Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Sunday, June 18, 2017
Said goodbye to lots of family members today. Just Kevin's family and us left in Uddingston and we all leave tomorrow. We will be the first back in the US.
Heading to Glasgow today. No real plan in mind. Ended up taking a city sightseeing bus. Stopped off at The People's Palace, Doulton Fountain, University of Glasgow, Riverside Museum and George Square. Did a little bit of shopping but because it's Sunday, many stores were closed.
Ate at Darcy's in Princess Square. One last steak pie for Zeb.
Headed back to Uddingston after dinner to pack our suitcases.
Saying goodbye to Scotland is hard but it is time to "go back to old clothes and porridge".
Posted by Christine Archer at 3:20 PM
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Slept in after a very long day yesterday. Then we headed over to the Ryan's for a BBQ. We could not have asked for nicer weather. As we walked over there I think every Scot was eating outside and enjoying the sunshine.
Jerry and James cooked up some tasty food. Great conversation and great company made it since afternoon. Wrapped up the day with Father Bill saying mass.
Posted by Christine Archer at 11:43 AM
Friday, June 16, 2017
Today is the big day!!!! Piddled around this morning and grabbed a little soup before we needed to leave.
Car took us to church. The men looked amazing in their kilts. Caroline's brother, John, piped everyone in. The music was great. Mark and Caroline got the majority of family members involved. Ethan and Dylan were ushers. Syd was the altar server. I did the second reading. The girls brought up the gifts and Nic did some prayers.
The wedding was beautiful. It didn't even rain which was amazing.
The reception was at Dalziel Park. We had drinks and hor douvrers as Mark and Caroline took pictures. Then we had an amazing sit down dinner in a beautiful room. Kids had a blast and so did everyone else. Great to see the friends and family who came to be there. Even got a chance to see Debbie and family. Missed those who could be there but we know they were there in spirit.
12 hours of celebration later we crashed.
It was a beautiful day, in a beautiful setting, with beautiful people.
Posted by Christine Archer at 2:23 PM
Thursday, June 15, 2017
Today was a low key day. The girls just vegged at the hotel. Zeb went back to Bothwell Castle and I went and got my nails done.
At 4pm we met at Saint John the Baptist church for the wedding rehearsal. All went smoothly although I'm still unsure of what I'm doing when.
After the rehearsal, we went back to our hotel for an Italian dinner. Lots of folks with friendly faces. Met more people than I'll actually remember but I do know they were all very nice.
We ate and then Caroline's sister Louise and her band played. Great music! Keenan even did a jig (for cake or money he will do anything.
We retired early in preparation for the big day tomorrow.
Posted by Christine Archer at 11:38 AM
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
We have been spoiled today. Mark and Caroline arranged to take us to a few of the interesting sites around here. Her father rented a bus and chauffeured us all over the place.
We began at Stirling Castle. This ended up being a favorite of everyone. It was beautiful and educational. Not to mention the views were fantastic!
Cold drinks were then provided by the Ryan's as we headed to site number two.
The Wallace Monument was our next stop and we got lots of exercise climbing the hill to the monument and then climbing to the top of the tower inside of it. Made the 75 steps to our flat in Edinburgh look like a easy sprint. There were 246 steps but the view was worth the climb.
We grabbed a quick lunch at McDonald's and then headed to The Kelpies. This is a piece of art near and near to us because they are giant horse heads. They are made of steel and quite impressive.
Our last stop of the day was The Falkirk Wheel which is an impressive piece of engineering. It provides s gateway for boats on the Scottish canal. You really have to see it and we were lucky we did just shortly after we are.
That wrapped up our tour and it was great. Probably the best day we have had in Scotland do far.
I think the wedding may just top it but don't tell Mark that.
Capped the evening off with dinner at The Beefeater.
Posted by Christine Archer at 3:42 PM
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Today we took the train from Edinburgh to Uddingston. It took about 75 minutes and it was nice to see some countryside. Caroline's dad, sister and brother met us at the train station and took our luggage to the hotel. It was an easy walk from to get to the place we would call home for a few days.
We are staying at Redstones Hotel and it is a quaint place not far from Main Street or Caroline's house.
After getting our rooms started to head out but were stopped short as Caroline's mom dropped by the hotel asking offering to do our laundry. How nice was that?!! We sent a few things her way after she insisted. We then headed out for some lunch. Went to a place called Angels which also had good food.
All male members of the wedding party went in to Glasgow to get fitted for their kilts. Mom and Dad went to the Ryan's and visited and the rest of us made our way to Bothwell Castle.
It wasn't far so we made our way down Main Street, stopped in the local sweet shop for some treats and continued our walk. The Castle is a historical ruin but we really enjoyed it. Maybe that is because there wasn't a lot of people and it was quite but regardless we spent most of the afternoon there.
We returned in time for a late dinner so we just grabbed something at the hotel and called it a night.
Posted by Christine Archer at 3:02 PM
Sunday, June 11, 2017
Began the day attending mass at St. Mary's Cathedral in Edinburgh. These churches are so beautiful.
We needed to grab some lunch after church so we headed over to Waverly Mall and went to the food court.
After lunch we got tickets to the Edinburgh Dungeon. It's part haunted house, part amusement part ride and part theatre. It was quite fun.
The next part of the day was like herding cats. Trying to get 17 people moving in one direction is no small feat. Between the bathroom stops, food stops and varying patterns of movement we are lucky we got anywhere.
Headed to a store in hopes to grab some jackets but had no luck. While we were inside it started pouring rain. Some of us managed to miss being outside in it and some of us got soaked.
Did a little more walking about and then Kevin recommended that we eat at wagamama. I think we are a scary bunch of Americans and feel sorry for our wait staff.
After dinner some us walked through an amazingly old and beautiful cemetery. Loved reading all the stones
Ended the day with a stop at Martin's ice cream shop.
Well, not really...day was ended at the pub.
Forgot to mention that we have a lovely flat that we are staying in. Only drawback is the 75 steps and no lift. Needless to say we are all getting a workout.
Posted by Christine Archer at 4:43 PM
Saturday, June 10, 2017
Got up bright and early to catch our flight to Edinburgh. After dropping off our bags we had lunch at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Lovely spot and great way to kick off our trip.
While I have no green thumb myself, I do love, love, love Botanic Gardens. Edinburgh did not disappoint. While I wandered, others napped. Appears getting up at 3:30am caught up with them.
We stayed close to our penthouse as we waited for all the Archers and Wenzels to arrive.
Everyone was hungry so we ventured out to find a place to eat. Finding a table for 17 is difficult but we found an American spot that had room so we ate there. The girls are thrilled to be with their cousins. Makes my heart happy.
Posted by Christine Archer at 4:00 PM
Friday, June 9, 2017
Grabbed our continental breakfast at a different cafe this morning. Yuk! We had to stop the one we went to yesterday to get something for Keara and myself.
Yesterday was hot but today was even hotter. The heat is doing me in. We had an reservation at the Vatican today and I was happy to hear we would be indoors.
Oh my gosh! The Vatican Museum was unbearably hot and so many people. Mom and Dad warned us but I really didn't imagine it to be as bad as it was. All we could do was move with the crowd. We actually had a guided tour and we had the most long winded tour guide you could have. With the crowds and hear I don't think we appreciated it as much as we could have.
At some point we couldn't take it all any more and went ahead. We were in desperately in need of water. We found a crowded cafe and braced ourselves for the crowds in the the Sistine Chapel and the Basilica.
The Sistine Chapel was BEAUTIFUL! I think you could spend weeks there because there is so much. That said, the crowd pushed us on.
The Basilica was a surprising reprieve. Because it was so big and the crowds could fan out, it made it more enjoyable. I don't think the girls are appreciating this opportunity but maybe someday they will.
After spending way too much time in the gift shop we headed to lunch. Saw a "self-service" cafe which we thought would get us an inexpensive lunch but no such luck. We grabbed a bunch of random items which tasted awful and paid out the nose.
We decided to head back to the room. The kids needed some down time and so did the adults. Zeb and I dropped off the girls and went strolling around.
Came upon a singer/guitar player entertaining in a local square and we sat and enjoyed his music for s while. Took our time getting back to the girls and saw some neat little streets.
The girls didn't want to go out so they raided the local market. Zeb and I enjoyed wonderful dinner together in the plaza while listening to musicians share their talents. It was a perfect ending to our stay in Italy.
Posted by Christine Archer at 9:28 AM
Thursday, June 8, 2017
Continental breakfast at a local cafe started our morning. We tried to be cool and drink cappuccino but no like.
Took a taxi to the Colosseum. Wow, pretty amazing place. The teenager didn't last long before she wanted lunch and headed back to the room. :(
Had a very expensive lunch and then headed to Palatine Hill and the Forums. It was very hot out but we managed to see most of it. Quite spectacular.
We rested a bit and got to listen to some great music. Made our way to Victor Emmanuel taking more steps then I'd like to count. We also went to the very top for an amazing view of the city.
Squeezed in the Pantheon which was beautiful. Grabbed a cheap dinner and headed home.
Posted by Christine Archer at 1:22 PM
Wednesday, June 7, 2017
Took a shuttle into Rome after our last breakfast on the ship.
I was a little worried when I saw the outside of the hotel but the inside was lovely and the staff was great. Very helpful. Our room wasn't ready yet so we headed out for some lunch. After walking around in circles we settled on Cago and Gago. Zeb and Kailei shred a pizza and Keara and I had pasta. I ended up really liking the pasta.
After lunch we ventured over to a church which was meh on the outside by really nice on the inside. We also made our usual gelato stop for the girls. We sat in a park for a while and waited for a text about our room. I struggled with a headache all day so sitting in the shade was nice. Good people watching.
After getting into our room, we ventured out again. At least Kailei, Zeb and I did. We took a taxi to the Spanish steps and then walked to Borgasie Gardens. Piddled around there for a bit and walked down some street. Ended up stopping at the Hard Rock Cafe for dinner because Kailei was desperate to go to the bathroom. Service was slow but our hamburgers were good.
After dinner we headed over to Trevi Fountain. As expected there were tons of people. Beautiful!
Posted by Christine Archer at 1:15 PM
Tuesday, June 6, 2017
Naples was on tap for today. We got tickets to go to Pompei and arrived there mid morning. I managed to get tickets online while we were on the bus so it helped with the lines.
Pompei was amazing! Everybody loved it.
After Pompei we were brought back to the port and then we decided to track down a restaurant mentioned in the Rick Steve book. We made it there sorta - stopped short and just across the street. Had pizza but personally wants that impressed.
Naples was very disappointing. Very dirty. Red lights were considered decoration and was reminiscent of China with traffic and pedestrians. We went to visit the Domo but unfortunately it was closed for lunch.
We walked down the narrow street of shops but again were turned off by the dirtiness of the city. Grammy and crew peeled off with our girls and took a taxi back to the ship. Zeb and I continued walking.
I managed to find a charm for my bracelet so I was happy.
Came back and enjoyed an afternoon snack with Grammy and Poppy on the deck. The sun finally started to shine. Grabbed some dinner and then saw the comedy of Paul Adams. The whole family enjoyed it.
Now we are packing and preparing to end our cruise and spend a few days in Rome.
Posted by Christine Archer at 1:04 PM
Monday, June 5, 2017
Today was a day spent at sea. Unfortunately the weather was crappy so we couldn't do much outside. We spent the morning playing Bingo. The girls spent some time in the arcade while I got to finish my book. Zeb worked out and wandered the boat.
We had dinner and then took in Burn the Floor. It was a fun show. Zeb and watched The Perfect Couple game show. Played a little more slots and then called it a night.
Posted by Christine Archer at 12:55 PM