Our plans have changed again, as they will. Locals advised us to skip Loch Ness by boat because it was overrated, expensive to navigate through the multiple locks and time consuming to actually get to Loch Ness. So, we took their advice and decided to do some inland travel by train. We toured the highlands and inland lochs, watching the beautiful scenery go by from the window of a train. On the positive side we were able to get all the way to Edinburgh, which was not on our original travel itinerary. The city is truly one of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen and one of the oldest in Europe. We find visiting urban centers with kids isn't always super relaxing. We'd like to just poke around, wander through shops, visit museums, actually take the time to read informational plaques or sit in a cafes and people watch. With the ages of our kids, and the simple fact that there are 5 of us trying to wander, it isn't quite as much fun for us, or for them. Edinburgh, in particular, begs to be explored by nook and cranny. So we did what we usually do in urban centers and planned to visit a monument the kids would like in the morning, in this case it was Edinburgh Castle and the military Museum, and then we split up and one of us gets half of a day to wander on their own and the other either wanders doing kid friendly things; watching street performers, listening to street music, but usually eventually ends up heading back to the hotel early. We then meet for a late dinner and the adult that wasn't "blessed" to spend all day with the kids gets a chance to do some adult friendly things in the evening on their own. It isn't ideal, but it works for us and we often meet a few more locals when we are exploring alone. I'm sure this is why the tropics appeal to so many cruisers with kids; everyone is happy on a beach and swimming!
Edinburgh Castle is the top tourist draw in all of Scotland, so we had to share it with a few thousand other people, but it was pretty spectacular all the same. The kids alternated between "hanging" with the guide and learning a few facts and running around exploring on their own. Porter loved the Great Hall with the display of swords and suits of armor and predictably, Ana liked the crown jewels. They bought plastic swords and used the whole castle as their playground. I figured if they sell plastic swords in the gift shop, then they need to expect kids will use them. Zander was mortified, but Kena and Porter had a blast!
Michael drew the short straw and I got to spend an afternoon by myself. I hiked a hill behind the city and got a full view of Edinburgh. I visited the house of parliament, the royal palace and the national gallery all at a speed walk. I also had a short time to shop on the royal mile for a few Christmas presents. It was a blissful few hours on my own. I returned to the hotel to a scene of all three kids playing besiege the castle walls and Michael very ready to have a break.
We only spent two nights in Edinburgh. It is a lovely city, but the English pound is still so strong and our dollar doesn't go very far. In three days we spent almost a fourth of our monthly income. The UK is great, but our wallets will like the rest of Europe better when we can go back to the Euro which is almost equal with the US dollar, or at least as low as it has been in decades.
The following pages chronicle the journey of the sailing vessel Pelagic and her crew. We are a family of 5; Michael, Amy, Zander, Porter and Anakena, taking our 42' Hallberg Rassy as far as we can comfortably go in three years. We left Oregon in September 2014, participated in the 2014 Baja Haha, continued on through the Panama Canal, into the Caribbean, up the coast of the US to Maritime Canada and from there crossed the Atlantic. After an arrival in Ireland we toured Scotland, then sailed down to France, Portugal and on to Morocco. In January of 2016 we slowed down considerably and enrolled the kids in a local Spanish school in Sanlucar de Guadiana for a few months. In the spring of 2016 we crossed the Atlantic towards the Caribbean. We are now in the Pacific, officially on our way home, albeit via a very circuitous path. We are currently in French Polynesia and looking at weather windows to Hawaii before finally making landfall back in the Pacific Northwest.
Currently our exact location is not available. Our spot coverage will pick us back up in Hawaii towards the end of May, 2017.
Our favorite sailing quote:
"If anythings gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there boss!" Captain Ron