As the title suggests, this post is provided by Drew.
They say marriage is all about give and take. So while the London castles were neat, the city had a lot of what I like to call “lady crack” (palaces, Crown Jewels, afternoon tea, theater, etc.). So next up to Scotland we went for a man-trip. The home of golf, Scotch whisky, and…kilts? (our walking tour guide made it a point that William Wallace (Braveheart) probably never actually wore a kilt).
The first portion of my man trip included a short train and bus ride to St Andrews, Scotland. If Megan wrote this post you’d be hearing how it was the place where Kate Middleton met (stalked) Prince William to University of St Andrews and they lived happily ever after. But thankfully I am here to save you (or not). We took a short walk from the bus station of to St. Andrews Links, the Mecca of golf. From the town street we cut across the path of the 1st and 18th fairways that you can walk or drive across…at your own risk. From there we strolled along the path to the clubhouse lined with sand dunes and the beach that the running scene from Chariots of Fire was filmed. You know the tune-bum bum bum bum buuuum buuuummmm…
The Links Clubhouse was where we met our tour group and also had some nice facts about the course and photos. Our guide was very informative and friendly and she walked us around the famous Old Course and eventually took our photo on the iconic Swilcan bridge. It’s a good thing because I planned on taking one anyway somehow. We saw someone disappear into the infamous 17th hole road bunker but did not get to look at it up close. You might be wondering did I actually get to play on the course? The answer is sad. No I did not. As you can imagine, like Torrey Pines (south course especially), it is extremely difficult to get a tee time. Also, you need to show proof of your handicap which I do not have (except for a limp from falling down the stairs as Megan previously posted).
Some interesting facts about the course were:
- Because it is links style, most of the bumpy terrain is all natural.
- It was originally 22 holes instead of 18.
- there are 18 holes but not 18 greens. Most holes have two pins per green, one for the front 9 and one for the back 9.
- There is a hilly putting course “the Himalayas” that is home to the Ladies’ Putting Club.
- the Old Course is closed on Sundays and turned into a public park.
After the tour, we had lunch at the cafe next to the Royal and Ancient Clubhouse which had a good view of the course and beach.
We took the scenic route back to the bus station which wound around a peninsula with views of St. Andrews Castle and Cathedral across the street.
The next part of our Scotland man trip we took a train from Edinburgh to Inverness (capital of the highlands and home to Lock Ness monster). But the real reason we were there was because it is home to the Malt Whisky Trail. I convinced my lovely wife Megan to rent a car and drive me along said trail (the bus and train schedule was bad because of the holiday weekend) to take pictures and ultimately take the Glenfiddich distillery tour. Her good karma was immediately rewarded by getting handed the keys to a brand new Mercedes. You’re welcome and don’t get used to the luxury car…quite yet. She was actually very good driving on the “wrong” side of the road and was very patient while I had her slow down, turn around, and wait for me to take a bunch of pictures.
For lunch we ate at Glenfiddich while we waited for our tour. I tried some Balvenie (owned by same company) which was pretty smooth. The tour of Glenfiddich was a fun experience for both of us and we learned a lot. We took a separate route home through the Cairngorms National Park which was nice and had a lot of wildlife.
Yesterday we had kind of an easy day and I was celebrating not having to edit many photos after dinner (don’t forget to check out my photos page) when suddenly a parade of bag-pipers came marching in front of us after dinner. Having nothing better to do, we followed them down the street where they ended in the town park. It was really cool to see. Apparently it was made up of several local pipe bands.
Tomorrow we are off to Ireland!