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The Travel Journal of Jacqui and Lars

 

Scotland - 28 May, 2004

 

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Location Latitude Longitude Elevation

Travel Distance

Start Huntly (The Castle Hotel) N5727.599' W00246.805' 131 meters .
Finish St. Andrews (The Albany Hotel) N5620.605' W00248.035' 17 meters 196 km

Total (BMW 330CiC)

4,591 km

Total (other):

1,055 km

Total:

5,656 km

 

Weather: In the morning mostly clear, sunny and warm.  In the afternoon became progressively more cloudy with occasional sun and cool/warm.

 

 

We are up early this morning as we are heading of to St. Andrews, where we will be spending the next three nights.  We want to get there before some of the other guests from Norway that will be joining us there for the weekend in order to celebrate Lars' 40th birthday.  We are down at breakfast by 8 AM and dig into their spread.  We must say, however, that we are getting a little bit overstuffed, so to speak, with all the Scottish/English breakfasts that we have been having.  Part of the problem is that when we just order a small selection of the offerings from the cooked breakfast menu, they compensate by increasing the portion size so that the plate is still full.  Hard to diet with servings like that.  So, we start to focus more on the continental breakfast items they have at the buffet.

 

After breakfast, we pack up our bags, sort out and pay the bills and load up the cars.  We are on the road before 9:30 AM.  It takes us just about three hours to reach St. Andrews.  We soon find our hotel, the Albany, and check into our rooms.  We have beat all the other guests that will be arriving later today.  So, we take advantage of this to go around and inspect all the rooms and allocate them amongst everyone (other whys it would have been a headache for the reception to figure out who gets singles, doubles, twins or the family room).

 

We are now very hungry, so we decide to head out for a quick bite of lunch and a pint of bitter.  Once again we have the problem of finding a pub that will allow children (one lets them stay outside around all the drinkers, but not inside).  In the end, we settle for a restaurant.  Soon after returning to the hotel, the Norwegian contingent arrives and they settle into their rooms. Once that is done, the first order of business for the new arrivals is a cup of coffee (Norwegians ....).  So, they all head off, but we stay back to go in search of a place for dinner.  By the time everyone arrives, we will be over 20 people with five children.  So, rather than wander the streets with such a large group, we felt it would be prudent to find a place before hand and make reservations.

 

And what it a good thing it was.  We spent over an hour wandering the streets looking for a suitable place.  They were pretty much all full (the British amateur open is taking place over the next few days), or did not let children in.  Just as we were about to give up, we came upon the Victoria Cafe, where we went to enquire about availability.  Thank God, they were able to take us all - we quickly made a booking.  They even did not have a problem with children - they just had to leave by 8 PM.  That should be OK.

 

We head back to the hotel and, as it is too late to meet up with the others, take a rest in our room.  While we are resting, another couple that will be joining the party arrive.  They are from Germany, our good friends Steffi and Olaf, who also came to our wedding in Norway and who visited us in Malaysia.  It was good to see them again.  We told them about dinner plans and then let them settle into their room.

 

At around 6 PM everyone returns and the final group to join us, Kevin and his family of six, had arrived.  Everyone catches up over the next half hour or so and then it is time for us to head out to dinner.  We cannot be too late - the children's carriage turns into a pumpkin at 8 PM (at least according to Scottish law).

 

We have a great time at the Victoria Cafe.  They have given us one whole section to use, and we take advantage of it.  And it is not just the children that are a bit noisy.  There were so many conversations going on in there at the same time, it sounded like the Tower of Babel.  We start with the drinks order, a few bottles of red and white wines, lots of pints of bitter and a few glasses of milk.  Then we put in the massive food order, which the cook does an excellent job of preparing and delivering to us pretty much all at the same time.

 

We leave the pub shortly after 8 PM - not even any pressure to leave with the children.  They were very relaxed and helpful.  The place comes highly recommended.  We returned to the hotel, making a quick run to the bottle shop to pick up a few bottles of white wine for everyone to partake this evening.  The hotel was kind enough to allow us to take over their lounge and let us drink our own booze, and even let us use their glasses.  Great service.  Some of us even watched the final episode of Friends in one of the rooms.  It was a great evening - getting together family and old friends, over some drinks and food and a good laugh or two.

 

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