Day 7 – I hate leaving

Can’t explain what comes over me when we leave Islay. Who woulda thunk? I love this little island though I wonder if I could live here.

Met a gal born and raised there. Never left, even as far as Edinburgh! Really? But I kinda get it, The community is family. There are only about 1000 on the whole island and they take care of each other. When the power went off yesterday, Ron explained, they would survive off each other. They would have done a massive BBQ and helped each other.

The blog will be a little short as we traveled today. Although we passed many cute towns and lochs, Randy was in driving mode, so stopping was not an option.

Managed to go back to the Crinan Canal. We had a great lunch and brew there and waited for ships….which did not arrive, unlike last year where they backed up for hour. The Crinan Canal has 15 locks and is crossed by seven bridges, six swing bridges and a retractable bridge. Stone for the 15 locks was brought from Mull, the Isle of Arran.

The retractable bridge at Lock 11 replaced the original swing bridge in 1900. It is operated by a rotating handle and a cogged wheel which causes the bridge deck to roll forwards and backwards on rails and comes to rest across the lock chamber. The canal has towpaths on both sides from Ardrishaig to Crinan Bridge and horses assisted unpowered craft until 1959.

Nowadays you will see barmaids and waiters come out from their jobs to lift them. Randy so wanted to be one!

We arrived in Glasgow and deposited the car. Our hotel is literally 15 steps to the airport, so we went there for drinks since the hotel was sort of boring.

Never in my life would have I thought we would be sitting in the airport enjoying the World Cup, it was sorta fun knowing we didn’t have to check bags and hurry along. We also, believe it or not, found a small grocery store in the airport!

Off to Paris in morning to see Rapahel. I’m excited to see him, his town and his parents! Tomorrow’s blog will be much more exciting!

 

 

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Day 5 – Tour of Islay

 

 

 

 

Woke up this morning for a short run to the two distilleries nearby…Lafroig and Laugavulin. It was so quiet I could hear cars for miles, even though I ran on roads so skinny only a half of car could make it through!
Came home to a fabulous breakfast of duck eggs and smoked salmon, fresh fruit, homemade bread and homemade jams and preserves. I could so do Scottish.
Bathing was a little challenging for Mr. House, who likes his big ass shower. He had to “improvise” .
We set off for our journey across the Island.

A picture (above) of The Round church, in Bowmore, was built in 1767 by Daniel Cambell, then owner of the entire island. The interior of the church is beautiful and should be on everybody’s itinerary. The story goes that the church was built in a circular shape to make sure there were no corners for the devil to hide in. I bet he finds a few spots!

Our next stop was Bruichladdich. Randy was not real impressed, however they have started making a gin called “The Botonist” which had me drinking a gin and tonic at 11 a.m. Coming to America soon.

We headed for Caol ila in the northern west coast of the island. Randy liked it and bought some scotch from there.

Above is the Isle if Jura. Jura is noted for its wildlife, which we discovered today, birding is Islays number one reason for tourist coming. I woulda thought it the whiskey!

Lastly, we stop at Port Askaig. Last stop on the island. This small village on the northern side of the island is where you catch the ferries to Jura and the mainland. There’s not much here except the hotel, lifeboat station and a post office in the general store where you can also buy gas. We managed to find a bar. Go figure.

Just outside Port Askaig (near the road to Bunnahabhain distillery I found this

Finally got a good glass of Chardonay at this stop in Bridgend. I was so happy I allowed Randy to stop at the only brewery on the island which was nearby.

Stopped at the “local bar” for a nightcap after dinner. No matter how beautiful a place is, in the end it’s the people that live there and their way of living who make you fall in love with that part of the world. May it be their friendliness, their open-mindedness or just the way they happily ignore the hectic ruling our modern lives…

On Islay, one cannot avoid finding these pleasant qualities in most of the people, but there is, however, something much more interesting about them than ‘just’ their kindness.

I cannot put the video in this blog….I think I’m too technically challenged…. However, the music and laughter tonight was awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 3 – Oh my god, I have to drive on the left side of the road!

Today is the day Randy gets a little stressed out. He’ll never admit it, and he doesn’t read this blog (and besides it’s MY story) so I’ll say he gets stressed out. Nevertheless, he stayed listening to music at the pub a little late last night and was a wee bit groggy. Leaving Edinburgh last year was sort of easy, but maneuvering Glacow could prove challenging, especially driving on the other side of the road in a car with the steering wheel on the other side.

However, we successfully got out of Glasgow and headed to Tarbert, our destination before heading to Islay. It is close to the ferries and a cute little town.

Along the way we stop at “Rest and Be Thankful” which divides two glens. From this viewpoint you can see the old valley road, engineered by General Wade (below).

 

 

Stopped at Loch Fyne Oyster Bar for some soup and Scottish salmon.

And later in Inverness for a few drinks and shopping.

Successfully we arrive inTarbert (below) and check into our hotel, the Knap Guest House, where we were greeted by our host Allstair. He suggests a restaurant (Starfish) and a pub (The corner bar) which we happily go to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner at the StarFish was excellent and I’m sorry to say I forgot to take a “before” picture. Here is my meal, AFTER. Fettuccini with scallops and muscles. Randy had Sea Bass.

Again, I am amazed at the daylight here in the summer. It is now 10:17 and bright outside. The end of the “Viking games” is today and I hear bagpipes marching down the street. Time to go to bed. Early morning ferry…….Tomorrow, Islay!

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Day 3 – Oh my god, I have to drive on the left side of the road!

Today is the day Randy gets a little stressed out. He'll never admit it, and he doesn't read this blog (and besides it's MY story) so I'll say he gets stressed out. Nevertheless, he stayed listening to music at the pub a little late last night and was a wee bit groggy. Leaving Edinburgh last year was sort of easy, but maneuvering Glacow could prove challenging, especially driving on the other side of the road in a car with the steering wheel on the other side.

 

However, we successfully got out of Glasgow and headed to Tarbert, our destination before heading to Islay. It is close to the ferries and a cute little town.

Along the way we stop at “Rest and Be Thankful” which divides two glens. From this viewpoint you can see the old valley road, engineered by General Wade (below).

 

 

 

 

Stopped at Loch Fyne Oyster Bar for some soup and Scottish salmon.

And later in Inverness for a few drinks and shopping.

Successfully we arrive inTarbert (below) and check into our hotel, the Knap Guest House, where we were greeted by our host Allstair. He suggests a restaurant (Starfish) and a pub (The corner bar) which we happily go to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dinner at the StarFish was excellent and I'm sorry to say I forgot to take a “before” picture. Here is my meal, AFTER. Fettuccini with scallops and muscles. Randy had Sea Bass.

Again, I am amazed at the daylight here in the summer. It is now 10:17 and bright outside. The end of the “Viking games” is today and I hear bagpipes marching down the street. Time to go to bed. Early morning ferry…….Tomorrow, Islay!

 

 

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Last day in Denmark

Today we headed to the summer house for waterskiing. Yep, waterskiing in Denmark! Below is a picture of their cute house.

We rode bikes down to the water and Jon hooked up the boat and brought it down, which was only a short ways. Below is them walking out to the dock. Randy was a little apprehensive because it was not a warm day In Tahoe, and it had been several years since he has waterskied. Notice, however, that the sun opened up and the rained ceased. We have been lucky with the weather for sure!
Jonas was the first into the water.

And up he goes, the first try!

Next, Randy.

Not as successful, however, after a few tries up he goes!

Below are the guys! They wanted to show that the sun does shine in Denmark!

Me, I sat on the beach and took pictures and had a little wine!

Goodbye Denmark, we had a wonderful time!

 

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Birthday in Denmark

Woke up in Skagen on my birthday for a little run with Linda and Randy.

I feel I must write a little more about Skagen after seeing and reading about it a little more.

Apparently here, they have more sunshine than anywhere else in Denmark and it never rains for very long. The Danes like to come here to celebrate the light. Last eventing (evenings in this part of the world come late…around 11 p.m.) we drove to watch the sunset. The pic below does not do it justice, you'll have to wait and see what my big camera captured!

After seeing the light here, Hans Christian Anderson wrote, “Are you a painter? Then follow us up here.” By the 1880s a small artists' colony, led by Anna and Michael Ancher, P.S. Krøyer and Holger Drachmann had established itself in the village

During the run this morning we saw Skagen's yellow and red clapboard houses enclosed by white picket fences. Below is an example and the one we are staying in.

When I returned home breakfast was prepared and a gift of Skagen napkins and card with Denmark's flag at the table!

We rode the bikes to the village and did some shopping, later to meet the boys for lunch. Again they surprised me with a gift of Copenhagen china called Royal Copenhagen and some candies made in town (below they are making the candy) I have to start a collection (of the china not the candy) now as it is very beautiful! You can see the pattern below.

After lunch we drove to the village Rander where Randy discovered yet another Danish beer, Thor.

 
Our hosts (friends of Linda and Jon's) served us a traditional Danish lunch consisting of herring on bread (below) and Danish open faced sandwiches (smorrebod, below). They were prepared in a wide assortment sitting on top of my favorite bread (rugbroed….the dark type of rye/pumpernickel). I had one with fish and another with egg…..hey it was my birthday!
Occasionally during this meal someone would say “skol” (usually Jonas) and we would drink a shot of Aquavit (they call it snapps but doesn't taste like we Americans know of snapps) There were three different ones and one called Linje from Norway. Jon explained it was the best because of this story. Linje Aquavit is named after the tradition of sending oak barrels of aquavit with ships from Norway to Australia and back again, thereby passing the equator twice before being bottled. The constant movement, high humidity and fluctuating temperature causes it to extract more flavour and contributes to accelerated maturation.

In between food and desert we walked to a small church in which they had the key to.

The Danish custom of hanging the replica of a sailing vessel in the church sanctuary is widespread in Denmark and in churches of Danish origin.

Again, these pictures are not as good as the ones I got with my larger camera.

When I asked our host why he had the keys, he explained that, although he and his wife were not very religious, they liked the idea of people coming together to meet and wanted to keep that tradition alive in their community. They act of sort of “caretaker” of the church.

Below is a wagon that was kept in the barn. It is an old beer wagon that has been refurbished to its original self.
All in all, it was a great birthday!

 

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Journey to Skagen

We left at around 8:30 for Skagen via some side routes. The first stop was a harbor where they manually pull the fishing boats out by a tractor. Blow is the cable system

Below is the boat……

And here is the tractor.
We passed by many beautiful spots and cute little towns on our way to Skagen. Here we arrive at the “summer cabin”. Skagen takes its name from the region, which projects into the waters between the North Sea and the straits of Denmark. So basically I am going to stand between the Atlantic Ocean and the Baltic sea!
We arrive and pick up our bikes that Linda has rented for our trip around the city (below). Randy has never rode a bike with a basket! (Used to carry beer home from the store)
We ride the bikes down to have fish balls.
Later we ride the bikes down to the “point” and see an old lighthouse that use to use coal to guide the ships in. Not as pretty as the newer ones!
You can only ride your bikes so far and then must take the “sand snake” to get to the point.
Below are Randy and I with one foot in the north and one in the east.

We rode bikes back for ice cream and coffee and the rode around looking at boats.

Later we will go to see old Skagen and the “lights” More about that tomorrow!

 

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