Thursday, November 1, 2012

San Diego day 5, 6 and 7

San Francisco to Napa to the Russian river and now in San Diego. What a beautiful country.

Water, mountains, wonderful old trees, vineyards and now some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. We are staying at a beautiful resort called Loews Coronado on Coronado which can best be described as a spit of sand down where our resort is. You could probably hit a golf ball from one side to the other, ok maybe not me, but Jim for sure.

San Diego has a large military contingent and a large harbour with warships and cruise ships. Sitting on the beaches or at dinner there are always lots of helicopters doing manoeuvers (or looking for sharks). Fighter jets zoom around the island, it is quite entertaining. We did lots of walking on beaches and the piers. Lots of fisherman but never saw a fish. One day we popped up to Old Town, which is like our pioneer village, with the history of San Diego. There was even a cigar shop that was started by 2 Quebecers in the 1800's. Had an authentic Mexican meal (tamales for me chimichanga for Jim) while being serenaded by two guitarists.

The next day we went up to see Torrey Pines, a famous public golf course, sitting on cliffs overlooking the Pacific, breathtaking. From there we headed into La Jolla (pronounced La Hoya). Unbelievably beautiful, it had everything the beaches, caves and lots of wildlife, seals, pelicans, herons, coromoronts, etc. Tons of little shops, art galleries, including a Peter Lik gallery, he is a fabulous photographer who just sold one his pics for $1m to an art museum. The restaurants (our fav were on the hills and had balconies on their top floors overlooking the ocean. It was like sitting in the sky.

We had 2 beautiful meals at the Coronado, I can't say enough about. The chef is one of only 45 French master chefs in the Us and his food and presentation were delish. The first night we were sitting there overlooking the beautiful city of San Diego when we blinked and it totally disappeared. Blackness, it was totally shocking. We were thinking blackout, but thankfully it was only fog. A few minutes it all reappeared. The staff provided some of the best service we have ever had at a restaurant. 7 days have just flew by and the only exciting thing is that the Breeders Cup is here again next year. Woohoo

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Day 4 lots of driving

Up early and the packing started as we get ready to start down to San Diego. We have accumulated 8 bottles of red, 3 champagne and 2 bottles of rum. We are hoping we can bring most of this back with us, otherwise we'll have to stay until we drink it. :)

Grab a blueberry muffin and head down the highway. We pick up hwy 1 at Monterrey and the up and down and hairpins start. Our first stop is a restaurant called Nepanthe, which means "no sorrow". It is absolutely beautiful, jutting out into the ocean and a couple of hundred feet up. The sun was beaming and about 90 degrees. Lots of hawks and eagles circling overhead and woodpeckers in the trees.

Back on the road we head to Avilia Beach, a little gem of a place right on the pacific with 2 large piers and a wonderful boardwalk.

Our room is at Avila La Fonda, a block away from the beach with a full kitchen and a coffee machine that grinds your coffee beans before it perks your coffee. Jim is very excited. And they provide the coffee.

We are both a little tired so decided to walk down and grab a pizza to have ith our sangiovese. A perfect night now we just need the tigers to win a game

Good luck tomorrow aurora with the frankenstorm coming your way.

Good night moon

Day 3. Another busy day

Up and about by 9. Over to Yountville for breakfast at the Pacific Blues cafe. French toast with bananas and walnuts on the deck. Absolutely civilized, the people beside us brought their own champagne in a cooler to put in their OJ.

We decided to find our way over to Lake Berryessa, back over the mountain but the other side of the valley this time. Again lots of hairpin curves but this time we had to share the road with a bunch of cyclists competing in a race. I can't imagine how they made it up the hills from a stamina point of view never mind that they didn't get run over by the cars being driven with budding Mario andretti's. It was crazy. With all ths going on we ended up missing our turn and ended up on the southern part of the lake with hardly any gas. Quick look st the map and we headed over to the town of Winter. (why would you name a town Winter in California). Filled up on gas and headed back to Napa.

First stop Mumm's winery and our first buy of the day. A beautiful old fashioned winery with beautiful gardens and great atmosphere. I asked if they were hiring anyone as I had my resume with me but no luck. :)

Our next stop was Opus One. This winery was built by Baron de Roschild and Robert Mondavi and they basically only make one wine a Cabernet Sauvignon which sold for $225 a bottle. Luckily for us they also had a small release of a much cheaper wine for $75 a bottle. Yes we had to buy one bottle.

Next stop was a grocery store for a baguette, cheese and some olives. Yum

Castella d'ambrosia was our last stop. This is a full fledged medieval castle which took 12 years to build. It is owned by V Sattui, he basically made so much money from his first winery that he decided to build his castle up on a hill north of St Helena. It was the busiest winery we visited so Mr Sattui has another huge success. It amazes me that he can be that financially successful from just selling wine through his wineries. He does no exporting or distributing. If you want his wine you go there or join his wine club. If you live in the states and join his wine club he was hosting a pagan night for 250 members last night at the castle. Looked amazing.

Back to the resort (Silverado) and get ready for dinner which as at Ristorante Allegria in downtown Napa. To go with their great wines, Napa might have some of the best food in the world.

Ps to Mary Jo and your martooni nights, discovered a lemon dro martini and a French martini which has champagne in it.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Day 2 Napa Sonoma Alexander Valley

For some strange reason we decided to cover three of the regions today. We started off the day with a walk around downtown napa looking for a breakfast spot. Alexis Bakery Cafe caught our eye as it was the only place we saw that had a traffic jam. Busy busy but worth the wait, they made all their own breads and cookies yum Next we headed up to sugarloaf ridge state park doing a beautiful 5 mile hike skirting the bottom of the hills. It was 50 degrees when we started out. It quickly became a case of sweater on sweater off. Cold in the shade and amongst the trees and boiling in the meadow. Jim saw a stag go bounding up the hill. I missed it, trying to take a picture of Jim. Jim saw a snake. I did see that after his scream of panic. That took us to one o'clock, next stop some wineries. Two of the wineries we visited today are owned by a Canadian couple named Ken and Diane Wilson, they actually own six wineries in Sonoma and napa. We visited St Anne's Crossing and Soda Rock. They refurbished the original post office and General store in Alexander Valley. Absolutely beautiful. Medlock Ames is a small winery totally green. They make enough power with solar panels to run their winery and also sell power to the grid. Being green here sees to be very important and definitely doable with all their sun. Our final stop was at Alexander Valley Vineyards famous for their wonderful Zinfandels. Their two most popular are the Sin Zin and the Redemption Zin. We were more in need of redemption so that one found its way into the car. Finally back to the room after a very busy day. Seeing as it was 80 degrees it seemed a good idea to jump in the pool. We met up with friends, Ed and Sharon, for dinner at a restaurant called Tuscany where I had the best halibut with pesto potatoes ever. Yes, I know halibut is a fish :) Downtown napa is just beautiful at night people walking all over, lots of restaurants on the river and just an exciting bubbly place. Even with all that excitement we were in bed and asleep by 10:30

Thursday, October 25, 2012

On our way to San Fran

Up at five and in the car by 5:45. Not bad for me. A great flight on Air Canada arriving at 11 am California time. Picked up our rental car and arrived at our resort at 2. Air Canada food was not much better than most flights so our first stop was lunch at The Grill, the clubhouse at the Silverado. Delish and even better was the rodney strong 2011 Pinot Noir and to top off that you can buy the bottle and take it back to the room. Truly civilized. Unfortunately the sun was beating down on the patio overlooking the golf course and it just seemed a fitting place to have the last glass. Popped back up to our room and unpacked and I just couldn't resist a swim. So here Jim and I sit with an Olympic pool to ourselves. A little mamma and papas playing on my iPad, a small rum and coke, and it feels like paradise. Jim keeps saying it would be paradise if i stopped singing along with mama cass, especially when I am swimming. Off to an Italian restaurant tonight and then onto wine tours tomorrow. I think I may have to put shorts on. Woohoo. Miss you Canada. Love from Mama Carlson

Friday, August 10, 2012

Macy's day, oh yeah cubs night too

Jim has been looking forward to this day all week and it has finally arrived.  Pop in to Walgreens for our morning banana and apple .  Can't eat something that is going to bloat me when I am trying on dresses.  Find the directory, Jim stops breathing, there are five floors of ladies wear.  Off to the third floor we go.  The floor is huge. Luckily I am a pretty good window shopper.  We walk around the aisles and I find four dresses to try on.  Voila three I like, two I really like, settle on one.  Thirty minutes have gone by.  Jim heads for the fourth floor, I head for the street, time for something to eat.  A wave of relief passes over Jim's face.  Lol

Back to the hotel, do a little packing and hen off for a walk to millennium park.  On the river they have these electric boats you can rent and we were waylaid watching two boats full of east Indians going in circles.  There was a forty foot cabin cruiser trying to back into a parking spot and one of these little boats got stuck behind it going in circles.  There were all sorts of water taxis and tour boats as well.  Absolute craziness.  I don't think Jim and I have laughed so hard.

Continuing on our walk we notice a crowd of people looking down at the river.  There are fire, police, parks and tour boats all watching about 10,000 little plastic ducks race down the river, propelled by the current and with a little help from the fire boat.  They were raising money for the special Olympics.  

Interesting fact about the Chicago river, a hundred or so years ago it used to flow into lake Michigan.  The river and the lake were so polluted that a large number of their residents were dying from disease.  So what did they do, they dredged the river so that all ther garbage would flow to St Louis.  The big problem they didn't think of was that they were basically draining the great lakes.  So to correct that they put locks in to control the flow of water to an acceptable level. 

As we continue on our way we realize we can't gt across the river to millennium park and somehow taking a long circuitous route we end up back at navy pier. A quick bathroom break and we start heading back.  Our little boat riders are still struggling in the middle of the river.  

A definite stop to visit in Chicago is the 16th floor of the trump tower and has a beautiful terrace looking down the river to the lake with great views of the wrigley and tribune buildings to name just a couple.  They also serve a greatlittle drink called prosecco.  Did I mention that this is my new favorite drink.

Back to the room, a little more packing and we are heading to Wrigleyille to watch the cubs game.  Our first trip on the subway.  Felt just like Toronto, little old and lots of people.

100 steps from the subway is Wrigley Field, the 2nd oldest ballpark  in the states.  This is the field where Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones met.  

The rain is starting, so we head over to the Goose Island Brewery Pub.  A Chicago microbrewery where all the beer is their own.  I tried a flight of beer which was four different kinds.  Favs were the 312 - nice and light and the blueberry, delish.  Definitely recommend the Stilton peppercorn burger, tasted homemade. 

Back to the field, where the game is under rain delay and so are our seats.  Jan and bob are taking care of our seats.  Everytime we moved under cover when we came back they would dry our seats for us.  Every worker from he hosts/hostesses to beer sellers to peanut sellers looked like they had worked there since the stadium opened.  

Tarp on, tarp off, tarp on, tarp off.  Finally the game starts 8:30. The amount of movement t the game was amazing, probably didn't help that the fans had now been drinking for an hour and a half before the game started.  

In the sixth end it was tied 3 to 3,when the rain started again. We head to the bathroom and stay long enough to watch the fans sing "take me out to the ball game".  A tradition started by Harry Caray, the cu s legendary announcer.

A great night, Jim was ecstatic, I can feel a baseball road trip coming up.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I can't get over how much of Chicago we have seen by boat. Using our 2nd day of our water taxi pass we were off to the Sears tower which has now been renamed the Willis tower, a large insurance company. Must be pretty big if they can buy the whole building. A quick tour then water taxi back to Michigan avenue where I broke down and bought a pair of runners from nordstrams. Feet feel much better. And we're off and ready to go again.

Another water taxi takes us to the navy pier where we catch a boat taking us on a tour of the shoreline. It is very beautiful with no industry on it at all, parks, museums, and lots of green space. Oh yeah lots of tall buildings all at least a large city block back from the waters edge.

Yes you are right another water taxi takes us over to the east end of the city where there is a spur of land jutting out into the lake with an aquarium, an observatory, a museum and soldier field (home of the Chicago bears). All surrounded by park land, again the city did a wonderful job of making an oasis in the city.

A late lunch is needed so we decide to walk back to the city, shoes are awesome. This included a walk by millenium park. You just can't say enough about the layout of the city. The park has the art gallery, water parks for the kids with some amazing pieces of art, steel walkways, etc -beautiful.

On Madison and wabash we find an old Italian eatery serving, yep you got it, deep dish pizza and their local beer goose island.

From there back to the hotel for a rest, back to rosebuds for dinner and a nightcap at yes the house of blues.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day two Chicago

Chicago day 2 , lots of walking. Blisters now from two pairs of shoes. The things I will do to buy a new pair of shoes.  We walked from our hotel to lake Michigan, spent the day at the navy pier.  Thought it would be a good idea to get on this gigantic ferris wheel.  By the time we got to the top, Jim was holding on for dear life and I was sitting as stiff as a rock.  Everytime  I get on a ferris wheel I always get stopped at the top.  WOW. It was crazy how scary it felt.  Going down wasn't so bad and we were able to have a good look around.  

From there we headed over to take the Architectural River Boat Cruise.  We discovered the shoreline shuffle which gave us the river cruise for one hour, a half hour shoreline cruise and as many water taxis for two days all for only $7 more than the river cruise.  $39 each what a bargain

The first cruise was the river cruise.  It went down the river and along the two branches pointing out all the different buildings and historical aspects of the city.  Such as the fact that it was not mrs o'leary's cow that started the great fire.  And the fact that from Michigan ave down to the water is all landfill which started from throwing all the buildings that had burned into the lake.  

I am not sure what Chicago has more of - Steak houses on every corner, cafes overlooking the river, beautiful bridges or boats.  The river was like our don valley with boats.  The tour guide said the bridges are all lift bridges and are busiest in the spring and fall to let all the sailboats through.

Next stop was onto a water taxi which dropped us about a block from our hotel.  Perfect.

A nice bath to rest my feet and then we were off to Rosebuds for dinner where I had the best Ceasar salad and a wonderful spaghetti marinara with a delicious Caparzo Sangiovese  Toscana.  Perfect.

Finished the night off with a baileys night cap at House of Blues.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Chicago continues

After unpacking and some relaxing time in our room we went for a small walk around the river where our hotel is. Chicago just gets more beautiful. The Chicago river which runs through the city is as busy as our highways with tours and seadoos, fishing charters and cabin cruisers coming ino the city to dock right beside the restaurant they are dining at. We finally decided to eat on the patio at Smith and Wallensky. A famous steak house overlooking the river. Yes I had chicken. Jim had the filet trio which was three four ounce filets done with three different sauces, one was Gorgonzola, one mushroom and one onion. Dinner was delish. Our waiter informed us that Chicago has a steak house on every block and looking up and down the river he was definitely right. The food, the wine, the ambiance and the location were perfect.

Next we headed over to the House of Blues where a great session band was playing with a guitarist, drummer, bass, two sax players and a trumpet were playing. They were amazing. The drummer and guitarist were in their twenties while the rest of the group were 50+. I have never seen a guitarist play so fast I kept expecting his guitar to go on fire his fingers moved so fast. A great night, can't wait for tomorrow. a river cruise

Monday, August 6, 2012

Arrive in Chicago

After a wonderful swim in lake muskoka we loaded up the car and set off on our adventure. Jim took the first leg of the drive getting us to the Tim hortons just south of King City, then I got behind my little Mazda three and zoom zoom off we went to Greystones Golf Course. I've played a number of clublink courses and this might be the most beautiful. It is built right into the escarpment. Thankfully there was lots to look at as my golf was pretty ugly.

After a nice dinner we headed to Windsor where we stayed at the downtown Holiday Inn. Seemed like a good idea to stay downtown thinking we were going to the casino but when we saw the bed we both crashed. If you think of going here again keep in mind that it is very noisy being on the main strip in Windsor.

Up and st them, we left the hotel at 930. Quick stop at duty free where we picked up 3 one lite bottles of Captain Morgan for $39. Woohoo.

My first trip through the tunnel and we were in Detroit, onto the i75 and we are heading to Chicago. We decided to take a break at a beautiful little town called St Joseph/Benton harbour. Walked along the beach. Lake Michigan was beautiful and very warm. A beautiful town I would go back to. Had lunch at a little restaurant called Schu's. Jim had a chicken flatbread and I had a buffalo chicken salad. If you like beer they had a number of local brews. We did pick up a few to bring on our trip with us. A walk around the town and then back in the car.

4 o'clock Chicago time and we are in our hotel "hotel sax" (yes sax not sex). It is right downtown beside the house of blues and the river. A little rum and coke and relax time (Jim has the converter) and then off to explore.

Monday, April 23, 2012

One day left

John and Pauline picked us up for a coffee and a lovely visit.  Pauline hasn't changed at all. It worked out great as the coffee shop was right near the castle so we headed over.  A stop at St John's Cathedral, the art museum, a listen to the Clandonia - pipes and drums and then a walk through Princes gardens.  It was such a beautiful day that we just grabbed some fries and a sandwich and sat on the garden wall along with a bunch of scots and tourists lapping up the sun. Next stop was a walk up to the castle, a stop in a few shops and then back to the hotel for a rest.   Dinner was once again at Whiski, fish and chips, a much earlier night than Saturday as the band wasn't half so good.  We did try and talk ourselves into going up to see Roadhouse again who were just up the road, surprisingly we took e low road back to the hotel. Bags are packed and we are now sitting on a train back to Glasgow.   Ps on Edinburgh. I was totally surprised how many of the shops and our hotel were operated by European immigrants. Every shop other than the high priced kilt stores were all run by east Europeans.

My first glass of prosecco, a new favourite.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Our first pub crawl

Our first pub crawl on the Royal Mile started at a place called WHISKI.  It was absolutely jammed and we were told it would be forty minutes.  Siobhan told us to wait by the door as the bar was jammed. There happened to be a table right by the door with one chair and she said Deni could sit there.  The next thing a man popped over with a chair from his table.  And then Siobhan came with menus.  I was worried about the ten people in front of us waiting.  No worries she said. A glass of wine and a big plate of haggis, neeps and mash and the night was shaping up pretty good.  The next thing we knew Siobhan was moving us to a table away from the door as the two man band ROADHOUSE was setting up.   There were eight Norwegian golfers sitting across from us.  They say the scots are dour, we have nothing on the Norwegians.  Around eleven a bunch of female Norwegians came in. All I can say is exact opposite of the men.  Lol.  There wasn't a song the band played that we couldn't sing too and Deni played a pretty mean air piano or drum.  So for the next  3 hours we sang Rod Stewart, Beatles and a ton of CCR.  Our first pub crawl started at Whiski and ended at Whiski....... Lol

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Firth of Forth and South Queensferry

Bus tour from Edinburgh to south Queensferry where we got on a little boat to take us on wonderful tour of the Firth of Forth. Firth actually comes from the Scandinavian word fjord meaning mouth or estuary of the river which was formed by a glacier.  Opened in 1890 and spanning over 8000 feet it was the largest cantilever bridge in the world.  It moved to second spot in 1917. 63 men lost their lives there.   

We stopped but didn't disembark at Ichcolm island where there was a little old abbey. The army also used to store munitions during the second world war here.  It is now a popular wedding destination, and just happened to be one today, lots of kilts. North sea oil has a pipeline to the coast where freighters come for their oil.   They invented a new paint for it which is called forth bridge red and lasts twenty years.  

We saw seals/silkies on buoys and mini puffins on the islands not to mention hundreds of seagulls. After the boat we decided to head to the town for lunch.  The recommendation was to go to the Boathouse for lunch.  We walked downstairs in this old building with modern style and there was a gigantic picture window with an unbelievable view of the bridge.  They had painted the walls white with a wooden frame so the bridge was the centre of everything. And to top it off the food was fantastic. I had a broccoli soup with bruschetta and Deni had a seafood salad with oyster mussels, salmon, freshwater shrimp and pickled herring When we left the restaurant all these men were walking towards us with either kilts on our tartan pants and the girls were dressed beautifully.  So needless to say I had to ask and they had been at a wedding out at the old abbey and were heading to the reception.  They looked so beautiful. 

 The town itself is a definite must visit on the way to st Andrews  next year. Cobbled streets very narrow roads, right on the firth with great views of the bridge.  

Edinburgh planning the day - April 21, 2012

The holiday inn express is a wonderful clean little hotel that looks like ikea might have decorated it.  Everything you could need is right here.  Coffee and tea is right in the room.  A lovely breakfast is included, which we made a good hole in this morning.  And perfect location a 2 minute walk to the royal mile.  I gather the road we are on -Cowgate is known more for its little alley like pubs which get quite busy at night.  Which is good for us as they all have security who do a great job with directions.   

Today we are off on either a bus tour of the inner city or a bus ride out to the Forth with a boat ride showing us the coast and bridges.  Not sure which one yet, it will depend on the weather.   Have a great day

 Cheerios Xoxoxoxo Big hugs for my cats please

Friday, April 20, 2012

Goodbyes and hellos as we head to the east coast

Walk, taxi, train, walk, another train, a bus ride and we were at our destination, Penicuik, the home of grandma Carlson's family.  We had a lovely visit with Sandy and Irene Purvis.  They are both in their eighties and Irene is living in the house she was born in.  Sandy took us for a walk to see the Kirk where Jim's grandparents were married - St Mungos which was originally built in 1648 and then rebuilt in 1770 (note the English had nothing to do with it being rebuilt). It was rebuilt because the population kept growing and services are still being held there today.

FYI St Mungo is the patron saint of Glasgow.

Another bus ride and we were back at Edinburgh, just as the city was starting to get exciting. There are people everywhere, popping in from one bar to the next. We had a great Italian meal on the corner of North Bridge and the Royal mile and then headed back to a wonderful Holiday Inn Express right in the heart of the royal mile.  An early night to get ready for some major sightseeing tomorrow

Ttfn Lynne 

On the road again

At 8 pm we popped down to the marine bar for our usual sheppards pie (3rd night in a roll) .  Delish.  Before we even ordered our first wine. I hear my name called. Is that Lynne from Canada and standing there looking as good as ever with a wee bit less hair was John Wright.  Just looking at him brought back a lot of memories of my dad, uncle Fred, needless to say his father John and also my brother Jim.  For the next two hours we had a good gab about family with lots of fun stories.  He has three children, John (surprise), Andrew and Linzi.  John is married with 2 children .  His son Andrew is working in Florida training and riding dressage horses.  It was a visit filled with memories of childhood and family. Thanks John and Linzi for popping in and hopefully we'll see Pauline on Saturday in Edinburgh.

Deni ordered us a wake up call for 7:30. She is CRUEL.  The phone rings and up Deni gets. I stayed in bed for another hour as I packed the night before. :)

Down for another great brekkie.  I then went for a quick walk to the beach for a little yak with my mom and dad.  I started off singing "always on my mind" and realized i only knew the chorus.  Last stop in Troon was to get a big hug from Ina.  

Next stop Edinburgh to see Sandy and Irene  and where grandma's family  came from - Penicuik

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I love Arran


I love Scottish breakfasts. Onceagain we almost missed it, I popped out of bed to check the time thinking It was around 7 and oops it was 9:10. Quickly wake up Deni who would probably have missed lunch as well. She was sound. Lol. Oh to sleep like that. A lot like sleeping with Jim only Deni smells better. (Jk)

Next stop was boots for some super strong blister fixer uppers and then on to the train to Killwinnig. A quick switch of trains and we were on our way to Ardrossan where we catch the ferry ride to Arran. The sun is out and shining on Arran. It is about an hour boat ride with lovely calm seas.

Must be lunch time. There is a beautiful little restaurant called Arran on a Plate with the only master chef in Britain. Deni had a mussel soup and hot and cold smoked salmon salad while I had a haggis and apple salad on abed of warmed arugula and an Arran beer. Absolutely divine.

Deni's feet were pretty bad so she opted to shop and sit by the sea whilst I went for a long walk along the beach. It was a windy walk as there was also a windy tidal river with all these little bridges that cut through the Brodrick golf course before taking you back to the forth

On the way back I discovered the Arran chocolate shop. Yum.

As we were leaving we found a couple of seats at the back of the boat. This huge cloud came in from the north and slowly started to cover the north end of the island whilst at the same time the sun popped out and covered us in sunshine. We were so warm we had to take off our coats. Then to make it even more beautiful the sun rays shone through the stormy north coast and was just magical looking

A wonderful day

Prestwick and Ayr

The room is so wonderfully dark we almost slept through our first wonderful Scottish breakfast. Scrammies, vege sausages, baked tomatoes. Yum. Deni had the same with Ayrshire bacon. Then we planned our day. Off to get a car.

A fifteen minute walk to the train, which we just missed but no problem they come every half hour. 2 pounds for a ticket to Prestwick Airport. I go to one car place. Deni goes to the other. WOW. 100 plus pounds to rent a car for the day. It would have cost us less than 50 if we rented it online in Canada. NOTE TO SELF. Next year rent from Canada

Being ever so versatile, plans changed and off to Prestwick we went using our dead sexy feet. We ask one of the unbelievably friendly scots for directions and after a wee talk with lots of arm pointing and being told. Ach no you can walk, it is only about fifteen minutes down the road.

Thirty minutes later we land in the picturesque little seaside resort of Prestwick. As we are walking down the road we notice a pub called "The 19th Hole". Could we ask for a better place to wet our whistle after our long walk. So in we go. Looking out their front window lo and behold is the home of the first British open. Prestwick the old course. A quick walk over to the clubhouse, which was stunning.

From there we hit the coast again, tide was going out.

Next stop Ayr. Off we head for the train. Just as we approach the station the train pulls in. Oh no we have to run (probably more of a very light jog). Just as we get there the doors close. I look at the doors. I look down the train. I look up the train. Dang we are snookered and I her this voice. "push the open door button" you idjit. Sure enough on the door is a green button saying "open door". We quickly jump on laughing our bleeding heads off realizing we haven't paid. Oh well it is only one stop the conductor probably won't catch us so we stand by the door to do a quick dash off. Ayr comes up and off we get with the rest of the train as this was the last stop. We look ahead and realize you need a ticket to get off. Sheepishly we approach the security. No problem she will sell us a ticket and give us directions to the seaside . Another NOTE TO SELF it is much cheaper to buy a return ticket. The ticket was only 3 pound 20 there and back and we could have hopped off and on compared to the 2 pounds just to go one stop.

Ayr is quite a bit larger than troon and Prestwick and very busy. As it is now lunch hour we look for a pub and lo and behold they are everywhere. So we pop into a very traditional looking pub, lots of dark wood, large bar and plop down into a window seat. The locals look at us, the bar tender looks at us we smile and then nothing. So up I pop and ask for a menu of which I get a definite look of "hello are you an idjit". Sorry lass this is a BOOZERS only no food just drink. Well this time we needed more than a pint so off we head.

Looking for a friendly face, they're everywhere I zero in on a nice looking couple and after a wee chat they send us off to their favorite pub Willy Wassle, named after Robbie burns best friend.

On the way to the pub Deni spots a coat sale and five minutes later we are walking out with her purchases. For a change I showed some restraint lol. It probably won't happen again.

We finally find a pub and order our lunch fish and chips for me and a beef strip chili for Deni. Delish and it was 2 for 1 day. Well we were eating a car pulls up pops a large keg of Guinness out of his trunk and brings in into the pub. The bartender being a large portly guy lifts the carpet in front of the door, next goes two pieces of wood and a piece if support wood, lifts up the keg and drops it into the basement, by this time Deni and I have our hands over our heads expecting to be covered in the lovely frothy Guinness. Nope nothing happens other than it boinging around on the cement floor.

Now we head down to the coast again, another beautiful coast with lots of entertainment for the little ones. By now our feet are a little bit sore so off we head hoping we can get a bus to the train. We see a bus and ask the driver if he goes near the train station of which we get another look. It's only five minutes up the road, a wee turn here through the lights over the bridge and off we go. Twenty minutes later we arrive at the train station. We dash again hop on the bus and head back to troon.

Back in our rooms Deni takes off her shoes and oh my two gigantic enormous blisters.

No walk on the beach tonight but a nice swim is perfect. The pool was wonderful.

Dinner was a repeat of the night before and just as delish. We discovered Skype and made a few phone calls, I talked to answering machines, Deni talked to John and Jackie. And off we went to bed. A great day

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

More tuesday

The Day is shaping up to be absolutely beautiful. Sun is shinning, puffy clouds blowing by as there is still quite the gale blowing. We had a small walk along the coast when we first arrived it's as beautiful as I remember. The tide was going out so you could walk out over the reefs and rocks

A wee rest was needed before we headed over to Ina's.  We jumped in a cab and off we went. She was so excited to see me, that yes we both had tears in our eyes. And then off to Scott's for a lovely lunch. Aunt Deni had the Shetland mussels, with Thai coconut curry sauce to see if they were as good as PEIs. And yes they were smashing. She almost needed a bath after digging into them. Lol

Ina was in great form. I think they could write a book about Ina sayings. Her highlight yesterday was when Aunt Deni ordered the mussels. Her face screwed up and she said do you eat oysters too. They look like you are sucking in a big snoter (boger). And then she starts showing how people eat them. We were just rolling on the floor.

When we took her home she was pretty tired and I am sure would have been having a little nap before I was back in the cab.

As were Deni and I. A nice hour to get us prepared for our next meal. A lovely long walk along the coast and over the golf course, back to the room for a wee dram and then down to the bar for dinner. I had a cottage pie which was similar to a meat pie and Deni had a chorizo sausage risotto

Off to bed in the Carnoustie room, a read and a good nights sleep.

An adjective to describe Aunt Deni. Just like grandma. When she sleeps. Boy does she sleep. And she has the cutest little change purse to carry her change in.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A wee lassie has landed

Air transat was great. Cant believe how quick it went. There were a crazy number of babies and youn children on the plane. Happy feet ii came on and all but one quieted down.

The stats kept coming up on the tv. At one point we were as high as 30000 feet and it was -63f outside.

We are now having a cup of tea watching the waves crash on the coast.

Having lunch with Ina at one at my dads favorite restaurant -Scott's


Monday, April 16, 2012

Packing Still

I am stressed. My suitcase keeps getting bigger and bigger. Where am I going to put the things I need to buy for the family - no room - kidding.

It is 2:30, leaving here at 3:30 to pick up Aunt Deni in Markham, then Andrew will drop us off somewhere on Woodbine to connect up with Dad and then he will take us to the airport. "I think he just wants to make sure I don't change my mind". lol

I tried to put Stanley in the suitcase but he was way toooooo smart. Ollie probably would have gone in no problem. I am going to MISS my kitty cats. They are sticking close to home together, they do NOT like the wind.

Alright one more check of my suitcase, a good Canadian cup of tea and go bug Andrew for a little bit more and then the journey starts.

love love me do
you know I love you
I'll be in Troon
looking at the same moon
tomorrow night

Sunday, April 15, 2012

One more sleep

Packing and organizing day. What to take. I have been checking the weather every
day. Warm stuff, wet stuff, what kinda shoes, coats or not. Big bag little bag.

Then come the really important decisions......where to go, train or car.

All these thoughts....will I be able to sleep tonight