Saturday, April 21, 2012

When we go back to the States, we need to _________.

We've been having cravings and neither of us are pregnant. So, we thought we'd start planning now for our looked-forward-to return to the USA!

1) Eat at Chipotle

2) Go to a Mariner game. (Garrick) And eat a hot dog. (Andrea)

3) Drive a car on the right-hand side of the road.

4) Go through a drive-thru

5) Play at the park with our nephews

6) Shop at Target

7) Cycle the Centennial Trail with Dan the Man

8) Go to happy hour at Lot #3 or the Matador with the LCC crew

9) Smell the fertilizer while driving down into the Snohomish Valley

10) Watch TV

11) Have coffee with Rachael Goit (Andrea)

12) Eat one of Mark's curries

13) Shop with my mom, sister, and Julie (Andrea)

14) Travel around the San Juan Islands

We'll keep adding, and if you think of anything we've missed, don't be shy!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Whey Pat Exegesis & "Macbeth"

Pub Night

Every Friday night, post-grad's from St Mary's College gather at the Whey Pat on Bridge Street. Conversation can be silly, exegetical, and meaningful.

Always very warm and very crowded, the Whey Pat has character and is slightly less packed with undergrads than other local pubs. It's a different mix of students each week and people come and go until midnight.

This month, Garrick hosts. This means sending out a mass Facebook invite the day of, and getting there at 8pm. Friday night we enjoyed dinner with Raymond & Mary Blake and then made our way to the pub. Our usual corner occupied, we sat in the back and the boys played a few games of darts. I enjoyed conversation with friends, whom I no longer consider "new."

We haven't made it to every Pub Night, but when we do it's always a looked-forward-to ending to another week in St Andrews.

"Macbeth" performed in the St Andrews Castle

When we heard that Shakespeare's play was to be performed in a ruined Scottish castle, we couldn't pass up the experience. Then, we realized we'd have to sit outside for three hours on a chilly night.

Still worth it.

The evening began at Le Rendez Vous (a wee hole-in-the-wall French restaurant) with Ryan & Corrie. Bellies filled with pizza, we walked to wait in line for the play.

Garrick and I went under the names "Jessica" and "Claire" for the evening, because we got tickets from two girls who had purchased tickets online, and we had their confirmation printout. The student who checked our passes said to Garrick, "Jessica, that's a peculiar name!"

Bag pips serenaded the setting sun and soon the lawn was filled with hundreds of spectators.The actors performed fantastically considering they didn't wear mic's or jackets. Lady Macbeth did particularly well with the many emotions she portrayed: love, insanity, sadness, and anger.

The castle proved a perfect backdrop and  the cast wore blue and red tartan, signifying clan Macbeth or clan Macduff. It's one of those moments where you have say to yourself, "I'm in ancient castle ruins watching a Shakespeare play."

Our sleeping bags were perfect. I put the hood up and got so warm I fell asleep at one point! If you're here in June you can attend "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with us.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Isle of Skye

A map of the island chain of the Hebrides that lie to the west of the mainland of Scotland.

Location: 57°34'05"N and 6°10'20"W

Population: 9,232

Prominent Clans: MacLeod & MacDonald

Distance from St Andrews: 417 miles, 4 hours and 23 minutes

Landscape: Rolling green hills, rocky cliffs, and minimal trees

Weather in April: Sun, wind, rain, and snow

Our Trip:

On April 2, we piled into a very small French SUV with G's family, Mark, Julie, Braden and Nolan. We drove a roundabout way to Skye via Inverness and Loch Ness to see Urquhart Castle and Nessie. After about 6+ hours of driving, we arrived in Kyleakin, Isle of Skye.

We checked into "Saucy Mary's" youth hostel.

Who is Saucy Mary? She was a Norwegian princess who occupied Castle Moil, a fortress built in the 15th century. She tolled boats using the channel. Photos depict her in provocative clothing and long, curly blond hair.

The hostel is connected to a pub, and the food and music did not disappoint. We heard lots of "Men at Work" and "Lynyrd Skynyrd." The pub closed at about 1:30am each morning, interrupting our sleep with lots of French accents and yelling. Garrick even kindly asked them to be quiet, but to no avail. ;)

On our main travel day, we got an early start at 9am. First stop? Talisker.


The views kept getting better. I said, "Pull over, I want to take a picture," about ten times. On our way to Portree, highland cows and sheep dotted the landscape.


After burgers and lamb stew at "The Cafe" in Portree, Skye's largest town,  we continued our loop to Duntulm Castle. "Good for the soul" is the only way to describe standing on these ancient ruins, looking out at the sea.

Waves crashing. Sheep baaing. Wind blowing. A very Scottish soundtrack, heard centuries earlier by Clan MacDonald.  I've thought much of the peacefulness I felt at this ruined castle. The rain soon soaked our North Face jackets and we hiked back to the car.

Back at Saucy Mary's, Garrick and I continued our life-long Cribbage tournament and enjoyed pan-seared lamb and potatoes. The next morning we ate muffins and drank terrible lattes in the car, beginning the long drive back to St Andrews. Even though the distance does not look far, the roads are often one lane with slow speed limits, making for longer travel times.

Here are my three favorite photos from our holiday:

We will definitely make a point to travel to the Isle of Skye again. We saw lots of mountaineering, cycling, and camping, but summertime would probably be best for these activities!