FUN-video – The UK & Whisky Festival – Movie Trailer

June 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

At 16 days, this was the shortest international trip we have taken since Chris retired in 2009. And it was great to travel with only a carry on bag. Enjoy!

https://youtu.be/V0LsKlaDeWY

FUN-photos: UK – Scotland

June 19, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The whole reason for taking this trip was to experience Fèis Ìle…The Islay Festival of Music and Malt!

  • Whisky tasting is a whole lot like wine tasting. Swirl, smell, sip, swallow…and then the taste…                        …soft & subtle…or strong… smoky, spicy, salty, sweet?

After spending the night in Paisley, the town next to the Glasgow airport, and a short 45 minute flight we arrived in Islay at 9:15. That gave us 3 full days on the island, where we made it to 7 of the 8 distilleries, and tasted a record 35 different single malt whiskies!

  • Our last two days were spent in Oban on the west coast and southern part of the Scottish Highlands.  We took the ferry to Kennacraig where Alex & Barbara awaited us for the scenic 2 hour drive back to their home. We met them on our “Slow Boat to Singapore Cruise” in 2016. We had a lovely time exploring the sights, which included a tour of the Oban Distillery, and of course drinking more whisky!

By the end of our 5 days in Scotland, we had tasted a grand total of 45 single malt whiskies…plus 2 rhubarb gins (one with ginger added) & 2 liqueurs…mind you they were wee little tastes…

…some just a wee little bit bigger!

FUN-photos: UK – Conwy, Northern Wales

June 17, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Lucky us again! The rain came when we boarded our train for the 4 hour ride north. We arrived in Deganwy just in time for happy hour!

  • The Conwy Castle loomed large across the bay awaiting our visit the next afternoon.

We spent our first full day taking a 90 minute train ride south to the base of Mt. Showdon where we discovered the delightful little village of Betws-y-Coed. Home to Britain’s first artist colony this secluded alpine area was more of the same “just oh so cute & quaint.”

  • After returning back to Deganwy we enjoyed a nice stroll along the waterfront and climb up the Conwy Castle. Then the rain came so we took cover in the Albion Pub for some local craft beer.

On the second day Mari, our driver & tour guide, gave us a grand overview covering 140 miles where we saw 2 more castles, a working woolen mill, the slate museum, the town with the longest name in the world, and ended in the sweet little village of Beddgelert.

FUN-photos: UK – The Cotswolds & Bath, England

June 17, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Lucky for us we left San Diego on a non-stop British Airways flight before their computer melt down that stranded thousands for three days! We opted for a UK rail pass as our main mode of transportation.

  • The first three days were spent in The Cotswolds, the most unspoiled area in England, that covers roughly 25 miles across and 90 miles long.

Our first full day we had a driver take us to the “ever so cute & quaint” surrounding villages and ended at Blenheim Palace. The second day we headed out from our Lower Slaughters Country Inn for a walking tour of the “just picture post card pretty & more cute” villages of Bourton-on-the-Water AKA “the Venice of the Cotswolds” & Stow-on-the-Wold.

  • That was followed by two days in Bath where the town was celebrating the Bath Festival.

The weather was incredible with unseasonably warm record temps and lots of sunshine!

  • This adventure was all about seeing parts of England and Scotland we had never seen, in addition to northern Wales. But the MAIN REASON was for Fèis Ìle… The Islay Festival of Music and Malt!

 

FUN-photos: Wildest Desert Bloom in Decades!

March 30, 2017 by · Comments Off on FUN-photos: Wildest Desert Bloom in Decades! 

  • Finding the Wildest Desert Blooms in Decades was our day’s agenda. Since I had never been to the Joshua Tree National Park that was our first destination. Massive boulders and rock formations jutted up from the earth. Some stacked neatly while others looked as if they were tumbled out of a giant bucket. And thousands of Joshua Trees in varying stages of life & death filled the desert in every direction.
  • Then as we continued on to Borrego Springs using only the back roads, the “hills were alive with blooms” that ranged from vanilla, to soft pale butter & vibrant sunflower yellow, periwinkle, fuchsia, tangerine, lilac & lavender.  Clinging to the side of the rocks and roads were perfectly formed big bouquet-like mounds of miniature daisy bushes.

And the rock formations in Mecca were incredible. Unfortunately Mr. Jaded, AKA Chris, didn’t stop so I could take some pix. Quote “It’s just a pile of rocks.” This is what I live with!

  • La Casa del Zorro was our overnight stop and the next morning was spent driving and hiking in search of the fields of flowers dotting the desert landscape. Our “big bonus surprise” was discovering 130 full-sized metal sculptures that are inspired by creatures that roamed this same desert millions of years ago. The artworks, spread out over 10 square miles, range from prehistoric mammals to historical characters,  dinosaurs, and a 350-foot-long fanciful serpent.
  • Heading home we came out of the desert via Hwy. 78 to Julian and got more incredible displays of bountiful blooms that got bigger the higher up the mountain we went.

FUN-fact – The Joshua tree, the largest of the yuccas, grows only in the Mojave Desert.

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