Scotland/Germany - April 2012

A rare chance to get down and crawl while in London Heathrow!
With excitement and a bit of nervousness for the long flight ahead, we departed for our big European adventure! The flights all went well, and I quite enjoyed the descent into London. We flew over Windsor Castle and the Olympic rowing venue, both of which were impressive to see from above
After a very long day of travelling (Victoria-Calgary-London-Edinburgh) we finally arrived in Scotland!
It was gorgeous and sunny when we arrived and hoped the weather would hold out for us. We picked up our car rental and set out on the wrong side of the road for the first time ever. Even with directions it was clear within about a minute that we were lost. Luckily with the handheld GPS we were soon back on the road in the right direction. Once checked in at the hotel it was time to relax for a bit (but forced ourselves to stay awake), had some dinner and then settled in for some well deserved sleep.

The next day the weather certainly took a turn for the worse! It was dark, gloomy, cold and windy...not exactly my favourite kind of weather to tour around in. But, I suppose it was to be expected in Scotland during the springtime.

A tour of Edinburgh Castle is not to be missed when in this city, so of course that's where we started. First up we watched the noon gun, then continued to tour through the many halls and museums within the Castle. Walking along the Royal Mile near the castle also gives a wonderful perspective on this city.

After the castle, we drove around to see some nearby sights...including the Salisbury Crags, Roslin Chapel, and Portobello Beach. Then, back to the hotel for what we call a ghetto meal.

The next day the weather took an even further turn for the worse with snow, luckily not too much! We met up with our friends and had a lovely lunch in a pub right by the Forth Bridge.

Pubs in Scotland are so charming and friendly and it was refreshing to have the baby welcomed. In the afternoon we quickly stopped by the Falkirk Wheel, then through very scenic countryside to Stirling Castle.

Stirling Castle has just recently been through a major rejuvenation and was fantastic to tour through. We were there just before closing and nearly had the whole place to ourselves.

A door just my size!

After closing now, leaving through the secret door.
Next, we were onwards to St. Andrews...again via beautiful scenery. Passed by the Wallace Monument.

We had dinner in the cute town and passed by many golf courses and the ruins of St. Andrews Castle on the way to the Fairmont St. Andrews. Had a fantastic night here!

View from our room

The next day we zipped back across Scotland, past Glasgow to the Auchentoshan Single Malt Whiskey Distillery. They put on a very informative tour and of course there are tons of samples to taste at the end!

Baby's first distillery tour!

It was now late afternoon and we decided to zip back to the Falkirk Wheel and actually ride it this time.

At the top!

The next day was the friend's wedding that had brought us to Scotland in the first place. What an amazing experience to be at a wedding with different customs than we're used to. And yes, there were lots of kilts and a bagpiper!

Onwards to Germany! The rest of our time in Europe was spent in the Black forest region in South West Germany (Lahr), visiting with family and a bit of sightseeing.

Visited Monkey Mountain in nearby France.

Then, the Black Forest open air Museum which was fascinating! There's a collection of old houses set up with furniture from the appropriate time period, complete with animals and people dressed up.

Then, to the nearby castle ruins of Geroldseck.

View from the ruins

Then to Lahr Stadtpark (city park) for Tulipfest.

Then, a walk along the Rhine River.

Then, a train ride down to Freiburg to visit the market.

First train ride!

And then it was the end of the trip and off we flew home!