Friday, December 7, 2012

SnowyColdDark Days

Apparently, 'SnowyColdDark' can be all one word and it is a must that they all go together when you are describing Aberdeen... or at least for this past week. Again, not complaining... Not ready to go back to the heat!

Anyway, not much has been going in Aberdeen recently, except a whole bunch of random things. So here's to a pretty random blog post:

1.) Its. Been. Cold. Pretty much every morning the weather has "felt like" 15 degrees and it hasn't gone above 36 degrees. We have had snow on the ground since Tuesday night, and in some parts of Aberdeen, Saturday night. Unfortunately, since we live in the city, it doesn't stick as much as in the country. I did my first drive in the snow, and I am still deciding if it is easier or harder than driving in the rain. I am still so nervous to drive after my issue last week, so I have been walking to the gym. The sidewalks are very icy, but I have yet to slip on my behind.
2.) I will not dwell because I am having a hard time letting go, but our friends Tanvi and Ram are leaving us in a few weeks. They are my fellow Coog friends and will be moving on to Dubai. We had a "leaving do" (aka going away party) for them last weekend. It was super fun!

3.) The darkness is really difficult but we only have about 13 more days until the daylight begins to increase. Come on Decemeber 21st!!
By looking at this pic, you would think it is about 5pm or 6pm. Nope, this is 2pm.
4.) We are going on a ski trip with our Aberdeen friends in early March and we finally put down our deposit and booked our flights. Morzine, here we come!
Source of photo:
5.) Luke and I are still on the fence about what to do over the New Year holiday. He was in London for a few days this week and we havent had any time to sit down and actually finalize the plans. Paris? Versailles? Orleans? Brussels? Antwerp? Bruges? I'll take all six please!
Bruges, Belgium
Source of photo: 
Paris, France
Source of photo:
6.) Its Christmas time and various things have been going on lately to get everyone in the spirit...
a.)  Union Street has lights above the street that are only on when it is dark - well that is for 17 hours of the day, I guess.
b.) AWA had a Christmas Luncheon on Wednesday. Yummy food and great company!
c.) At the luncheon, Laine won a snowman decoration that gets passed to someone new each year. She would not allow it in her home, so I took it! Luke and I have not decorated and do not plan to decorate for Christmas. So I thought it would fun to bring him home as our one decoration. Look at Luke's face when he saw Stanley in our home.
Stanley has special powers. When Luke is at work, he reports to me about whether or not Luke is being nice to me. And then moves to a different location in the house so he can always have an eye on Luke. Apparently, Luke told him not to be a snitch, but I am Stanley's boss, so he only listens to me.

Like I said, not much has been going on but walking in the cold which ends up being sweating in the cold from walking so fast and up small hills. The winter has only started, and we have been told that we are expecting a bad winter. Im not sure if that means icy or snowy or windy or all of the above. Good luck to us!

A 100-bulb strand of Christmas lights costs $50, and you cannot connect them. Eeeekkkk!!!


P.S. I was too lazy to proofread this blog, so I apologize for any mistakes!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Hiking Fool

After spending weeks writing blogs about our Bavaria trip, I am slightly behind in blogging about what has been going on in my life since then. So here is a little bit of an update:

Actual date of this event: 10 November

Hike @ Scolty Hill
Click here for route details
Temperature: approx 42 degree Fahrenheit
Distance: 2 miles

This was a hike that I had heard about from my friends and I had been wanting to do. It is not too far from Aberdeen, about a 30 min drive west, and it's short but uphill. Luke was a little hungover that day but the sun was out and with the decreasing daylight hours, I convinced him to go out with me.

There are only a few large hills in Aberdeenshire and Scotly Hill is one of them. We hiked through some woods before we started the ascent up the hill. Once we reached the top, we were welcomed by a stone tower. The views at the top of the hill were beautiful and climbing the tower allowed you to get just a few feet higher for even better views.

The sun had disappeared on us once as we reached the top, so it was pretty cold and windy and sprinkles were dropping on our heads, but our main focus was the scenery. Luke and I found different rocks around the top of the the hill to sit on so we could enjoy the view. After taking it all in for a few minutes, we made our way back down. In the end, Luke was glad that he went with me which makes the whole trip even better! Later than night, we found out that four of our friends actually did the same hike that day. What a coincidence!

Actual date of this event: 15 November

Hike @ Loch Muick
Click here for route details
Temperature: approx 38 degrees Fahrenheit
Distance: 7.75 miles

This was my second AWA Explorers hike. I had missed some amazing hikes with the group while my folks visited and during our trip, so I was glad to be back in the game! I had already done Loch Muick once before but I didn't mind since it is such a gorgeous hike as you circle around the Loch the whole time. When the sun is out, it is amazing!

At the start of the hike, we were greeted by a few fellows who walked right up to us. It was so sweet! If there wasn't a fence between us, I am sure one of us would have attempted to ride.
Even though the sun was out, the trail is right up against the mountains, so we walked in shade for most of the time. It was a very windy day which made it feels colder than it was. Luckily, we are always prepared with layers to stay warm. We finished the hike in a pretty good time since we were walking pretty fast. Another great day at Loch Muick!

Actual day of this event: 24 November

Hike @ Forvie Sands
Click here for route details
Temperature: 36 degrees Fahrenheit
Distance 8 miles

This was a girls day! Jillian, Laine and I were left alone for the day since the boys made a road trip to Newcastle to pick up a new vehicle for Ryan. Since it was a pretty day and daylight is down to 7 hours a day, we knew we had to get out and hike!

Most of the hikes we do are west of Aberdeen, so we decided on a route north of the city along the coast. The hike followed a path through some grassy sand dunes and then eventually met up with the North Sea. I really enjoyed this hike! Parts of it felt like you were walking through the dessert (even though it was very cold), and then it was so peaceful looking out at the sea. We found a few beach areas that would have been perfect to hang out at in warmer weather. We took an extra path that took us to the bay where we saw a few seals bobbing up and down in the water. I can't wait to hike this one again!

Actual day of this event: 29 November

Hike @ Seven Bridges
Click here for route details
Temperature: 31 degreed Fahrenheit
Distance: 7 miles

I was originally supposed to hike with the AWA Explorers group this day, but there was a hard freeze warning for the morning, so the group leader canceled the hike. Instead of sitting around on a cold but beautiful day, Tanvi, Laine, Jill and I decided to go on our own hike. We decided to head west, driving along a popular road in hopes that it would be salted. We also left a little bit later than we would have for the Explorers hike just to make sure the conditions would be safe for us. It all worked out just fine on the drive to the hike but not so much for me prior to meeting the girls. On the way into Tanvi's neighborhood, I turned onto some black ice and slid into the curb. There was a small scrape on the rim, but I was so nervous that I would have a flat tire. And when I parked in front of Tanvi's house, I slid a little again. And getting out of the vehicle, I was sliding while walking. This put me on edge for the whole drive to our hike. I didn't have a flat tire when we came back, and we drove just fine. But I am now very nervous to drive for the winter!

Back to the hike... this hike is called Seven Bridges because you cross seven different bridges along the way. The path followed the River Dee and crossed over it a few different times. Hills surrounded us as we walked with the sun giving us a teeny bit of warmth. About halfway through, we came upon a herd of highland coos, so I finally got my first pictures of the furry animals! They aren't best pictures, but that is what I get for not bringing the "good" camera with me. We also went about a kilometer out of the way to see Knock Castle up on a small hill. At the end of the hike, we actually passed right by the entrance to Loch Muick. To reward ourselves for a long hike in the cold, we stopped for some Swiss Hot Chocolate in Banchory. So yummy!!!

The hot chocolate above is made by 1.) coating the inside of the glass with melted swiss chocolate, 2.) filling the glass with milk, 3.) placing a chocolate disc on the top, and 4.) stirring the disc into the milk. The BEST hot chocolate I have ever had!! Andy Buisson needs to makes these in Crested Butte :-)

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