...and I'll take the low road
And I'll get to Scotland afore ye
But me and my true love
will never meet again
on the bonnie bonnie banks
of Loch Lomond
-Loch Lomond, Scottish folk song
Thirty Days of Thanksgiving Day #3 - I am thankful for the once-in-a-lifetime trip my family took to Scotland a few years ago. It was before the word "cancer" entered our vocabulary. It was before kids, so traveling required no diapers, no bottles, no pack & play, no extra changes of clothes *just in case*. That trip provided me with some of the most fun moments of my life, and I love reliving it through pictures. (We seriously took somewhere in the neighborhood of 2000 pictures. Here are a few of my faves.
Doesn't that image of the lone bagpiper just scream "Scotland!!" to you?! It looks like a postcard, but it's the real deal. Dude stands on the side of a mountain and plays the bagpipe all day. Every day. The lake behind him (let's call it a loch, we are in Scotland after all) is supposed to be the shape of the country.
That's my folks. Yes, my mom appears to be drinking a beer. I'm sure she just picked up someone else's for the photo op. Not pictured is the coronation chicken that she ate nearly every time it was on the menu. Yum!
Some of the folks in my dad's extended family have done some pretty extensive genealogy research. While the McLean name sounds (and is!) Scottish, they've actually traced back through the Shaw side to - you guessed it - Torquil and Annie Shaw. And a blog name was born, back before I even knew what blogging was.
A big part of our trip was visiting the Isle of Jura where Torquil & Annie were from. Let me tell you, it's not exactly a hot tourist destination - I think the person at the whisky distillery there said that fewer than 100 people live on the island. But it was one of the most beautiful places that we went, and if you're willing to take the long ferry ride, I'd highly encourage it.
Boy, we really appeared to enjoy the pub scene, huh? Actually, we didn't go to that many, but we certainly did like this one. Please note this picture has four pint glasses. Three people. Who's double fisting it?! And how in the world did my hair ever grow that long?
This is our friend, Hamish. Hamish the long horn, long hair cow. I'd have brought him back home if Derek would have let me. Something about mad cow disease and getting fired from his job if he brought mad cow back to the vet school ... whatever. I am in love with Hamish and someday I'll go back to visit him. Or get a pet who looks like him.
And this is the five of us at Dalmunzie, which will forever go down as the best lodging that we have ever enjoyed in all of our travels. The rooms were awesome, food at the inn was delicious, and they had a golf course. The guy let us borrow his own personal clubs so we could play. (By play, I mean the boys played golf while mom and I chased balls for them.) It was such a fun and relaxing day after constant sightseeing. We were able to completely experience the Scottish countryside and hanging out together.
I am so thankful for the chance I had to experience a different culture. I am thankful that my parents instilled in us an appreciation for learning about new places. But most of all, I'm thankful for the fact that we genuinely had fun together as a family.