Mommy Comes to Visit

A couple weeks ago something I really hoped but never thought would actually happen, did. My Mommy came to visit Matt and I in London for 10 days and we kept her very busy for that time!
The day after she arrived, we met up with Catherine and Matt’s sister to go wedding dress shopping. Yup, wedding dress shopping. I’m not even going to begin to describe what a surreal experience it was but it was also so much fun! It was more of a ‘try everything on to see what style looks good’ exercise and I didn’t have any expectations of finding the dress. But I did. I have dreamt about it most nights and I cannot wait to go back for my 2nd fitting in a couple weeks. I’m so glad Mom was there for the experience, I couldn’t imagine doing it without her opinions and hilarious comments like:
“You ROCKED that dress”, “Your boobs looked AWESOME in that one”, and “Are you going to say Yes to the Dress?”.
Oh, I miss her so much already.
I wasn’t able to take any leave from work while Mom was here but there’s plenty in London to keep her busy! She spent a couple days doing the local touristy sites around the city and a day trip to Windsor Castle, Bath, and Stonehenge. We also took her to Mamma Mia and all our favourite restaurants.

Momma and her ribs

Since Mom doesn’t get to travel outside of Canada very often, I really wanted her to try and go somewhere besides London for a few days. After a bit of back and forth and not having a lot of time to go to another country, we settled on going to Glasgow for a weekend. Most of you would probably think there isn’t much going on in Glasgow and wonder why would we want to go there out of all the other places in the UK. My Grandma (Hi Grandma!) and Great Aunties grew up in Glasgow before moving to Canada and I’ve always wanted to see the house they lived in. There was no better time to do that than with Mom! After a quick train ride from Glasgow train station we checked off number 10 on our 100 Things List – Visit the house Dayna’s Grandma grew up in in Glasgow.

The house my Grandma and Aunts grew up in

The house my Grandma and Aunts grew up in

Mom holding a picture of Grandma and Aunty standing in front of the house

The house my Grandma and Aunts grew up in

Can’t get over how much my younger sister looks like Grandma in this picture!

Mom also wanted to see the church they used to attend. Grandma told us it was right around the corner from their house but when we got to the end of the street there 2 churches – one to our left and one to our right. We came to the conclusion it was the one to the left. Were we right, Grandma?

The church my grandma went to

Church to the left

Church

Church to the right

We didn’t go into the house (anyone else think it’s a bit weird to ask a stranger if you can take a look inside?) and without my Grandma there to point out different things there wasn’t much point anyway but it was awesome to see it and remember all the stories she told me of growing up there.

The rest of our time in Glasgow was spent walking around pretty much the whole city. We went to parks, the Botanical Gardens, the Glasgow Cathedral, and ate delicious food (no haggis though!).

Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral

Glasgow Cathedral

Old Grave

Cathedral

Botanics

Bees in the Botanics

Mom smelling the roses

Mom and I in the Botanics

Exercising in the Botanics

Exercising in the Botanics

We also stumbled across these guys – you know you’re in Scotland when…

Mom gave us the greatest surprise leaving gift as well – she cleaned our entire flat while we were at work! Feel free to come back any time Mom 😉

All kidding aside, seeing my Mom for the first time in 2 years and having her see what our life is like on the other side of the world was so special. Two weeks wasn’t long enough! I miss you already, Mom!

Mom and I in the Botanics

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27.5 Hours in Edinburgh

About a month ago, Matt’s sister let us know that there were still a few tickets available for the All Blacks v Scotland match in Edinburgh and asked if we wanted to go to it with her. Of course, it didn’t take long for us to go back to her with a resounding ‘yes’.

Matt had already promised me an All Blacks jersey for my birthday but even though we ordered it about 3 weeks ago, it didn’t arrive in time. No worries though, it was so cold that all our layers would cover it up anyway!

Since we’re newly converted to the best way to travel ever, the train was our transport of choice. I was very surprised to find out that it would take longer to get to Edinburgh than it did for us to get to Reims while costing pretty much the same. A little backwards in my opinion, but oh well. I would pick the train over flying any day.

Besides, the ride up was worth it on its own. We got to see a lot of the country, went through quaint little English towns, and even got to see the ocean. The ocean! I didn’t realise how much I’ve missed living next to the ocean until I saw it again.

Ocean!

I’m on a bit of a reading binge at the moment (currently on book number 6 in as many weeks, suggestions for my next one welcome!) so it gave me a good chunk of time to do that. However, I’m not the type of person that can sit still for very long so by the time we reached our destination, I was very ready to get off the train.

Once we had checked into our cute little guesthouse (The Glenora – highly recommend for its decent price and generous free breakfast), we bundled up and walked into town.

And bagpipes are playing. I love it here already

Immediately we noticed tartan EVERYWHERE, the sound of bagpipes constantly surrounded us, and I absolutely fell in love with the city. There was just a good, friendly vibe, the buildings were gorgeous, and oh who am I kidding, I just really like the bagpipes and the Scottish accent.

It also made me feel really close to my Grandma who, as most of you know, is from Scotland and one of my favourite people in the whole world.

Anyway, since we didn’t have a whole lot of time we didn’t do anything touristy and just walked around the city. We went to Princes Garden park where Matt made friends with a squirrel and we looked up at the massive and equally impressive Edinburgh Castle.

@mattmacbaker loves his squirrels.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Along our way to find a pub, we stumbled across a candy store and bought some Pull n Peel (which I’ve been craving for weeks) and the most sour candies I have ever eaten which is saying something because sour candy is my weakness.

These are the faces of two people who just ate VERY sour candies.

I had one and the roof of my mouth is still raw. Matt had 5 and well, I don’t think he’ll be tasting anything for weeks.

We had heard about a pub in Edinburgh that Matt wanted to go to as a joke just because of its name. Turns out it’s actually a ‘famous’ and really nice pub despite having the name, Dirty Dick’s.

There was random things covering every inch (umm…no pun intended) of the place.

It's got a funny name and random stuff all over the walls and ceiling. My Dad would love this place.

Dad – you would have loved it and no doubt could donate some of your knick knacks to the cause.

Also, my Dad keeps giving me a hard time about drinking a lot (which doesn’t actually happen, but this is a travel blog and travel usually involves drinking more than when at home), so I’ll skip talking about the rest of the evening!

The next morning, we nursed our slight hangovers with the delicious breakfast put on by our hotel and headed back into town to walk around some more and kill time before the game started.

As it was Remembrance Day, there were lots of people dressed in traditional clothes (kilts and the like) and wearing medals. We stumbled upon a section of the park where you could donate money and get a cross to write a name of a loved one on and place it in the ground. We opted to get a traditional poppy instead but took some time to look at the crosses.

Crosses

Soon it was time to meet back up with Sarah for lunch and a pint before the game. We thought we had booked a table at a pub however, it turned out to be a little more flash than that and we ended up paying £30 each for an average 2 course meal. Oh well, those things happen!

Our luck didn’t get much better when we tried to get drinks from the tents set up outside and after seeing a guy get kicked out for puking his guts out (at 1:30pm in the afternoon) we decided to cut our losses and head to the stadium.

We quickly got drinks (water for me as my tummy was a bit off from the night before and perhaps, lunch) then listened to the band playing outside the stadium for a bit before it was time to go in.

Sarah scored us some awesome seats in the lower section close to the try line. Only interesting part was the very crazy Scottish lady who was quite excited to be at the game. Luckily, she moved to the aisle and as the game went on her excitement died down quite a bit (I suspect as the drugs wore off).

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Anyway, there was a moment of silence before the game began and about half way through a guy started playing the bagpipes from the roof of the stadium. It was incredibly powerful and I still get shivers thinking about it. I think a combination of being in a place where bombs were actually dropped and remembering stories of how it affected my family members had quite an effect on me and made this Remembrance Day even more poignant.

The shivers continued during the Scottish National Anthem as the band finished playing but the crowd continued singing. That combined with the words of the anthem was wow…powerful.

Then came the Haka which saw Scotland challenge it by walking towards the ABs.

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On with the game.

All Blacks game

The All Blacks are always expected to win so, as a fan, all you can really hope for is an exciting game. Even though the final score was 51-22 for the ABs, Scotland put up a decent fight and seemed to be in possession of the ball for most of the game. Lots of tense moments with Scotland opening the scoring and then being held on the try line by the ABs for AGES before finally scoring a well deserved try.

All Blacks game

All Blacks game

All Blacks game

After nearly missing it (damn long food lines!), we boarded our train back to London where I had an awkward looking nap. It was such a good weekend but not nearly enough time. Scotland, we’ll be back.

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