Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Guest Blog From Ortie- The Edinburgh Experience

Hi Road Less Traveled blog readers. This is Michelle Orton, or as Katie Scarlett likes to call me, Ortie. You've recently seen my name appearing in Katie's latest blog posts.  Even though she is a bit protective of her blog and who can write in it, she has allowed me to guest write while I am visiting her in Edinburgh.  (I will spare you the details of what I did to convince her!) Last week I embarked on my trip to visit Katie Scarlett in Scotland!   I, of course, had to let my family know I got here safe and what better way than to use an authentic phone booth! After telling my parent's I made it safely, it was off to dinner followed by Katie's local hot spot, Finnegan's Wake. As they say in the UK, it was a top night out! 

I have been good friends with Katie for 4 years now, and I have to say the move to Scotland has definitely improved my friends life skills.  Ok, don't fall over when you read this but, Katie Scarlett can cook!!! I like to think I rubbed off on her, but now she is on her way to becoming a Modern Day Martha in her own right.  Since I have arrived she has already cooked me 2 delicious gourmet dinners! 

With wine of course! Cheers to celebrating Easter in Edinburgh! 

 As one of my best friends Katie Scarlett know's exactly how I like to travel. She had a stack of guide books waiting for my arrival.  This morning I set off to explore this new city, guidebook in hand.  Of course the first thing I did upon leaving was get lost, but that is life.  I eventually made my way over to Edinburgh Castle.  The views were spectacular and if you ever visit this city it is was worth every penny. 

Little did I know that Easter Monday is a regular celebration at the castle.  There were tons of extra things going on.  There were jugglers performing and Scottish dance lessons for the children.  One of the more interesting exhibits was the birds of prey they brought in. Since Katie has panic attacks around birds, I was glad she wasn't with me. Although I am sure it would have made for an entertaining day. 

Some of you might not know me, but I am considerably taller (6'3 to be exact).  This country is so considerate, they even warn you to duck before you hit your head! Thanks Scotland! Us tall people appreciate your courtesy. 

This day also brought out interesting characters in the city.  I found a man in a kilt, but he was leading a wedding processional, and it did not seem an appropriate time for the kilt question.  I also ran into William Wallace himself!  I think it could be Mel Gibson if you look closely.    

 My favorite part of the day was visiting Saint Giles Cathedral.  This church has very vaulted ceilings and beautiful stained glass.   

 I don't think I walked 5 feet without seeing a new set of glass. 

 After all that walking, I needed a proper spot of tea and found a cute little cafe not even a block from the cathedral. 

I then made my way back to Katie's flat via the Meadows.  The sun was shining and the cherry trees are in full bloom, it was such a nice day to be outside.   

Given the good weather Katie and I decided to trek out into the wild for an evening adventure after she got off work. Check out Katie's office in the picture on the right. She works in a castle! 

She took me to her favorite spot in the Burgh, the top of Arthur's Seat. 

 I didn't tell Katie Scarlett that I was scared of heights until 1/2 way up, but she forced me to finish. Look at what she made me deal with. 

Really Katie Scarlett?! I can't believe you made me do this. Looking back down was much worse. 

But once we reached the summit, I enjoyed the sunset and 360degree views of the city. The climb was never ending but the views were worth it! You can even see the North Sea in the background. 

I was happy to have survived, while Katie Scarlett was ready for more. She is a maniac and craves adventure. And that is why I love her! 

At the top of Arthur's Seat, the hunt for men in kilts continued. 
For more on this, watch the video below: 

 Our sunset hike was definitely a highlight for this trip!

Thanks for reading my guest spot. More to come later this week. 
Stealing Katie Scarlett's tag line, Until next time, I'll see you on the internet. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Road Trip to North Berwick Beach

Today is Sunday, April 24 2011 and it is my first Easter Sunday in the great country of Scotland. This morning the sun was shining bright and my friend Lynsey decided we would take her car for a road trip to North Berwick beach to show my friend Ortie around Scotland.  We piled into Lynsey's polo VW, who we like to call Percey, and made our way north east of Edinburgh up the scenic coast to the beach. The drive was beautiful and we made it there in about 45 minutes with only two missed turns.  I was presently surprised when we parked our car that their was a traditional Scottish garden with many perennials and bulbs in full bloom. So of course I had to play in the dirt for a bit and get some pictures of all of the flowers. 

One of my favorite herbaceous perennials, Dicentra aka Bleeding Heart

Ortie was ready and willing to strike a pose on request. 

Ortie and Lynsey under the Yew archway

After playing in the garden, we strolled through town. The tulips were blooming everywhere we turned. 

North Berwick has a lot of cute shops and places to get fresh seafood. The shops are quaint and charming and the town is full of life.  

Yum, candy shop! 

Ortie and I were definitely enjoying the sun! 

After checking out the town, we headed towards the shore. It was so good to smell the salt air and put my feet in the sand. 

Even though the water was FREEZING, I had to put my feet in the Black Sea. 

Ortie also ventured into the water, but quickly ran out!

Here is a boy, canoeing to the island of lost boys. Say hello to my old friends for me. 

Then it was time for my favorite types of photos. Action shots! Thanks to my new camera, we were able to get some fun ones of us floating in mid air! 

After about 10 attempts, the girls finally got one of me off the ground. 

All that jumping= two tired ladies 

But we had time for an interview to find out what the Scottish men really wear under their kilts. 

After our video shoot, we went to play on some rocks. 
I just love the beach!

Playing at the beach for a few hours helped us work up an appetite. What a better way to end our day at North Berwick than with some fish and chips. They were delish!

 The massive rocks along the beach have light houses built right into the side of their cliffs. My great grandfather was one of the last keepers of the Cape Hatteras Light House in the OBX, so I have always loved lighthouses. 

North Berwick was such a charming town and it's only a short drive out of the city. I definitely want to go back as the weather gets warmer. 

Until next time, I will see you on the internet.