Edinburgh – Isle of Skye – Portree – Glasgow, Scotland – 2019 – Day 25-29

10/05/19

Isle of Skye, Scotland

The start of the roadtrop – Edinburgh to Isle of Skye. We booked a car rental and picked up our car at the Train Station (Note – there is an extra service fee renting from the train station) and we got upgraded to an MG car. Needed a little calibrating to driving on the left side of the road but also the speed being in miles instead of kilometers. Roads are very narrow here with roundabouts and at times, the roads become single-laned streets with little passing sections to go aside to let the car opposite direction pass.

Along the way, we stopped by the small village of Glencoe and Fort William. The Wildcat in Fort Williamis a vegan cafe serving ample variety of food, pastries and coffee as well as a shopping section for eco-friendly products in the back. We saw many chilis go out but I settled for the full vegan breakfast – chestnut & herb sausage, haggis, scrambled tofu, potato rosti, avocano, baked beans, mushrooms, baked tomatoes, wilted spinach and sourdough bread.

We continued on the road stopping by Eilean Donan Castle. It is the most photographed castle in Scotland apparently and to this day, the family does on occasion still reside in the property. It has its own bridge to get to the castle as well.

Seeing as we were making good time and weather was somewhat cooperating, we decided to go and see more. We drove to the Fairy Pools and did the walk down from Glucagon na Sithichean. The winds were brutal with mist lightly covering everything. The waters were so clear and from above. We also drove down the road to see another fairy pool on the side of the road. There is a beach further in but no point in going when it’s super wet, windy and dark outside. Please also watch out for roaming sheep.

The sun went down so we checked into our hostel – Skyewalker Hostel. Dropped all our things and drove 30 minutes to get into Portree (kudos to Winnie driving in the dark and rain). Had dinner at the Caley Bar – I got the burger that comes with fries, onion rings and coleslaw.

10/06/19

Isle of Skye, Scotland

Our first full day in Skye, we started our day back in Portree stocking up on groceries at the Co-op before hitting the open road. We drove to the Fairy Glen (many miniature cone-shaped hills). Next stop was Quiraing where the sun started to come out but we didn’t realize where we had stopped in that parking lot was the entrance to the 6-8KM trail. We drove down the bends to see the other side to realize this. At that point, there was no turning back. We just kept going.

Stopped by Cuith-Raing – a lookout point.

With the gorgeous sun out, we stopped by Kilt Rock with his waterfall before making it over to Old Man of Storr. We hiked to the top and we were so happy the weather cooperated. When we were heading down from our hike, the rain started up so we were lucky. We drove back to Portree and wandered the town a bit going to stores like Or and the Gathering Hall Market.

Since we didn’t really have a proper meal that day (minus the tons of snacking) we chose to stay in Portree for dinner. We went to Prince of India – I ordered the lamb Tikka Biryani and the special Pakura.

We were able to drive back to Port na Long while the sun was still up (much easier than pitch darkness and rain). Our hostel featured a see-through dome where you can relax and look upon the stars but only when the sky is clear which sadly it wasn’t.

10/07/19

Isle of Skye, Scotland

We kept checking the weather going into this trip and this day in particular was suppose to be raining 15-20mm. The Scottish have a word – dreich meaning wet, dull, gloomy, dreary at its most miserable of weather.

Today however, the rain for the most part stayed away and we got some golden rays.

We drove over to Dunvegan Castle – the clan of MacLeod. It is the oldest continuously inhabited castle in Scotland and goes back at least 800 years. The garden was super lovely to walk through as well.

The rays of sun were strong as we drove to our next destination – Neist Point Lighthouse. It did get dark and gloomy along the way and traffic came to a halt because of the cows. We got to the top and waited in our car until the clouds pushed away a bit. Windy but we made the climb down and up to the lighthouse.

Considering we thought the day would be rained out, we stopped into a Cafe and asked about any other hikes and a couple mentioned Coral Beach in Claigan. The walk down to the beach is easy going (about 25 mins each way). The best part was climbing up to the top of the cliff after you’ve made it to the beach. It was incredibly windy and ever more so up top.

We drove back to Portree for dinner and grabbed some classic fish and chips at Chippy’s. The rest of the night was spent trying to untangle my hair. A lot of hair was lost that night.

10/08/19

Isle of Skye – Glasgow – Edinburgh, Scotland

Isle of Skye was great timing for us in terms of weather especially. We left in the morning and the rain just kept pummelling down.

We drove back to Edinburgh but of course with stopovers in Fort William for lunch at Wildcat Cafe once again. I got the miso peanut butter tofu wrap. We also decided to detour and check out Glasgow on our way back.

The weather wasn’t ideal but we did manage to walk around a bit to see the church (outside because it closed before we arrived) and around the square, part of campus and the famous shopping area and arcade. I even found a Tardis. We also stopped by a piece of home – Tim Hortons (but no honey cruellers so we carried on). We made it back in Edinburgh and made a nice stirfry to end this chapter of our time in Scotland with Nuala and Maya.

10/09/19

Edinburgh to London to Barcelona

Early morning train ride from Edinburgh to London Euston. Of course we had loads of snacks to get us through our travels. Winnie and myself parted ways once we got into Euston. I went to explore the city and run some errands and she went to exchange clothing at her friend’s place where she was storing her larger luggage.

In my few hours walking around, I went to Novelty Automation, Oxford Street, Carnaby, the Burlington Arcade (still has its own private police in big hats and capes), and Goodwin’s court in Covent Garden.

Walked over to London Bridge train station and we both hopped onto the train to Gatwick airport using our oyster cards. It was a long ride especially with rush hour travellers.

The flight with Vueling to Barcelona was super smooth. Since we arrived late in the evening, we decided to sleep in the airport. We found an outlet behind a machine so we plugged in and slept on the floor.

Iceland – Europe – 2014 – Day 15

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Woke up at 630AM and made breakfast before heading out. $7 eggs (aiya) but the Skyr was interesting. it’s actually a soft cheese with texture in between yogurt and cream cheese; I got Apple. We hopped into the car and it was still dark out Around 9AM, the sun started to rise and it was magnificent. There is only one highway – Hwy 1 that goes around entire island.

Our first stop off the day was Seljalandsfoss, which is the waterfall you can walk behind. It was an awesome experience and we were midway through before we saw the first signs of tour buses. Next stop was to Eyjafjallajökull volcano which after visiting the centre were told that we can’t access the volcano because there are huge craters. The last time this volcano erupted was 2010. She did say however that when it is around Easter time, when the snow falls then you are most able to access it. Or if we had a really good car and drove the North Eest or North East points, we can access via glaciers.

Skogafoss falls was out next destination. A hike to the top was well worth it but I do recommend proper shoes as it’s muddy. Once you reach the top, climb over the ladder and continue down. If you are adventurous, venture down towards the water. A 10 minute drive East, you can goto Solheimajokull glaciers if you follow an unpaved path in. It’s black sand beaches but there is a sign that said you should not pass… We did. We climbed, jumped and ran through the sand, rocks and glaciers and found a small stream that we all drank from. Too bad we all left our water bottles back the car. As we were leaving around 1PM, the sun was perfect – golden light if i say so myself or at least perfect lighting. NOTE- the sun rises around 930AM and it’s dark by 430PM and rainy/foggy this time year in Iceland. But strange thing is its not pitch black but rather the skies are very dark with an actual sunset. Average temperature is 8 degrees.

We drove towards the town of Vik and had lunch at this little restaurant in a hotel called Halldorskaffi (Víkurbraut, Vík) which has great reviews. They only served everything made from Iceland and it’s land. I got the lamb sandwich 2000isk with fries and it was absolutely delicious and juicy. I also got the homemade ice cream made from a farm in Myrdalur for 1400isk and could definitely taste the freshness of the dairy.

After lunch we drove about 10 minutes away to Reynisfjara beach and cliffs. It’s surreal there. Black sand beach, gnarly waves, caves with rocks that are edged but have corners similar to what people have imagined at the fortress of solitude in Superman or Game of Thrones. There is one side that looks like pillars that can be climbed. If you look up on the mountain, you can see sheep just hanging up there. Across the waters, it’s Iceland’s largest lighthouse but no one is allowed to that island as its a bird sanctuary.

We went to Fish Market – Fiskmarkadurinn (‪Adalstraeti 12, Reykjavik) for dinner and got the tasting menu which was 9900isk – $99CAD. The menu went like this: Tempura Rock shrimp with melon and wakame salad. Whale with horse raddish cream and berries – smoky. Langoustine shrimp with edamame puree and cauliflower. Icelandic mussels in lobster broth with Seward base with seaweed tea. Scallop nigiri and volcano maki with lobster tail. Lightly Salted cod with celery and cranberries with potato puree. Grilled salmon with fennel and Apple chutney with crispy lotus root. Icelandic lamb with beets and mushrooms. Cheesecake, chocolate molten lava with raspberry licorice sauce, passion fruit, strawberry, raspberry, coconut ice cream.

Griffith Park – Los Angeles, USA 2010

When you feel the need for a break from the city – this is the place to go.

Griffith park (4730 Crystal Springs Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027) just took my breathe away. I didn’t get a real chance to actually hike when I visited as I had the opportunity to assist on a photoshoot for a Japanese clothing line back in 2010. The client requested shots around golden hour / sunset and chose Griffith Park to shoot. We stayed on the south side and the view was amazing. This spot is particularly memorable visually to me as can see where the rest of the city lays and the separation where downtown begins with their tall buildings.

Situated in Los Feliz neighbourhood of Los Angeles, this park is one of North America’s largest municipal parks. There is free parking which is so hard to find all over LA.  Activities are plentiful here whether you want to visit the old or new zoo, picnicking, soccer, swimming, tennis and of course the observatory just to name a few. There are tons of hiking trails and multiple ones that will take you to the glorious Hollywood sign.

Until next time LA!