Rachel Poulin

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Rachel Poulin




Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh June 25th 2015

Our last night here - hard to believe the trip has gone so quickly! So the past few days have been uneventful, but about 400 miles of driving total. We did have a few stops to break up the driving. Yesterday we stopped at Eilean Donan Castle, the Ben Nevis distillery and a few shops along the way. We did have quite the drive down a road that was closed due to construction - but the construction worker let us through, rather than detour - so we went with it. We were both relieved that we didn't wake up to flat tires on the car this morning. Today, there was an accident on the road we intended to drive on that completely closed the road. So, we had to use our map reading skills to divert ... read more
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Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Ross and Cromarty » Dunvegan June 23rd 2015

We made it to the Isle of Skye last night - lots of driving to get here! We had absolutely no plans today, and decided to drive, explore and relax. Although this goes against my need to plan all details, it was awesome! There are only a few roads on Skye, so we weren't worried about searching for directions or getting lost. We started by driving west, and headed toward Dunvegan Castle. We decided to visit the Castle - but, even better - we decided to go on a seal boat ride at the Castle! Fortunately, it wasn't raining and we were able to see tons of adorable seals. Quite possibly one of the best highlights of our trip so far. Unfortunately, we also discovered the Scottish midge (aka, gnats that can bite). The one thing ... read more
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llUnfortunately, we did not find the Loch Ness monster (aka Nessie) today, but we did have fun looking! We went on a Nessie hunter boat cruise on the Loch (our boat captain sounded a wee bit like Sean Connery!), and learned: 1. The water is black-ish appearing because of the soil around the loch. There is a lot of peat in the soil (maybe Nessie likes peaty whiskey?) 2. Loch Ness is about 50 feet higher than sea level, about mile wide, 23 miles long and DEEP - about 750 feet deep at the deepest point. To illustrate the depth, our boat captain kept moving the boat closer to shore and reading out the depth we approached the shore. Basically, there's a very minimal shoreline, and then a fairly steep drop very close to shore. 3. ... read more
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Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Nairnshire June 21st 2015

You didn't think I'd go the entire trip without a reference to Outlander, right? June 20th: We've had a VERY busy few days! Yesterday, we left our B&B in Ballater and headed north on the Speyside Whiskey Trail. We toured the Glenlivet distillery, and stopped in at Glenfiddich, Glen Moray, Dallas Dhu and a few others. We were able to bottle cask strength whiskey from Glen Moray as a take-home - a fun way to get some unique whiskey. We both love the way the distilleries in this area smell - very fruity, almost like banana bread or banana pudding. If only whiskey tasted like the distilleries smell! We also stopped at Knockando weaving mill on the way through - because let's face it, I'm attracting to all things involving yarn/fibers. We headed to our B&B, ... read more
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Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Aberdeenshire » Ballater June 19th 2015

We have arrived in the highlands! We left the Fife area this morning, and headed north to Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven. It was a bit of a drive out of the way, but well worth it. Dunnottar Castle is an old castle/ruins situated on a cliff over the ocean. We learned about the Castle while in Edinburgh, as it was where an 8 month siege against Cromwell's forces saved the "honours of Scotland." It took several stairs down and up to access the castle, but was stunning to view the ruins and ocean as the backdrop. From Dunnottar, we headed east into the Cairngorms and highlands. We visited Balmoral Castle (since I apparently love to visit everywhere associated with the monarchy) late this afternoon. Not as exciting as I expected - very lovely grounds, beautiful home, ... read more
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Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Fife » Anstruther June 18th 2015

We survived our first day of driving! Our rental car is hilarious - since we're renting an automatic car in a primarily manual country, the only automatic car available was a pretty sweet minivan. Anyways, we left Edinburgh yesterday morning, and only got lost for about an hour on our way to Stirling Castle. Stirling Castle was really pretty, and had awesome exhibits on Mary of Guise (the mother of Mary, Queen of Scots), and tapestry weaving (my inner yarn-ahaulic celebrated). The tapestry re-creation on site was phenomenal - it depicted the Hunt of the Unicorn (symbolism of Christ). From Stirling, we made our way to the Fife area to spend a few nights with our friends. Our friends live in a small town on the coastal trail called Anstruther (home of the best fish & ... read more
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Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh June 16th 2015

...and no, it's not Sam and I stumbling into furniture after too much whiskey ;o) Day 3 in Edinburgh - we've had a blast here! We are excited to be moving on toward St Andrews tomorrow, although a bit nervous about picking-up our rental car and learning how to drive on the opposite side of the road. Today was a great day - but very busy. We started out by visiting the Britannia, the former yacht to the Queen until it was decommissioned in 1997. Highlights of the yacht include the state dining room, the Queen's bedroom, and the Queen's office. We spent about two hours exploring the yacht, and enjoyed lunch at the tea shop on board. Very exciting - how often do you have the opportunity to explore a former royal residence and see ... read more
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Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh June 15th 2015

Monday was a fun and very busy day! According to Fitbit, we walked about 10 miles and 100+ flights of stairs. We started off by visiting the Palace at Holyroodhouse - the Queen's official Scottish residence. The Queen spends one week a year in residence during the summer. Fortunately this was not the week in residence, so we were able to tour the palace and grounds. Very pretty, especially the grounds. After Holyrood House, we moved on to Arthur's Seat. At about 822 feet, Arthur's Seat is the main peak in a group of hills in Edinburgh's city center. Although the walk was a bit challenging, the view at the top was well worth it. It's a perfect panoramic view of the city, and it felt good to sit for a while before beginning our hike ... read more
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Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh June 14th 2015

We successfully made it to Scotland this morning! Very low-key flight, although neither of us slept much on the plane. We were able to drop our bags off at the hotel (awesome location - pretty much walking distance to everything tourist-y!), and then went exploring around Edinburgh. My first priority was breakfast, because I was super hungry/near hangry. We found a cute Café on the Royal Mile, and had a traditional English fry breakfast and a latte. Much needed! We wanted to take it easy-ish today, so we decided to activate our 24 hour hop-on, hop-off bus tour pass this morning. Also very helpful to begin learning the city. Unfortunately, we stayed on the bus longer than we anticipated because we both took impromptu naps during the first tour loop. We finally hopped off the bus ... read more
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Europe » Ireland » County Dublin » Dublin » Ballsbridge November 22nd 2013

I have been neglectful over the past few days - but we have certainly been busy! I'll recap some of the highlights since we arrived in Dublin: Wednesday, November 20th We made it to Dublin! The flight was crazy for a while because there were 40 mph wind gusts in Dublin, as well as some wicked turbulence. But, we survived and arrived at our B&B around 3 pm! Our first priority was to visit the shopping district in Grafton Street and dinner in the Temple Bar area. We also had a few (read: 4) pints of Bulmer's Cider each and listened to live musicians at Temple Bar - we felt it was deserved after the bumpy flight to Dublin. Thursday, November 21st We opted to spend our day touring Guinness and Jameson. ... read more
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