Aloha means both hello and goodbye

A pretty perfect week with our darlings Meghan and Ben with sweet babytb Vicchio! Clear skies and warm sand plus a phone app that enables frosty adult beverages to be delivered directly to our chairs.. helped create a lovely relaxing week of Aloha. We are already hotly anticipating our 2018 family Maui trip ( already booked) with 6 adults and THREE kiddos! Enjoy the quiet bliss while you can. Aloooo ha!

 

Maui 2017 Aloha blessings

We arrived to our beautiful Island yesterday and are settling in quite nicely. Each trip to Hawaii brings special moments and memories for our family. In the 80’s Coming as a couple on vacation, company events in the 90’s, traveling with friends a few times but most of all,our    True and cherished times will always be here with our girls. From teenagers lounging under plumeria trees and complaining about dropping blossoms to  young women bringing boyfriends along, to grown women with fabulous husbands we are wrapped up in the joyful “reconnecting Aloha” only a family vacation can bring.

 When Brian and I decided that Maui was a yearly must do ( 16 years ago) and bought these three Ocean front weeks at Westin Villas in Kaanapali , we joked that “someday maybe grandkids!”. Life is so sweet and true. We are missing Erin, Eric and Jacks this year because of pending ANYDAY new baby arrival. Erin is under strict conditions not to have baby until our arrival home April 1 ( she is due on 13th) and since they traveled to Disney Hawaii resort in January on Babymoon, we are not feeling too bad . We are also celebrating here with Meghan and Ben ! We found out just yesterday as they emerged off of plane from Scottsdale .. the gender of their new September grand baby ! They both wore pink and blue leis and greeted Brian and I by putting correct  lei on us ! No telling yet.. they will reveal soon…we are overjoyed with their news. One extraordinary and most beloved Jacks plus Two new grandBabies in 2017.. and a condo or two full of grandbabies next year. Almost like Brian and planned it!! Haha.

Brian’s retirement happens in a few weeks so even more celebrations ahead. We have so much to thank God for and so many blessings in this life. 

As we flew in, gate was not ready so pilot took us on a lower flyover around Haleakala and Hana. Areas unseen unless in air. Note the centuries old lava flows. A beautiful welcome to our Island.

La Jolla, California

We so rarely get to Southern California and considering its a mere hop, skip and jump from home, it truly befuddles me as to why.This weekend was all about Love at the Beach as the daughter of good friends tied the knot overlooking the blue Pacific Ocean. As the wedding was Sunday night we took full advantage and flew in Friday afternoon and out on Monday.

Stayed at the very historic and remarable La Valencia Hotel ( AKA THE HOT PINK)in downtown La Jolla. Hotel is celebrating 90 years full of kings, movie stars and common folks. Its a must stay in town.

Saturday was great as the brides family hosted 100 plus guests to the San Diego Zoo along with lunch at the Treetops Restaurant and bus tour. The day long pass allowed us to stay as long as we wished and see as much as we could. Temperate climate in late September but still warm.


Great fun. Sunday was relaxing and wedding was perfection as sun drifted into the sea.


Beautiful couple surrounded by loving family and friends. A perfect start to many happy years.

Perfect Week in Vancouver and spending time with my mum.

Vancouver Canada is just beautiful. The just over two hour flight hugs the blue Pacific Coast . On one side of plane you get to see snow capped dormant Volcanos and deep azure mountain lakes of the Northwest. On the otherside of plane you see the beautiful Pacific coastline dotted with all sorts of tiny private islands. You can almost see the Orcas, Dolphins and Eagles. My mom just celebrated her 93rd birthday and we spent the week talking about her early life in Ontario. Her memory of all of that is sharp nd good…her dinner last night escapes her. I watched her carefully ¬†and realized that if lucky enough to reach an age most do not, your perspective on the world is different. You’ve lived through the things we only read about in books. You have seen the world tetter on the edge of oblivion more than once and knows how horrible humans can be to one another. She has also known great joy And prefers to talk and remember ¬†those moments in her life. Its a great lesson and its far easier to sit and feel the great loss of so many. I have such admiration for her. She adores her wee dog ( and dogs she has lost)…and told me that dealing with loss is like owning a dog. The great joy and commitment a small dog brings daily must always outshine the grief of losing it someday. You remember the good…and let the sadness of loss….go. If not, it consumes you. Great lessons…wonderful moments with mum. Always learning from her wise words.

A Highlands goodbye !

Thanks you to Andrew MacDonald of Hame Tours
Thanks you to Andrew MacDonald of Hame Tours
Always so teary to leave this beautiful place. Culloden House was lovely and service was excellent. Knoll and staff outdid themselves. Andrew picked us up early and brought us to the MacPherson museum ( my line of family and wonderful resource going forward) as well as Midhope Castle or Lallybroch to my Outlander friends. Also a stop at The Duke of Sandringham’s wee home! Back at Balmoral in Edinbourgh and relaxing before getting home for the 4 th. Feels like a 6 week holiday.. But still need more so already coercing Brian into 40 th anniversary trip next year. Another shout out to Donna Williams of Wow travel. She finds all these wonderful adventures for us! Cheers! #cullodenhouse #culloden #outlander

Beautiful bluebird morning


The bed curtains that hung here when the Bonnie Prince stayed prior to the battle of Culloden

Lallybroch! Proof this was taken by me and not pulled off of Outlander site.. The blue trash bin outside gate!!!

Hopetoun House aka Duke of Sandingham palace without cars!

Culloden history, Cairns promise to transport and Whiskey never disappoints!

Today began with early morning post breakfast pick up by Andrew. Breakfast at Culloden House does not disappoint and I have come to love a full Scottish breakfast. Toast delivered vertical is so much more civilized.


The history of the battle of Culloden is important for anyone considering Scotland trip. Aside from the British slaughter of Highlanders it began a purge of all the clans by the British. Many died but many more found their was to France and North America. There was no potato famine in Scotland.. The people had to flee from British brutality. The moor is a windswept field of wild flowers and history deeply imbedded in all Scots.

This battle also appears in Outlander.

The well of the dead. The Jacobites who followed Bonnie Prince Charlie did not have a chance. 1400 killed in under one hour.


The moor is beautiful .

We drove 1/2 mile to the ancient Druid Cairns.

These cairns were the models for Outlander. Considering their age in thousands of years as they are of same time as Stonehenge.. They are moving to stand amongst. 

I did not ‘poof’ disappear but felt it might be possible amongst all the ancient mystery.

Jamie and Claire cannot be too far! 


Seems only natural to seek out a wee dram as the sky was threatening. We had this Belvenie reservation along time. So very hard to secure a rare place on a tour there. Three full hours and we  emerged brilliant, clever and oh so happy Andrew was driving!

Brian and Andrew


They have their coopers onsight.
The scenery along the was beyond belief! Rolling green pastures lead up to treeless mountains full of heather, cold streams and an allure that cannot be explained.

Sheep!!!! Everywhere!!!

One of the aqueduct ( railway)used in Harry Potter 

Can you imagine this bridge was a footbridge as well as a cart bridge. Very old and still standing. Truly beautiful everywhere we go. 


Highland cattle ( Andrew calls them HAIRY COOS) villages with no Starbucks anywhere in sight and happy people everywhere. 

Fabulous day as rain held off and sky gave us a double rainbow. Dinner and bed and goodbye to Culloden House tomorrow Till we  meet again.

Also quite civilized to have the key to a walled secret garden on the fob beside your room skeleton key!

Sometimes Rain, Sometimes Sun, Sometimes Rainbows!

We were met early in Edinburgh by our wonderful guide Andrew Macdonald. He is full of stories and song and Robbie Burns! He will tour is around the Highlands stopping for Outlander and History and perhaps a wee dram along the way.


The weather has been pretty good with just a few drops of rain here and there. We drive past the famous Kelpies ( a huge sculpture that celebrates the old workhorses of the many canals and firths) they welcome you to the Highlands.


Sheep everywhere. I think the stats are 2 million people and 12 million sheep! We stopped in Cullross.. A village left quite the same from the 1600’s. This was Gillies Duncuns home and site of the witch trial in Outlander. Remember the boy who had his ear nailed to the post in center square for punishment? Sort of like stocks! Here it is.

Outlander painted the houses a grey blue and brought in slit of dirt for the mud and mess



I asked Andrew what Hags Wynd means and he replied that Hag means and old mean woman and Wynd means windy street.. So I guess they named it after her. She must have been pretty mean.

The Outlander filming brings great economy to this area. Most people in Scotland have not seen it as 1st season just came out here only on Amazon Prime. Thinking is that Government are holding it off due to worry about an upswell in Patriotism ( Braveheart had that effect back in 80’s) and separation from England possible . Village is beautiful.

Also visited Falkland with was Inverness in show. 

We visited Doune Castle sight of famous Monte Python ” cherchez la vache” scene with John Cleese! Plus this is Dougal Mackenzies castle in Outlander and they filmed slot of season one here.


Edradour distillery was great. Handmade and smallest in Scotland

   
Beautiful drive to Inverness and return to one of our favorite places Culloden House for next two nights.