Farewell

by Terrica Joy in


A few final glimpses of beautiful Edinburgh...

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Heavy mist rolling in from the cold sea.

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Parks and architecture, beautifully mixed.

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Stunning cathedrals.

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Mysterious monuments.

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Bagpipes music really does fill the air.  As well as the songs of this singing wool spinning lady.  In a kilt.  And large boots.  With really strange hair.

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One of our favorite areas.

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Sir Walter Scott. (this is a close up of the 'mysterious monument' shot above)

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Truly beautiful city.

And then the sweetest cherry on top, these two...

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I can't tell you their names.  (He's like a secret government agent or something...)  But I can tell you she and I have been friends across the sea for several years now.  We were introduced via email 3 or 4 years ago and began a pen pal relationship of sorts, totally unintentionally.  It really is amazing how well you can know and love someone you've never met in person.  A friend, a confidant, a source of constant grace and encouragement and hope-filled direction...I'll never give her up.  She is beautiful in a thousand ways I can't even begin to express.  I adore her.  I count her among my closest friends, and when I really need encouragement or wisdom or prayer, despite the vast sea and lands that separate us, Scotland is always at the top of my list.  

God alone can bring hearts together like that.

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Goodbye lovely UK!  We'll miss ya... you were full of adventure and surprises, sweet moments and laughter and fears overcome, new memories, new friends, so much joy.  It's always a bittersweet parting, but we'll see you again soon, promise. ;-)


Edinburgh

by Terrica Joy in


I can't wrap this series of posts about the England/Scotland tour without sharing a few highlights of our last weekend in Edinburgh.  So if ever you find yourself in this corner of Scotland, I highly recommend hitting up a few of these charming stops.

First, pop in this amazing little market (which was literally around the corner from our hotel, ahem, He will perfect that which concerns me ;-) and pick up a small bar of creamy, organic white chocolate.

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Upon leaving take an immediate right and walk down about a block to what has to be the UK's most authentic feeling coffee shop, Artisan Roast.

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Walls covered with burlap coffee bags, homemade french press and tea cup light fixtures dangling from a cloth-draped ceiling, a wood burning fireplace, windows overlooking ivy covered courtyards...

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Chalkboard painted walls, coffee concoctions explained, a heart in my latte, and this terribly sexy guy sitting in a quiet back corner...

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What's not to love?!  Nada.  Nothin'.  It's perfection.  Find a corner, unwrap your chocolate, dip tiny bites into your steaming cup of whatever until nice and melty and simply enjoy the ambiance.

Next stop, Unicorn Antiques.  A short walk from the coffee shop tucked down a residential street, if you're into treasure hunting in foreign lands, it simply cannot be missed!

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Oh my goodness gracious.  I wish you could have witnessed my school-girl squeals of anticipation and delight...

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Endless shelves and rooms and hallways and staircases packed full of trinkets and treasures!  The photos alone make my heart race.

Josh eventually dragged me reluctantly away, grumbling my angst about leaving before I had the chance to fully examine each dusty corner and individual box of junk.  And photograph it, of course.  He said I'd get over it.  I still haven't.

He wanted to head back to Grassmarket for lunch. (and you should too, by the way.  I keep forgetting if this post is about you or me... Ok, back to recommendations. ;-)  For lunch, do head across town to Grassmarket.  It's a lovely part of the city, full of character and color.

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For a quick bite, stop in Oink.  You can't miss it, I promise.  Just look for the line of people next to the roasted pig in the window.

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I wasn't much into the pig.  (I'm vegan-ish these days, you know.  It's yet to be determined if this is a passing phase or something more lasting.  Josh is hoping it's a phase.)  He did happily indulge in a pig sandwich however, just before we wandered into this lovely shop next door called Demijohn.

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Ah, yes, much more my style.  They sell the most wonderful vinegars made with locally sourced ingredients, definitely worth a stop on your agenda.  I tasted about a dozen before deciding on Lemon, Strawberry, and Blackberry.  They're SO tasty.  Like dessert.

After your vinegar tasting take a walk down the Royal Mile, just because you should.

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Don't forget to stop in Elephant House, the coffee shop where JK Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book... longhand.

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I popped inside and snapped this shot, then nonchalantly announced to Josh this was the specific spot where she sat while she wrote it.

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He believed me for about 4 seconds.

After a long afternoon wander about the city, you'll be ready to eat no doubt.  If you happen to be into the farm to table movement like we are, check out this darling little cafe, Urban Angel.  (which also just happened to be immediately around the corner from our hotel, just between the organic market and the coffee shop ;-)  It's delicious.

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Wild mushroom risotto, roasted sweet potato wedges, some sort of delicious 'teenage lamb' stew.  (I said I was vegan-ISH.  That means I get to be vegan when I feel like it and use it as an excuse to not eat things I don't want to when necessary...like gigantic roasted pig that still has cute ears and a face.  Although I have to admit that typing the words 'teenage lamb' in reference to our stew suddenly sounds equally awful...  (Oh my, how ironic.  As I was literally typing that last sentence my husband walked in and handed me my latest package from amazon...Alicia Silverstone's 'The Kind Diet' Vegan Cookbook.  I'm not kidding.))

Hmmm....and on that note, I'm signing off!  Tomorrow I'll take you for one last walk thru the stunning city itself... and tell you about a few upcoming adventures. 


Couple

by Terrica Joy in


Early Friday morning after hugs and email exchanges and last minute photo ops, Josh and I said goodbye to our group and dropped them at the airport.  We had planned to stay a few extra days in Edinburgh to explore the city on our own, and we definitely had a few must-see places in mind.  I'd heard whispers of a hidden coffee shop just around the corner from our hotel as well as a farm-to-table restaurant, and I'd read about a thrift store I was dying to check out, too.  A hike up Arthur's Seat for panoramic views of the city was also on our list, maybe seafood at the pier, and a who knew what else!  Half the fun is not knowing.

There's simply no feeling on earth like being in a foreign city with someone you love, nothing in particular that has to be accomplished, the day dancing before you, teasing you with endless possibilities.  I love it.  I live for moments like these.

Making our way back across town we stumbled upon these two, loving them instantly.  

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We followed along behind them for quite awhile, listening to their chattering, whispering and pointing at their hand holding, his hat, their overall general cuteness.  It reminded me of this little man.  

I took several photos, totally unbeknownst to them of course, praying for them silently, trailing behind them down the street until finally Josh smiled at me, took my hand and dragged me the other direction saying he definitely needed a hat like that!

I giggled, wondering if he was serious or not, and off we went to explore...


Kilt

by Terrica Joy in


Back in Edinburgh just before we headed out to our final dinner together, I walked down to the hotel lobby to meet the group.  Josh had gone down a few minutes before, and as the elevator doors opened I was met with quite a commotion.  A handful of the kids had Josh cornered, and when I peeked over the crowd I caught this quick glimpse.

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They had somehow coerced him into wearing a kilt ;-)  Not just any kilt...no... a special one they'd purchased specifically for him, in Georgia Bulldog football colors no less!  I cracked up when I saw his face flushed 4 shades of red.  (He embarrasses so easy ;-)

Check out this shot.  You can totally read the look on his face!  And his body language...

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I thought he was being terribly dramatic.  I mean, c'mon, half the group was wearing them already and some of the guys were not sporting jeans underneath, but full on Scottish-style knee high wool socks!  I've learned over the years that teenagers will do just aboutanything.

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It was so fun.  And although Josh refused to wear his kilt across town to dinner like everyone else, he did promise to sport it during Georgia games this fall.  (posting pics for proof)  

Makes sense to me wearing a kilt to dinner in a country where men in skirts is normal and expected would be the better option.  Can't imagine beer-guzzling, football fanatics in the deep South to offer grace on this one.  In the States a man in a skirt is certainly viewed a number of ways, one of which not being cultural celebration and sensitivity.

All I can say is I tried to tell him... because I will be making sure he makes good on his promise.


St. Andrews

by Terrica Joy in


A tiny town perched on the cliffs above the North Sea, St. Andrews is world renowned for two things: it's ancient university (where Prince William and Kate Middleton met) and golf.  I found the bit about the royal couple fascinating, imagining them walking the same streets and sidewalks we were, gazing out at the same misty sea. As to the golf part I'm admittedly not much of a fan, but Josh rattled on and on about the 'Old Course' which is apparently the holy grail of golfers the world over.  And I guess they also dictate the rules of golf for like, everyone.  In other words it's a really big deal in the sports world, so I took a photo. ;-)

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Both the course and town of St. Andrews itself literally sit right on the water.  It's beautiful.

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We took a stroll along the water before stopping to nosh on a picnic lunch we'd picked up at an organic market before leaving Edinburgh, sipped a shared cappuccino in the back corner of a packed coffee shop, then set out to explore the ruins of St. Andrews lost cathedral.  I was anticipating wandering around the remnants of this ancient church.  Somewhere on these grounds lie the actual ruins of Andrew the apostle, as in Andrew the apostle of Jesus.  Fascinating.  

Upon first laying my eyes on it, I had to catch my breath.  With the heavy mist hovering like a cloak, it's simply stunning.

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You can imagine how gorgeous it must of been centuries ago.  Once upon a time it was not only the largest cathedral, but the largest building in all of Scotland.

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Like everything else in the tiny town, the cathedral also sits at the edge of the sea.  I found it both romantic and haunting... stirring.

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It awed me...the history, the remains of the structure itself, the fact that the apostle Andrew is laid to rest here.  Amazing.

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I snapped one last shot of Josh at the Old Course while waiting for our group to return.  From golf, to the royal couple, to the Scottish Reformation and ancient Biblical history...my heart was full of thought-provoking complexities.  No time to wade thru all of that yet though, we had a group to get packed up and to the airport early the next morning...

...but before we did, our group had one last surprise for us ;-)