So of course, I gave April the same exit survey which was especially important since we hope to have more visitors in the future. April was more than happy to oblige, and I have to say, I was a little surprised by her answers.
1. Dunottar Castle.
This one doesn’t surprise me. It was April’s first castle, and therefore will always hold a special place in her heart. The weather was perfect and the majestic setting was well worth the 600 stairs up and down the cliff, even if we did have to take a few breathers along the way.
April had just watched Disney’s Brave on the plane, so it was fitting that her first stop would be the inspiration behind the main character’s castle. It was a great way to welcome her to Scotland.
This one surprised me a bit. Aberdeen is a great town to live in, but doesn’t have much to offer in terms of sightseeing. But it’s true that Aberdeen was my favorite place when visiting my parents so I guess it makes sense. There is something about getting to witness someone’s daily life in a foreign country that trumps all that touristy stuff.
Plus, both April and I are pretty easy to please, so she was perfectly happy just tagging along on a dog walk or trip to the grocery store.
3. Eilean Donan Castle.
I think it's easy to see why. The castle and its surroundings were straight out of a fairytale.
Just google ‘Scotland’ and the majority of the images will be of this postcard-perfect fortress.
4. The Isle of Skye.
We both wish we would have had more time here, and I can’t wait to drag my honey back and get our hands on some of those mountains.
We could have skipped…
1. Staying the night in Inverness.
While Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle were well worth a visit, Inverness wasn't too impressive. If we had to do it over, we’d leave Aberdeen bright and early for the Isle of Skye stopping at Loch Ness as a halfway pitstop on our journey. That way we’d have two nights on the Isle of Skye, and more of a break before driving on to Edinburgh.
2. The Glenfinnan Monument and Viaduct.
Yes, it was gorgeous, but out of the way on an already very long drive. And once you’re there, and you’ve seen it, well, that’s pretty much all there is. After visiting the Isle of Skye, the landscape was only mediocrely impressive. But since we had little luck with Nessie, I know April was hoping to spot some Dementors flying around the Harry Potter bridge.
Gasp! Now I take full responsibility for April’s less than stellar start in Edinburgh. When we arrived it was storming, rush hour traffic, with massive construction in the city center. We kept getting lost and I had a bit of a break down. Once we finally got situated, neither of us were in the mood to brave the rain for sightseeing, so we grabbed some Thai food and then drowned our sorrows in the hotel bar. Since our evening in Edinburgh was a wash, that meant we had to cram everything into one very long and exhausting day.
We still had a good day of exploring, but April said she’d have traded it for another day in Skye or Aberdeen.
I think if I had to do it over, we’d spend the first night of her trip in Edinburgh, head to Aberdeen for 2 nights, spend 2 nights in Skye, and the last day/night in Stirling or St. Andrews, somewhere close enough to easily drive her to the Edinburgh airport that final morning.
Reflecting on this road trip makes me so grateful to have experienced this trip with April. We’ve come a long way since our Spring Break Fort Walton days, and I sure hope that she thinks Scotland is worth another trip. There is so much more for her to see, and hopefully by her next visit, I’ll have a better handle on this whole travel agent thing.
Well Jonathan is sick in bed taking only his 2nd sick day ever. Poor thing is running fever with a nasty cold, and it is very hard for me to be productive when I know there is a LOST marathon going on in my bedroom. I’ve got to go chip away at our mountain of laundry so that I can un-guiltily snuggle up with him for a while. See you tomorrow for a recap on Krakow!