HAGGiS Adventures Compass Buster Tour: Day 3 – Beachcombing

After meeting some hairy coos and visiting St. Clement’s church to start Day 3 of our Compass Buster Tour, we were off for a wee walk and beachcombing adventure!

Northton would be our next stop with some amazing beach views you wouldn’t expect to see in Scotland.

Our walking route can be found here, for anybody who is looking to explore a different side of Scotland.

We were really excited to be walking through the moors of Harris. The landscape was glorious and as the above website explains, it was created by sand being blown over the peat. It is a rather unique grassland habitat housing many species of birds and beautiful flowers in the summer!

We didn’t get to see any birds but we did catch a glimpse of some wild flowers! The landscape never fails to amaze us. The grandeur of the Scotland hillsides was amazing as expected.

Our ultimate destination at the end of this trail would be the ruins of a medieval chapel on the headland. But before we reached the ruins, we would wander around 3 beautiful beaches.

After exploring Ireland, I shouldn’t have been surprised at seeing amazing beaches yet again. Obviously having endless coastlines means that there are going to be some pretty spectacular beaches to be found!

The first beach we saw featured amazing turquoise waters, similar to what we had seen at Port Stoth beach. We didn’t get a chance to get close to the water here, but Greg assured us there would be more sightseeing ahead.

The second beach we encountered was Traigh na Cleabhaig. Going through another gate we came along and saw this gorgeous view!

If we had more time, we surely would have stayed much longer and explored each and every beach! But time was limited and we had to walk on.

Along the way, we found more of our hairy coo friends! 🐮 We always get excited when we see Hairy Coo and this was not an exception 😋.

Finally, we reached our destination. The beach at Northton.

Once we reached this third beach, we all sat down to eat our picnic lunch. Before we set out at the start of today, we had stopped and grabbed a quick lunch so we were all well equipped to enjoy the scenery before us!

More than one of our tour mates will recall “The notorious beach incident of 2015.” HA! We won’t relive it here but, let’s just say that the guys and the gals got different views of the beach while eating lunch. Hahaha! This misunderstanding was cleared up in the end and we all had a good laugh over it! Definitely good times!

Below was our view of the beach!

After finishing our lunch we started our hike up to the Rubh’ an Teampuill headland and the Medieval Chapel there.

The Chapel was built on a prehistoric settlement mound and dates back to the 15th century

There is an eroding prehistoric settlement mound, which produced evidence from the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Beaker, and Bronze Age periods. A little further along the shore, on the headland of Rubh’ an Teampuill, are the ruins of a small late medieval chapel. A closer look indicates that next to the chapel are the footings of an Iron Age broch, which probably supplied the source of building stone for the chapel. – Visit Outer Hebrides

Apparently there was once even a stone wall surrounding the area! The area also seems to have been inhabited many times during the previous centuries, even perhaps having a broch present at one time. Burials date back almost

9,000 years ! That’s pretty darned amazing!

The chapel has had work done in order to save it from total collapse. This is good news for travellers like ourselves, as we get to experience another ancient part of Scotland’s history.

On the other side of the Chapel, we found a glorious rocky outcropping! It was very epic with the waves crashing against the rocks!

And also a very good spot for some epic pictures with the landscape.

We also made some more animal friends who seemed to enjoy grazing so close to the water.

After exploring the Northton Chapel and its surroundings, Greg led us back to our Yellow Bus and we headed towards Tarbert, the main community on the Isle of Harris, where we would be boarding the ferry to Uig and the Isle of Skye!

When we reached Tarbert, what was the first thing we saw as we drove into the town? HARRIS TWEED, OF COURSE!

We couldn’t wait to get out of the bus and go explore the tweed shops. Harris tweed sold on the Isle of Harris is obviously authentic! This is a brief history of Harris Tweed:

From time immemorial, the inhabitants of the Outer Hebrides of Scotland have woven a beautiful and intricate cloth the world knows simply as Harris Tweed.

The islanders of Lewis, Harris, Uist and Barra produce this luxury cloth entirely by hand and have long been known for the excellence of their weaving. However up until the middle of the nineteenth century, their cloth was used only on their crofts or sold at local markets, but in 1846, Lady Dunmore, widow of the landowner of Harris, the Earl of Dunmore, chose to have their clan tartan replicated by Harris weavers in tweed.

The results proved so successful that Lady Dunmore began to devote much time and effort to marketing the tweed to her wealthy friends further afield and as a result of her enthusiastic work, sales and trade of the island cloth were soon established with merchants across the country. – Harris Tweed Authority  

If you want to read a bit more about the background of Harris Tweed, you can do so here and here.

We obviously thought we needed a souvenir (or two) from the Harris Tweed shop! We got ourselves some oh-so-lovely wallets and matching coin purses ❤. We really had to stop ourselves from getting more, but that just means we will have to return again and get many more items to remember Harris by!

Soon after, we headed down to the pier and watched the ferry pull in. We piled onto the ferry and headed towards our lodgings for the night in Portree!

Stay tuned for a look at our first Haggis dinner and more of Portree!

From Vancouver with Love,

Ioana and Natalie

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HAGGiS Adventures Compass Buster Tour: Day 3 – Coo’s, Seals and Historic St. Clement’s Church

We left Stornoway on Day 3 of our Compass Buster tour and boarded our Wild and Sexy yellow bus, headed leisurely towards our destination for tonight – Portree, the largest town on the Isle of Skye! We were excited because this meant more adventures and exploring, of course.

Day 3 started with more epic skyscapes! You could literally be driving anywhere in Scotland and mother nature will treat you to a beautiful landscape.

We actually stopped by the site to take some pictures because of the particular beauty of the clouds and the rays of sun beaming through. It was a somber scene, because of the cemetery, but it was made even more epic because of the clouds above!

After getting back on the bus, Greg told us we’d see a number of different sites that day including a few beaches- which we would be surprised were located in Scotland, and a historic church, before heading to Portree and finishing our night there.

We were literally just back onto the road when Greg SLAMMED the brakes on our yellow bus and we thought perhaps we had hit something!!!

Little did we know we had finally come upon some of Scotland’s most majestic creatures (after the unicorn, of course!): the Hairy Coo! (Or also known as the Highland cow, Heilan’ coo or just… coo)

Just look at the stylish hairstyles these coos’ have! Adorable!

A little backstory on these Highland Cattle:

They seem to have originated in Scotland and are mentioned as far back as the 6th century. They are certainly in no danger of extinction!

“They are a hardy breed due to their native environment, the Highlands of Scotland. This results in long hair, giving the breed its ability to overwinter.”

As you can see below, we were more than a little excited to find some Hairy Coo!

After this, we would constantly be searching for Hairy Coo wherever we went! We fell in love with them!

Sidenote: we even went as far as searching for a hairy coo back at home! And voilà – here we are meeting a new friend at a farm about 20 minutes away from us. A little piece of Scotland in the suburbs of Vancouver!

The landscape and clouds continued to be amazing, matching our shadowy Hairy Coo on the cliffs.

Just look at that light glowing on that small loch. Mesmerizing! Somebody take me back to Scotland right now!

As we drove on, we continued our animal spotting and actually came across some geese…

And then we had to actually stop the bus because we found SEALS! Take a look at all those little heads bobbing in and out of the water greeting us. We took way too many pictures to count, even though we had seen seals on our trip already…

Leaving our new animal friends behind, we made our way to one of our main destinations for the day: St. Clement’s Church on the Isle of Harris.

St. Clement’s Church is very well preserved and built around the 1520’s, named after Pope Clement.

“The church was built using local Lewisian gneiss rock. Its ground plan is cruciform and there is a tower at the west end, accessible through a door at the west end of the nave and a set of stone staircases and wooden ladders.” – Wikipedia

The church was supposedly built for the Chiefs of the MacLeods of Harris, probably around 1520. Above is a photo illustrating the wall tomb that Alasdair Croatach MacLeod built for himself in 1528.

It is rather eerie how the shadow of the body still looks so present in the space!

The art work is exquisite and very well preserved.

The church had many uses throughout the centuries, from supposedly being a monastery to being used as a cow byre.

The 9th chief’s son William built his grave on the south wall of the church, while the 10th chief built a third grave in the south transept.

The graveyard which surrounds the church contains a number of MacLeod tombs.

It was in 1873 that the Countess of Dunmore restored the church and in 1907 the tower was rebuilt after being struck by lightning!

Here’s how it looks today – standing fast in the Scottish landscape.

The church was truly different than what we had seen before. It is currently under the care of Historic Scotland. For more information on visiting St. Clement’s Church, check out their website here.

The Isle of Harris was already proving eventful! The scenery was much, much different than on the Isle of Skye and we also came across some Harris Tweed which we will comment on in a future post!

Next up is some beach combing!

Stay tuned!

From Vancouver with Love,

Ioana and Natalie

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HAGGiS Adventures Compass Buster Tour: Day 2 – Stornoway and Lews Castle

After exploring Dun Carloway Broch and the Callanish Stones, we got back to Stornoway in the late afternoon so we could enjoy the city and do a little bit of exploring!

Greg told us that if we wanted, we could take a hike up to Lews Castle and explore its grounds. We decided this was the best option and once we cleaned up, we were on our way.

It was a beautiful walk up to the castle! We had to go through a forest of trees that seemed very mystical, a usual occurrence in Scotland!

Lews Castle was built in the years 1844-51 as a country house for Sir James Matheson. It is a Victorian style castle, as you can see below.

“In 1918, the Lewis estate including the castle was bought by industrialist Lord Leverhulme from the Matheson family. He gave the castle to the people of Stornoway parish in 1923.” – Wikipedia

The Lews Castle website tells us that the early history of the grounds date back to 1680 when Seaforth Lodge was built as a summer home for Lord Seaforth.

The castle has an extensive history having been passed down through the decades. It went from being held by the Stornoway Trust as a public building, to a hospital in World War II, to being a college to being completely vacated and unused by 2002.

By 2012, funding had been secured to restore the castle, with work commencing in 2013. Whilst we were in Stornoway in 2015, the building was unfortunately still closed for restoration, so we did not have the chance to take a peek inside. Lews Castle, along with the new museum and archive, reopened in July 2016 to visitors.

The castle grounds are quite extensive – at around 10 acres. We were literally exploring all the hidden pathways and trails while coming across beautiful views and fascinating statues! You would come to a clearing and see a view like this – looking out over the waters.

While exploring, we also came across a wonderful memorial built in honour of James Matheson by his wife. The poppies on the pillars allude to his success and profits from the opium industry. It is beautifully sculpted, although missing certain parts due to age.

As we walked down and towards the harbour, we noticed the beautiful views of Stornoway that we had also seen from above.

Stornoway was originally founded by the Vikings in the early 9th century!

“This town, and what eventually became its present-day version, grew up around a sheltered natural harbour well placed at a central point on the island, for the convenience of people from all over the island.” – Wikipedia

“At some point in the mid 1500s, the already ancient MacLeod castle in Stornoway ‘fell victim to the cannons of the Duke of Argyle’.”

It was as early as the 1600’s that Stornoway became a centre for trade because of its port location.

Today, the harbour still hosts a fishing fleet, although obviously not as large as in the past!

Our walk along the harbour and later around the city was lovely! We literally sat by the harbour and soaked in the September Scottish sunshine, whilst looking out at the beautiful water.

Stornoway is a wonderful little town full of winding streets and quaint stores. We were lucky that we got an afternoon to actually explore and enjoy it.

We definitely recommend staying in Stornoway if you are planning to travel around the Isle of Lewis. It is central and you are surrounded by amenities!

After we finished our walk, we headed back to our hostel for dinner. We had a pizza night with our entire group! What a lovely evening we had chatting with our group mates and getting to know each other. There also may or may not have been some ruthless card games with beverages on the line! All in all, it was a great way to cap off a wonderful Day 2!

What’s in store for Day 3? We’re excited just writing about it! Are you ready to be amazed by the faerie pools?! And get ready to meet some new and fashionably hairy friends! Brace yourselves for our next post!

Stay tuned!

From Vancouver with Love,

Ioana and Natalie

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HAGGiS Adventures Compass Buster Tour: Day 2 – Callanish Standing Stones

And we’ve finally reached my favourite part of Day 2 of our Compass Buster Tour: The Callanish Standing Stones <3.

After finishing with Dun Carloway Broch, Greg told us we’d finally be making our way to the standing stones! If you’ve been keeping up with the blog, you’ll know that we did come across some standing stones at Blarney Castle in Ireland. Since then, I had been more than a little excited to get to Scotland and see these standing stones up close!

Again, as you may know, we have been searching for Jamie Fraser…yes, yes we tried again here. Obviously and sadly, it didn’t work but it was a lot of fun!

From the moment we stepped out of the bus, I knew this place would be magical! Just look at that view as we approached the site:

It’s not often you get to see a procession of standing stones so greatly preserved!

“The Callanish Stones (“Callanish I”) are an arrangement of standing stones placed in a cruciform pattern with a central stone circle. They were erected in the late Neolithic era.”

They are near the village of Callanish on the west coast of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

It was a great feat for the people who lived near the site to be able to build it over 4,000 years ago. The stones were supposedly moved with rollers, wooden frames and brute strength. This cost them a lot of time and effort, to be sure!

It is still a mystery as to why these stones were built. This is obviously not the first and only site to have standing stones. During the Neolithic period, many communities across north-west Europe constructed these monuments!

It is most likely they were built for worship or religious reasons. Another common finding is that they may have been built according to astronomical events such as the midwinter sunrise and sunset.

It’s so exciting to still be able to see these standing stones and to speculate as to what the site was constructed for and what the stones mean!

As noted above, this particular site is built in a cruciform pattern. Inside the circle is a stone burial cairn. Supposedly, the cremated bodies were despoiled with pots and beakers which dates to between 2000 to 1700 BC.

“The Callanish Stones consist of a stone circle of thirteen stones with a monolith near the middle. Five rows of standing stones connect to this circle. Two long rows of stones running almost parallel to each other from the stone circle to the north-northeast form a kind of avenue. In addition, there are shorter rows of stones to the west-southwest, south and east-northeast. The stones are all of the same rock type, namely the local Lewisian gneiss. Within the stone circle is a chambered tomb to the east of the central stone.”

Perhaps, the site being used for ritualistic purposes is the most realistic explanation for the stones after all.

Of course between the two of us, our imaginations got away with us again and took us on a hopeful journey towards finding Jamie Fraser. We tried several stones which we thought might work to transport us back in time, but alas, it didn’t exactly work.

Searching for Jamie was getting tiring! We tried several stones that called to us but no Jamie resulted :(.

That being said, it was amazing to be able to touch these stones, which had been erected by people thousands of years ago and it was even more incredible to be able to stand on the same land they had stood on, but for obviously very different reasons!

It was such a pleasant day out and our Irish Rainbow luck still hadn’t evaporated! We took the opportunity to fool around a bit and take some epic photos for our collection :).

Today, the stones, as with Dun Carloway Broch, are managed by Historic Scotland.

Perhaps the Historic Scotland website has the best way to explain the stones:

“This is a story with no ending. Against the backdrop of their 5000 years, the stones have witnessed countless changes in the people and the landscape around them. The story tells about developing landscape, the evolving environment, a land of circles, stones, archaeology and conservation along with many other topics.”

The site was so peaceful, with so very few tourists buzzing about, I am very grateful Greg let us stay and absorb the power of the stones for so long! He basically told us to ponder our lives within these surroundings :P.

And ponder we did. I literally sat there in the quiet landscape listening to the wind and looking at the stones and the sky and the surrounding lochs, not wanting to leave!!!

It’s true when they say Scotland is magical. It’s just a feeling you get when you are out and about viewing the natural and ancient landscape!

We unfortunately had to leave our lovely Callanish I stones and move on to the Callanish II and III, which were not quite as extensive as Callanish I, but made supposedly with the same purpose in mind.

Callanish II and III are located not too far away from the main stones site and comprise of similar stone rings. Callanish II, which was dug out of the peat in 1858, is in the shape of an eclipse, while Callanish III consisted of two concentric eclipses.

It was rather difficult to get to the Callanish III site as it was extremely muddy and not as touristy as the main Callanish site. Nevertheless, we were in Scotland! Which meant we must adventure and explore as much as we could! It was still worth it to get pictures like the ones below!

All in all, this was a definite experience. I don’t want to say once in a lifetime, because I know I will go back again! If you travel to the Outer Hebrides and to the Isle of Lewis, you MUST visit the Callanish Stones. Information on visiting this amazing site can be found here.

This is not a site to be excluded from your Scotland trip! And don’t just spend 5 minutes, take a photograph and leave! Make sure to allot enough time for you to take in the standing stones, explore the area and take some time to reflect and think – as was recommended to us! We think it would be an amazing place to experience a sunrise or a sunset – the rays of light dancing between the stones. Or even to spot the Northern Lights here, with the Callanish stones as a backdrop? Amazing! We’ll definitely have to come back for another visit!

This was one of our favourite sites and is likely to be one of yours as well!!!

We end day 2 with a little evening stroll around Stornoway!

Stay tuned for more on that coming soon!

From Vancouver with Love,

Ioana and Natalie

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HAGGiS Adventures Compass Buster Tour: Day 2 – Dun Carloway Broch

After visiting the Trussel Stone and the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village, the next stop on Day 2 of our Compass Buster tour would be Dun Carloway Broch. It already seemed like we had seen so much!

Dun Carloway, or in Scots Gaelic Dùn Chàrlabhaigh, was my second favourite part of the day. It is such a fascinating structure and full of so much history. From the moment we started to climb up towards it, I knew that this was not something I had seen before or would see anywhere else.

As you can see from the sign below, Brochs date back to Roman times! These towers are found only in Scotland – particularly the Northern and Western parts of Scotland and the isles.

It was a bit of a climb up to Dun Carloway Broch – but the views along the way were typically Scottish and of course breath taking. I can’t get over how the patches of sunshine make the landscape look even more glorious than it already is! It really truly is majestic.


Dun Carloway Broch is built on a rock on a steep south-slope at the height of 50 metres. It overlooks Loch Carloway and is the best preserved Broch in the Outer Hebrides. Based on the sign below, it is apparent that such structures date back 2,300 to 1,900 years ago! They most likely housed the principal families living in the region at the time.

Brochs consist of drystone towers formed of two concentric walls, with a narrow passage and small cells. – Historic Environment Scotland

The original height of the broch is not known.

“The double skinned drystone walls support each other and make possible a high building of relatively light weight form.”

It’s interesting to note that we were able to explore the broch up close – we could even climb it :O!



That’s how we managed to get the picture below!

There is much debate as to how the internal structure was laid out. Findings show that:

“Excavation in the northeastern room found at least three peat-ovens used in the period 400-700. In this room were also a lot of pottery remains, as well as a fragment of a quern-stone [to grind materials] and a collection of snail shells. The fireplaces contained no animal bones, which makes a domestic (preparing meals) use of the fires seem unlikely.” – Wikipedia

Supposedly, there were three openings in the structure with different rooms on different levels!

On the south side of the entrance-passage is a so-called “guard cell”, a small side room in the hallway. This is most likely the room pictured below:

The views from the Broch were extraordinary!

And the views of this Iron Age tower aren’t so bad either!

Evidence from excavations suggests Dun Carloway may have been used until about AD 1000. It’s also said to have been used as a stronghold by members of the Morrison Clan during the 1500’s.

The Morrisons of Ness put Dun Carloway into use in 1601:

“The story goes that they had stolen cattle from the MacAuleys of Uig. The MacAuleys wanted their cattle back and found the Morrisons in the broch. One of them, Donald Cam MacAuley, climbed the outer wall using two daggers and managed to smoke-out the inhabitants by throwing heather into the broch and then setting fire to it. The MacAuleys then destroyed the broch.” – Wikipedia


I honestly couldn’t get enough of this landscape! It was so mysterious yet obviously lived in, it’s amazing to think that people inhabited this structure long ago!

Supposedly after the broch was destroyed, the stones were taken for construction of other buildings. It was only in 1882 that it became one of the first officially protected monuments in Scotland, in order to prevent further decay.


Today, the site is owned and protected by Historic Scotland.


If you are in the Outer Hebrides, make sure you put Dun Carloway Broch on your list of places to visit. Information on the location, driving instructions and opening times can be found here. You won’t regret it. Its history and picturesque location make it a must-see!

Now, brace yourselves for the next stop and my favourite part of the day: The Callanish Standing Stones!!!

Stay tuned!

From Vancouver with Love,

Ioana and Natalie

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HAGGiS Adventures Compass Buster Tour: Day 2 – The Trussel Stone and Gearrannan Blackhouse Village

After a wee break for an epic Iceland holiday, we’re back and ready to take you back to our trip to Scotland. We last left off on Day 2 of our Haggis Adventures Compass Buster 10 day tour!

So, we had just visited the Butt of Lewis and Port Stoth beach and there was much, much, much more to see that day! I already felt like I had seen so much.

Our next stop would be a standing stone! For any of you Outlander fans out there, you may remember we tried to find Jamie Fraser in Ireland at Blarney Castle. Seeing as that didn’t work out, we were more than a little excited to actually be in Scotland where the book took place! The chances of finding Jamie were definitely much higher here than in Ireland, right?! 😛

That being said, Greg drove us up to a place where there were literally no tourists and no big signs indicating that this was a tourist site. This is the site of The Trussel Stone (Clach an Trushal) – said to be the tallest standing stone in all of Scotland.

When I first saw it, in the setting it was in, I felt completely transported to another time! It is interesting to see that there are so many of these structures around Scotland. I also found it really impressive – how could they have been raised and still remain standing to this day?!

The stone is located in the village of Ballantrushal on the west side of the Isle of Lewis. It is 5.8 meters tall above ground! It was just our luck that as we got out of the bus to take a closer look, a local gentleman happened to see our bus and came out of his house to talk to us! Again this was so interesting! We got to hear the story of the stone right from a local Scot who had been living on this land his whole life.

Since we were in the land of folklore and magic, I can’t say I am surprised that this fellow had such a halo around him :-P. Trick of the light or does he have a bit of magic to him? You decide, haha!

As you can see from the picture, he was ready for the elements with his wellies and was very passionate in telling us some of the stories associated with the Trussel Stone.

“Local legend says that it marks the site of a great battle, the last to be fought between the feuding clans of the Macaulays and Morrisons”

He also mentioned that there had been a circle of stones that had stood here thousands of years ago. This is the last remaining stone of that circle. It is also known that you can pinpoint many other circles in the region based on the location of this one, which was an interesting fact – meaning maybe all the stone circles were somehow connected in a way?

It has been found that this stone has no direct relation to any solar or lunar lines, nor stellar constellations. You can find more information on these speculations here. That being said and as I mentioned earlier, it is still a good start to Stone Circle searching in the area and it was amazing to ponder how these structures were lifted and engineered so long ago!

As you can see from the pictures, we did try to channel our inner Claire Randall’s and transport ourselves to Jamie Fraser but…nope it didn’t work. Worth a shot though :-P!

After the gentleman had finished telling us his stories and we had gotten enough photos of this gigantic structure, we headed back to our yellow bus and were on our way to our next stop: the Gearrannan Blackhouse Village!

The Gearrannan Blackhouses were part of a crofting township on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides! These homes were inhabited and used for crofting up to the 1970’s!

The Blackhouses are made of stone with thatched roofs, as you can see from the pictures.

“The double drystone walls, the low profile and the insulating thatch made the houses suitable for the Hebridean weather, and they were indeed eco-friendly houses in that all the building materials were natural and found locally.”

It was after the last residents moved out in the late 1970’s that the whole zone was declared a conservation area.

The inside of some of the houses have been conserved to represent what they were used for in the past. It was interesting to how people lived in these blackhouses – what they had in their homes, their peat fires and some of their traditional activities, including the weaving of the famous Harris Tweed!

Today, the village also serves as an area for holiday accommodations! Because of its location, close to the Callanish Standing Stones and Dun Carloway Broch, this is an ideal place to stay to explore the area!

It is open all year round and there are a great number of activities to partake in around the area including, fishing, hiking, cycling, etc. There is a self-catering hostel on site – though they do advise you to bring your own food since there are no shops in the area! You can find more information on accommodations here.

Another benefit of staying here would be the coastal walk! We, unfortunately, didn’t have enough time to do the walk but the view of the beaches and water below were very tempting!!! Again, I can’t express how shocked I was at the beauty of the beaches in both Ireland and Scotland. I honestly didn’t think that this would be one of the main attractions of both countries, but there you go!

 

As we were leaving, we noticed something we had already gotten to know very well in Scotland: PEAT! This house in particular was already getting ready of the winter and had its peat piles ready to go. Again, very self catering and self sufficient.

Our next stop would be spectacular Dun Carloway Broch and the Callanish Standing Stones.

Stay tuned!

From Vancouver with Love,

Ioana and Natalie

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Iceland 2017!

Happy New Year everyone!

We are starting off 2017 with a trip! We are MORE than ready for some exploring and adventures, since it has been a while since our most recent overseas trip to Italy – last year… 2016… (I’m still scribbling out 2016’s or trying to artfully transform the 6 into a 7 😋) And we’ve been diligently saving money and vacation days for this exact purpose!

Our destination for this first trip of 2017?

Iceland!

It does seem like everyone around the world is jumping on the Visit-Iceland-Bandwagon. Even my parents have a trip to Iceland planned for later this year! So we are excited to see for ourselves the wonders of this epic country. We can’t ever resist waterfalls, mountains and gorgeous landscapes!

We got an offer from Icelandair – that includes flights from Seattle into Reykjavik, accommodations and two sightseeing tours. We have also signed up for a couple of other sightseeing tours – to make the most of our time in Iceland and to take in the incredible nature and landscape. I’m also eager to learn more about this country, its history, traditions and customs, its food and how they’ve got this using-renewable-resources bit all sorted out!

I think it’ll be interesting to visit in January and see majestic Iceland in the winter. We are hoping to be able to catch the Aurora Borealis but knowing that it is an unpredictable natural phenomenon and that weather conditions need to be favourable, we are not holding our breath! (We ARE crossing our fingers and hoping for luck to be on our side!)

Seeing Iceland in January will certainly be different compared to a visit in the spring or summer. We would love to return at a different time of the year and take a road trip around Iceland on the Ring Road. It would give us an opportunity to explore other parts of the country on our own time and perhaps take a path less traveled!

Another thing on my bucket list for a return visit? Snorkeling and seeing the Sifra fissure – where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates are drifting apart slowly every single year. It would be amazing to see this incredible underwater world and to learn more about this geological process! Besides, how else can I say I’ve swam between 2 continents?

Sidenote: Who else does this? Planning a return trip when you haven’t even gone on your first visit yet? 

Well, we will be off to Seattle bright and early tomorrow to catch our Icelandair flight to Keflavik Airport. Follow along on our adventures on Instagram! If you have any recommendations of places to see and restaurants or cafes to eat at in Reykjavik, drop us a line!

From Vancouver with Love,

Ioana and Natalie

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