. This is where we visited our first castle.  Tell you what, i can see why people love it here in Wales so much. The narrow roads and quaint villages, stone walls and green hedges and with the true air of age-old life. .. and it's open fields with sheep and cows... i love it.  

Next we headed to Nottingham to stay with our other good friends we met in Mombasa 2 years ago.  It is so good to catch up with these people again and meet their families. Kerran and Janis took us to Sherwood forest, and lots of other interesting places both near and far, It is hard to say which ones we enjoyed most. Hope the photos will tell the stories. I just love the personal time we get with friends, the stories and the laughs, they are the important things to us, and we had no lack of good times and great memories.

From Nottingham we headed north through the scenic Lakes District and found a interesting 'stone circle' in a random field, which made us think of Stone Henge" then found our way to our B&B at the tiny coastal town of Mawbray... right on the west coast of UK just before reaching Scotland. Talk about a quaint little town, it was a big leap back in time in the village, although they had modern cons in the buildings themselves. Croft house was a lovely B&B with even more lovely guests.

Next day, we crossed the Scotland border, another country we both love!  First we made a quick detour to Edinburgh where we boarded the Royal Yacht Brittania.  It was very interesting to see how they live on this yacht and was quite worth the visit, even though it does take a good 2 or 3 hours to go through.  Time was getting on and we had to make the slow crawl in peak hour traffic to our hotel in Callander.  Next day it was on to the highlands. The scenery changes quite a bit as you go along... from rolling green hills and valleys with stone walls then to high mountains and so many lakes, which is what they called LOCHs,   so i learnt that Loch Ness is actually Lake Ness.  We travelled quite a lot of the north-west coast highlands.  It was awesome following the coast which actually has quite a rich history from the war days. We were fortunate enough to find a on-site van right on the shore of Gruinard Bay, where we had sea otters and seals visit in the late afternoon. It had a gentle feel to the place, although, we did need to put the gas heater on,.. it was quite cold, but it was relaxing as we walked around the different areas, and took part in the fun day that was taking place in the next small village.  We also drove up to the next port called Ullapool for anyone who might reconise the name. 

A week later it was time to head to Aberdeen for the wedding of Steve and Kate. On the way, we noticed that we were very close to Balmoral Castle which is where the royal families come for their summer holiday retreat.  We were very fortunate to find it open to the public, ( a week later, would no longer be open)...we even got to meet  the Queens mechanic.... a good ole chap who was great to chat with. Naturally you can only see the outside of the castle, but you can walk thru the extensive gardens and grounds, part of the work shop, cars, and the ballroom inside... which was simply HUGE. It was interesting to see some of the toys that the children are given to play with. Aside from usual prams etc, i did notice quite a few games that use strategies, like Battleships and things like that. 

Anyway, onward to the wedding.  Bob worked in Bangladesh with Steve, so it was lovely that we could come and share their special day, and i finally got to meet Steve and Kate plus a couple of the other men that Bob worked with, as well as their wives.  We again were extemely fortunate to have the opportunity to stay 2 nights in the Drumtochty Castle where the wedding was taking place.  We almost needed a GPS just to find our room up 2 flights of stairs. (the big open staircase, then a private hidden staircase behind the door). 

The wedding itself was magnificent, and it was great to see all these men & boys in their kilts or tartan pants.                          We enjoyed a lot of dancing, mainly Gaelic dancing, (kind of lot like barn dancing where you swing your partner from one to the other)... that answers the question about why i am still in so much pain from that night.  Seems i may have a cracked rib in my back.  But,  the night was fantastic, and it was sad to say goodbye next morning after meeting and spending time with these new friends we have met. 

We spent the next two days driving back to London Heathrow, so we would be close to the airport for our flight to Greece next day..  This is the 2nd time we have been to UK, but we still have not actually seen LONDON, so when we finish our time in Greece and Kenya, we will return to London to do the tourist thing, check it all out, and also to spend the day with Cherie, my niece, which we are greatly looking forward to.

For those who do not know it yet,... we made the desision to cancel the last 6 weeks of our journey, which was going to be visiting parts of Europe that we haven't seen yet.  But with the Austalian dollar dropping so far, and with America and UK being SO expensive as they are,  we thought  there is no point pushing ourselves too hard and breaking the bank just to prove a point, there are still things at home we want to do, so we are now arriving home on 8th September, which is.... 1 day shy of the day we left 2 years ago on this adventure. So I think this is not a bad  innings, plus, we will be home for our 40th wedding anniversary and Bobs 60th birthday, both in October,... so we might have a bit of a barby (probably on the 18th) to celebrate those things, and our getting home again.

That's the story so far,  we are currently in Greece, but i will load those photos in the next up-date. Caio.!!

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