After wrapping up our time in Edinburgh, we headed out on the long drive to Oban, our base on the west coast of Scotland. Matt did an awesome job driving our standard SUV on the left side of Scotland's crazy roads. The highways are great, but once you leave them, the roads are narrow and twisty. So getting anywhere takes three times longer than you expect. It amazes me that tour buses are able to handle these roads so successfully, but they seem to be everywhere.
Natalie was most excited about the bathtub of rubber duckies in the gift shop.
|Rubber ducky, you're the one ...
|Robert the Bruce. He's a fan favorite in Scotland.
|Every castle needs some canons.
|Nice harbor in Oben
|Apparently not all the bus drivers in Scotland have perfect driving records. This guy was pretty good, though.
The next day, we had hoped to take a boat ride to Staffa to check off two bucket list items. We had missed the puffins in Iceland when we visited and had reluctantly had to cut a trip to the Giant's Causeway when we were visiting Ireland. Staffa has a puffin colony and the same kind of rock formations that made the Giant's Causeway, so we were excited to visit. Unfortunately, the weather wasn't cooperating. It was going to be very windy and the boat captain didn't recommend that two adults who get seasick take two little kids on a two-plus hour rocky boat ride. So the puffins and fake Giant's Causeway will have to wait for another trip.
So we went for a hike around Iona instead. The kids were ready in their rain gear. The weather started out fine ... but then ... Scotland. Torrential downpours. Oliver wasn't happy. We almost turned back, but we pressed on and ended up having a pretty fun hike. Iona is only 3.5 square miles with no actual hiking trails, so we just set off and climbed to the top of hills when we wanted to get our bearings.
|So ... it was windy.
|Oliver enjoyed some sweet potato as his first food
The kids were awesome during the boat-bus-boat ride back to Oban, so we celebrated with fish and chips for lunch, a distillery tour for Matt, some ice cream for Natalie, and a great meal at a Scottish gastropub for Kristin. The rest of the night was spent enjoying the view from our hotel room.
|This was before the ice cream.
|Views for mom and dad. Coloring for Natalie.