I am extremely proud to say that I am half British and my very first tastes of travel were going to the UK to visit my mom’s side of the family. My mom and dad got me a passport when I was a baby and took me to England & Scotland to spend time with my Gran and Grandad. I have not been back to visit their house since I was 12 – over half my life has now passed without going back. I really wanted to visit my Gran and Uncle Barry so we bought plane tickets to go (thank goodness for frequent flyer miles!). Ryan and I have both been to England and Scotland in the past but never together so we were looking forward to exploring the area as a pair.
The road to Scotland is much longer coming from Korea – it was over 30 hours of travel time but it was well worth it. We took the bus-flight-flight-underground-hotel-flight-car route to get to my Gran’s. We took our first flight from Seoul (after the first bus ride from Geoje) and ended up in Glasgow…we made a pit stop in Germany, taking advantage of the access to delicious German wheat beers while in the airport, and then spent the night in London before catching our flight to Glasgow. On the underground on the way to the hotel to stay overnight, it struck us that everyone around us was speaking our native language. This may sound odd, but this was our first time in an English speaking country in almost a year – it was weird that this made us feel out of place and we had to remind ourselves that everyone could understand what we were saying.
Once in Glasgow, we were up for our first big milestone – Ryan’s first time driving on the left side of the road. This may not sound like that big of a deal, but it’s probably because you’ve never done it…it is a truly bizarre experience and borderline terrifying while driving on tiny and windy Scottish roads. Ryan was a pro in no time and we made it safely to my Gran’s house.
As soon as we got there, we were greeted by my Gran, Uncle Barry, and our friend Linda. It was SO great to see them! We gave big hugs all around and had tea together. It was so nice to be together and enjoy each others’ company. Gran made us a delicious salmon dinner and we relaxed and caught up. After dinner, my uncle took us to his chiropractic clinic which is also complete with a Kung Fu studio where we got to sit in on one of his classes….totally cool!
The next day, we took a trip down to Saltcoats which is a little town on the coast. When I was younger, my Grandad used to take my brother, sister, and I there so it brought back good memories to walk around.
Afterwards, we went out to a very cute bakery/restaurant where we had a wonderful lunch. It included a black cherry shortbread dessert that Ryan is still talking about to this day. On the way home, we stopped by the grocery store to pick up some ingredients for dinner. I had been looking forward to cooking for Gran and Uncle Barry and was planning to make Thai Pineapple Curry which is our favorite. This was the first time in almost a year that were in a place where we could read all of the signs and food labels – it was amazing!! They also had all kinds of goodies that we can’t get in Korea so it was great to explore a little bit and soak in the familiar language and flavors. We made dinner that night and hung out which was a ton of fun.
The next day, we took a trip to Glasgow and spent some time walking around the city. We went to a Glasgow Cathedral (formerly called St. Mungo’s Cathedral), hiked up to the old cemetery on the hill behind it (called Glasgow Necropolis), and saw the oldest house in Glasgow (Provand’s Lordship) which was built in 1471. We also stopped for our first British pub meal – fish & chips, haggis, and cask ale. It was really delicious!
On the way home, we stopped by this huge wind farm: Whitelee Wind Farm. We really enjoyed looking around the museum (I even got to hold an owl!) and looking at the wind turbines…very cool, particularly for two engineers.
We had another great dinner cooked by my Gran and talked about our family history which is always interesting. Naturally, I am a descendant of royalty way back when which is pretty cool. The next couple of days, we went up to the Scottish Highlands. On our last night in Scotland, my Uncle Barry took us out for a really delicious dinner. He asked us what our favorite part of our visit was and I told him it was vising with them – my Gran and Uncle Barry – and I meant it! It was truly great to get to spend time with them because I haven’t seen them nearly as much as I would have liked in the past. It was a wonderful visit to Scotland and we can’t wait to go back to visit them again.