After saying goodbye to Joni, we take a trip with our friends Leigh, Muppet and Nicolette around the Scottish countryside, visiting Loch Ness and the picturesque Isle of Skye.
Amanda spends the week with her mother, Jenny. They catch up with an old relative, revisit Jenny’s old home, stay in an old Lord’s summer home, visit an old castle and crash an old car.
Also, Amanda gets bitten by the gambling bug.
One of the delights of travel is constantly having enjoyable things on the horizon to look forward to, but this weekend gone was going to be extremely special because we would be staying in Edinburgh with a group of old friends from Melbourne. Not only that but we’d be hooking up, via complicated internet magic, with many of our friends in Melbourne for a reunion/trivia night.
Nicolette had organised a four bedroom apartment in the middle of the city for us all to stay in and so we arrived, by car, bus and plane and were very happy to see each other. Luke and I have been traveling since March and so, while we’ve been busy and on the move, it was lovely to be surrounded by people we knew and talk about familiar things and experiences. If we’d been homesick this event would’ve been just what a doctor would have ordered.
So, after a few drinks and some catching up we all got to bed at a reasonable time in order to be up at 9am to get everything ready. Our plans were somewhat amended by the hotel fire alarm going off at 8:40. At least it wasn’t 4am, I suppose. We all got dressed and I found my earplugs before going downstairs to see if there was an actual emergency. There didn’t seem to be – just a bunch of the teenage staff and cranky-looking guests standing around. The fire department showed up eventually, turned it all off and sorted it out, well in time for us to get the link happening and get comfy.
Our friends had gathered at a pub in Melbourne and set up a screen so we were visible to everyone. We couldn’t really see who was in the room unless they came up to the camera on the laptop but lots of people did come up to wave and say hello. Although we were a bit rushed at the beginning we sorted out how we were going to answer the questions and it all went surprisingly smoothly, for a first ever attempt at multi-hemisphere pub trivia. We were all very impressed at Anth’s efforts in organising and co-ordinating the whole event – thanks Anth! We had a great deal of fun and it certainly looked as though everyone at the other end was too – and of course it was great to see Jen and Kupp at their ends as well. Kupp even managed to help us with some of the answers thanks to Sledge holding up the ‘famous faces’ sheet.
After we disconnected we partied on into the evening, talking about all of our adventures and catching up on news from home. Luke and I went to bed at about 11pm, surprisingly exhausted considering all we’d done all day was sit around.
The next morning I was out of bed early and cleaned up the kitchen before taking orders from everyone for coffee and going to a nearby cafe. It’s important, when checking out of a hotel, to make sure everyone has energy ;-). We decamped to the flat Nikki and Leigh were minding for a friend – a one bedroom apartment that, while lovely, was barely big enough for 6 people. That was ok though, mostly people only had energy for lying around or napping. I did some op shopping in the afternoon then we made plans for the next few days. Joni was heading to a conference in Newcastle but the rest of us decided that, with wonderful weather on the radar, a road trip to Skye was in order, so the next morning we packed Van Failen and off we went!