The day broke clear and sunny this morning. The high temperature was forecast at 12°C/54°F with winds of 7 mph (Windchill at 11°C/51°F). I think spring might have finally found Scotland. The forecast is the same for tomorrow.
After that, however, colder temperatures and rain are forecast for the next five days. Our three weeks in Aberdeen has passed quickly and we leave for Edinburgh Thursday morning—it’s about a four-hour trip by bus and costs £33 GBP.
We’ve enjoyed the Grey City of Aberdeen with its grey granite buildings and gloomy skies but after three weeks we both feel like it’s time to move on. Two to three weeks in a place is usually about right—it gives us plenty of time to settle in and really explore our surroundings without the anxiety of trying to see and do everything in just a few days. We make friends with the hotel staff and manage to find a favourite restaurant or two. But we also enjoy hunkering down longterm in beautiful locations like Playa Samara in Costa Rica where we beach-bummed for almost three months.
Seeing the sun this morning reminded me of our days laying on tropical beaches in Latin America (Mexico, Cuba, Central & South America). As we move steadily eastward we will eventually be back in Asia where we will probably start bitching about the heat and humidity. Such is the human condition, we’re never completely satisfied with what we have until we lose it. It was with those thoughts in mind that we headed to Aberdeen Beach this morning (about a fifteen minute walk from our hotel). However, the North Sea is not the Pacific and the beaches of Scotland are not the white sand stretches you find in Mexico.
Joel and I were both born and raised in sunny San Diego, CA and we know our beaches. We also spent 2½ years living in Yucatan, MX and there are some mighty fine beaches to be found there too. Great beaches can also be found throughout Central and South America as well as Southeast Asia (especially Thailand and Vietnam). The beaches in Ireland and Scotland are not those beaches—though they can be dramatic they are usually very cold and strewn with rocks. I don’t even think about entering the water anymore unless the water temperature is 28°C/82°F or warmer. Call me any name you like.
On the way to Aberdeen Beach we passed by our favourite restaurant, Siam Cottage, which serves GREAT Thai food. The prices are reasonable (but not cheap) and the staff is friendly and helpful. We’ve been there so many times they all know us by sight and seem truly happy each and every time we show up—maybe it’s because we’ve been pretty generous tippers (it certainly can’t be our winning personalities or youthful good looks). Our other go-to place is Old Blackfriars—the food isn’t as good as Siam Cottage but the price is right at 2 meals for £11.95 GBP or about £6 GBP pp.
Joel was on a mission: to find some Sea Glass for Holly. Sea Glass is real glass (pieces of old bottles, glassware and ceramics) that has been tumbled in the ocean for at least 30 to 40 years (and sometimes for over 100 years). The long time spent in the ocean produces a very smooth stone of glass with a frosted appearance. Neither one of us had seen, or even heard of, Sea Glass before so Joel had to look it up on Google. Incredibly he actually found a piece after we had been beach combing for about thirty minutes—a small pale green frosted orb (it was actually very pretty).
It got so warm roaming the beach we had to strip off our parkas and put on our sunglasses—I even rolled the sleeves up on my shirt. I never thought I would be warm, in shirtsleeves, in 54°F weather but everything is relative. After the rain, sleet and snow met in Iceland, the Irish Republic, Northern Ireland and Scotland a little sun really thawed us out. The breeze was brisk and refreshing but not freezing and the ocean air smelled great. With its rocks and debris the beach itself isn’t beautiful but it’s the ocean nonetheless. There were also a lot of ships and boats offshore waiting to get into Aberdeen Harbour.
There is a large walkway they call the Esplanade that parallels the beach and lots of folks were out strolling on this beautiful Sunday morning—oftentimes with their dogs (which we love of course). It felt so good to be oot & aboot that a couple of hours passed before we knew it. On the way back to our hotel we passed an amusement park with carnival rides and a miniature golf course but it didn’t look too crowded. Maybe more folks show up later in the afternoon or evening hours. The sun disappeared behind some clouds, the temperature dropped and we once again donned our parkas.
Field Notes: All photos on this page were taken with my Canon EOS 5D Mark IV DSLR and EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM ultra wide-angle zoom lens. It’s quickly becoming my favourite walk-around-town lens and I like it even better than my EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM wide-angle zoom lens. When I had my Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR my favourite walk around lens was my EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens—with the 16-35mm I’m giving up some reach but I love the wider perspective that 16mm affords on a full-frame sensor camera body like the 5D Mark IV. SFD