Friday, February 27, 2015

NYE 2014 and a wedding!

Slight break from the Honeymoon posts...

This year for New Year's, Jay and I flew to Chicago! We spent New Year's Eve with friends of mine, their husbands and a whole boatload of other people at a lumberjack themed party. Yes, really. Flannel as far as the eye could see.  It was pretty entertaining actually.

The next day we went out to meet up with my dad and baby brother, before bro headed back to Texas.

The next couple of days were spent wandering around Chicago, being lazy, sleeping in... it was lovely. Truly!

The real reason we were in Chicago at that time, was for my friend Sarah's wedding!! The night before the wedding, we were invited to a pre-wedding dinner (out of towners only).  It was great, because there were so many people from college there!  A bunch of us even kept drinking after..
pre-wedding dinner, with the bride to be in the middle!
what happens when college friends keep drinking...
The wedding! It was held in the most unique space, a refurbished thrift store/warehouse.  It was very cool and lent an quirky sense to the whole wedding.  Spending time with college friends was great! Jay loved it, because he was able to hear some crazy stories from when we were all a lot younger. And dumber.
Jay and I dressed up and looking good!

our old crew!

the bride and I!

the unique wedding venue

All in all, a great wedding!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Honeymoon part 5 Isle of Skye

We left Inverness the next morning for our drive to the Isle of Skye.  The closer we got to the coast, the worse the weather became.  I didn't let that deter me from jumping out of the car (when it was stopped) to take random pictures - even when Jay wasn't too pleased!

Jay is not happy about being outside

We stopped to see Eilean Donan castle.  If it looks familiar, its because you've probably seen in before.  It is the most photographed castle in Scotland.  And its very picturesque.  As we were taking pictures, Jay and I both commented that you couldn't even tell how windy and rainy it was, because the pictures just turned out so great!  So we made sure to try to take one to show how bad the weather really was.
Eilean Donan castle

our best attempt - the wind was nearly blowing us over!

The drive to Skye required us to cross the Skye bridge.  Its a good thing Jay was driving... because you couldn't see the other side! A little scary...

Once on the Isle, we stopped at a bridge over the Sligachan river.  When I was on Skye the last time, our bus driver/tour guide told us that to stick your face in the river would grant you eternal youth.  I did it then...but this time, no way! The river was swollen and raging... not to mention that the wind felt like it was going to blow us away!
the Sligachan river

We stopped for a bite to eat in Portree and sought out our guest house after that.  The weather made it an early night for us and we settled in with what we called our "Scottish dinner".  Our days usually consisted of breakfast, adventures, a late lunch and more the time "dinner" rolled around we weren't typically very hungry.  So we would go out to the local grocery store, pick up some cheese, meats and crackers and nosh on those while wearing our comfy pants and watching BBC's Top Gear. Oh yea, we know how to party.
"Scottish dinner"

The next day, we went on an adventure around the Isle of Skye.  The weather had cleared a bit, but not enough to really let us see all the awesome landscape Skye offers.  It was still fun though! We came across and wandered around in a couple of cemeteries, encountered some hairy roadside friends and even stopped at the Talisker distillery (the only distillery on the Isle of Skye) All in all a good day despite the weather!
looking into Portree from our guest house
Kilt Rock

Hairy coo

around the Isle of Skye
Talisker Distillery

Honeymoon part 4 Inverness and the Highlands

So, the morning we left Glasgow in our cute little rental car, we headed north to Inverness.  I hadn't made it there the last time I was in Scotland, so we were both really looking forward to it.  The funny thing about this whole honeymoon trip... I planned the major destinations (Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, etc) but I never planned what we were going to do once we go there!  Luckily, the rental car guy grew up in Inverness, so before we departed, he gave us a few pointers on where to go to eat and drink.

We arrived in Inverness with no major issues.  The drive was lovely!  Getting into Inverness... thats the one time we truly got lost!  Scottish towns do not mark their roads well, so we were all over the place before we came across a street we could find on the map that sort of kind of led us to our hotel.  Once we got there and out of the car, Jay refused to drive again for the rest of the day!

It was fine, we walked around Inverness, stopped at a lovely little cafe for lunch and just enjoyed being in the town.

downtown Inverness

looking up the River Ness

looking at Inverness

The next day we headed out to Culloden.  Culloden was the site of the last battle of the Jacobite Uprising.  The history leading up to the battle and the turmoil that followed after, make up a very big chunk of Scottish history. I am a big history nerd, so things like this get me all excited.  On top of that, I've devoured all of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander books, and she does an amazing job with the historical aspect of it! Anyway... Culloden. Its a moor. Its beautiful and sad. Its crazy to think a battle was fought there. We took the walking audio tour and it was great. Windy and cold, but great!
Culloden Moor - beautiful and sad

memorial cairn

Clan marker - Fraser is the clan used in Outlander!

clan marker - my family's roots 

After Culloden we jumped back in the car and just started driving.  We headed south with no real destination in mind, but ended up along the banks of Loch Ness (no monster, sorry) and visited the ruins of Castle Urquhart.
Jay and our rental

on the shores of Loch Ness

Loch Ness
Castle Urquhart
inside the castle ruins

Jay and I!
We then headed back to Inverness for a late dinner and bed! The adventure would continue!