Summer Kickoff Trip

Hey! We are back in town and back on the blog (on the same day, at that!)! See what summer can do for my time management skills?

Friday, June 26th was my last day of work for the summer, so we zipped off as soon as I got out of work for the day to the great UK. We started our trip in Edinburgh. The entirety of the old town area is postcard perfection at every turn, we had unbelievable weather for our castle tour on Saturday, and green is super green. It was so nice to have a vacation in an English speaking country, too. Makes everything so much easier! 😉

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On Sunday morning, we climbed Arthur’s Seat and took in the views from the summit. We had some Scottish pastries on top and headed down for a hike around the base. Unfortunately, I caught some unholy mother of a stomach bug and ending up tossing my scones 20 minutes into our Scottish whisky experience. I was able to make it to the end of Alex’s tasting and back into bed I went for the rest of the day. The next morning, I faked myself (and Alex) into thinking that I was well enough for a day trip to Glasgow. Alex had picked an adorable tearoom designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh but sadly, Scots porridge and peppermint tea was not agreeable with my stomach and after getting up close and personal with the inner workings of the tea room’s loo, we headed back on the train to Edinburgh and our cozy (cosy…) AirBnB.

On Tuesday, we woke up early and caught the Ness Bus by Hairy Coo Tours. A Hairy Coo is a shaggy highland cow in case your Scottish English isn’t up to snuff. I would highly recommend doing this tour. We stopped at Deanston Distillery which was a working still and we were able to see the malted barley being dispensed into the mash tun. Smelled like heaven (or Alex’s grandparent’s hay barn, according to him). Did you know that because whisky is aged in barrels, some of the alcohol evaporates through the porous wood, to the tune of 2% over 3 years? They call this the angels share. Also, we learned that it is illegal for American stills to use a barrel more than one time, so Scotland stills buy them and continue using and reusing them… I laughed out loud at this part, thinking how wasteful and stupid we Americans can be sometimes, but I’m not sure our guide or group understood what was funny. After that, we rode through Glencoe (with a stop for scenic photography) and then on up through to Loch Ness. I feel silly but honestly I expected LN to be this misty, creepy lake but it was positively blue and stunning and surrounded by green hills. The majority of Scotland, to us, looks like Colorado or driving through Yellowstone but the green is 10x greener. Absolutely stunning. On our way down, we stopped at the Commando’s Memorial and this ADORABLE little town called Pitlochry for ice cream.

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Wednesday, we hoofed it via train from Edinburgh to London… with no A/C in our train car at a sweet 94*F on the England end of the trip. Oy. Anyway, we survived and met with my sweet friend, Cindy, from our time in Cocktails A Cappella. She works for the Women’s Tennis Association and was able to get us set up for a day at Wimbledon (Centre Court! WHAT?!?). We grabbed dinner at Burger & Lobster and then some drinks at a pub nearby.

Thursday morning we were awake at 5:00am and ready to go by about 5:45. We took the overground district line to Southfields and joined the queue to wait for one of the unsold passes to Wimbledon. They release ~5,000 a day so we were pleased to have come in 4,823rd and 4,824th. We found our place to sit in the field and wait. It really feels like festival culture. People have blankets, snacks, and drinks while they wait for a pass. We were moved forward once (after they gave wrist bracelets to the first 1,500 for Centre Court, Court 1, and Court 2) and then around 10:30am started towards the gates. The whole process was so unbelievably smooth with no stress and no line jumpers. We got our grounds passes and sat in some misty rain for about 10 minutes which TOTALLY paid off because we had super close seats for Alize Cornet vs Olga Govortsova. They were a really well matched pair and we had a great time watching them. After that, we grabbed some lunch and watched Federer for a bit on Henman Hill. We were able to catch about 2/3 of the Bryan brothers playing doubles and then squeezed into the Jelena Jankovic vs Evgeniya Rodina match. We finished with the longest match I have ever seen between Karlovic and Dolgopolov which was an insane serve-out. I have never seen so many aces in my life and it is almost painful to watch (thinking about the other guy). We had strawberries and cream and Pimms cups and it was a great day filled with tons of great tennis.

Friday morning we were able to sleep in a bit and eat breakfast at a table and chairs as opposed to sitting in grass on a chalk line like the morning before. 😉 Thanks to our Centre Court tickets, we could show up at 10:30 and walk right through the gates. We decided to watch about 30 minutes of another fun men’s double (which apparently went on for several tie breaks and even beyond our first Centre Court match!) to see Dodig & Melo. We found our seats on Centre Court and after watching the first match (Gasquet v. Dimitrov) and then the second (Djokovic vs Tomic), we got really concerned that our day would be quite short. Luckily, Heather Watson and Serena Williams changed that for us. It was amazing to watch them both play and to hear the English cheer on their fellow countrywoman. It was a nerve-wracking match to watch and we feel so lucky to have been there. We caught Alex’s childhood favorite, Martina Hingis play doubles and then grabbed another Pimms for a seat on Henman Hill to watch the incomplete (now complete) Isner v Cilic match.

Overall, an amazing trip and we are feeling like summer is in full swing. More pictures on FB soon. We have plans to make a day trip to the Belgian coast and to try to catch a stage or 2 of the Tour de France (starting this weekend and coming through Belgium!). Stay tuned!