Monday, July 30, 2018

Scrapbook Retreat was a treat

This past weekend I did something I've never done. I attended a scrapbooking retreat in Lakewood Wa. This group called Scrap Gals put it on and I wasn't really sure what to expect. Turns out it was exhausting and an absolute blast!

The two women who put it on Tracie and Tiffany, are the two who started the ScrapGals several years ago. Their following is large and they are scrapbooking celebs. I was so excited to meet them both and they did not disappoint.


Bright and early, ok not so early, on Friday morning I was packed and ready to go. I laughed out loud when I realized that my scrapping bag was larger than my suitcase. And let's not forget the wine. I posted that photo on the retreat FB page and I was from then on known as "The Wine Lady". I kid you not. Soooo many people mentioned the wine to me and just called me the Wine lady.



The retreat started Friday by my picking up my scrapping pal Anandi. It was hot and the traffic to get to Lakewood was no joke. At one point we put the top up because it was just too damn hot sitting in traffic.


We hit Lakewood around 4, I think. Checked in and refreshed ourselves before going down to find the room. They had just opened it and we found our spots right up front in the classroom. I wasn't expecting there to be as many ladies here and boy was I surprised. There were 80 women. The room was packed.


Friday night was pizza night, time to set up your space and just hang out a bit. There were several free give aways throughout the weekend and the first was on Friday night. Side note, the amount of free stuff we got on this retreat was ridiculous. Totally worth the $$ to attend.

Saturday Anandi and I were up and to Starbucks to get ourselves the needed caffeine to get through the day. We had two classes and a bunch of free scrap time.

Anandi had two friends from Sacramento come up too. These two ladies were SOoo much fun. They sat right behind us and another of her friends at just next to us. All three of them had me in stitches the entire weekend.


I should mention that prior to the retreat the instructors provided us a list of photos that we should bring to use during the classes. That exercise was ridiculously complicated for me. Still I had my photos and I was ready to go. So I thought...

Our first class was from a ScrapGal named Paige. Her style and my style are not the same. The papers and embellishments we got for her class are nice, but I'm not sure I'll use them all. We'll see.

Paige and one of her designs.

After her class was lunch and then some free scrap time. I was looking forward to the free scrap time so I could get through all my Ireland photos. I staged the remaining photos and had about 25 pages to work on. I was ready to make a dent.

Later that night was our second class, Crafty Girl put on by Tracie. This was my second favorite class. It was all about scrapbooking about your hobby of scrapbooking. Hah. I found it rather ironic that we rarely, if ever, scrapbook about scrapbooking. Finally a collection of papers and what not to do just that. This class got me a bit our of my comfort zone and we had to stamp a bunch of things on a page. A list of what we love about scrapbooking. For a first time stamper I think I did OK.



After this class, I was done. I was exhausted. I did not anticipate how tired this would be. Truthfully it was a couple of reasons that I was so tired. The first is the AC wasn't working too well in the front of the class. It was toasty. I think I was sweating from the first moment I sat down until we left. On top of that, I wasn't used to sitting in the same chair for 12 straight hours. Yes I got up every now and then, but still...a lot of sitting. You'd think with all the padding on my a$$ I wouldn't have a problem. I guess not.

Sunday morning, again, off to Starbucks.

Sunday morning was the one class where the photos really threw me. It was learning how to do a Traveler Notebook (the new rage) about me. This entire class really triggered something in me. In the telling of my story.

Tiffany, the instructor, had set up the first several pages for us and walked us through how we should set them up. She's an English instructor so this class was also a lot of English training. Which was great. She told her story. Heartfelt, open, no bull type of story telling. I fell in love instantly with Travel Notebooks. I have so many plans for what I want to do with some of them. I cannot wait.

I didn't get very far on the travel notebook from Tiffany because I want to use it about my life for the first 50 years. It seems like a good time in life to check in with yourself and really look at what kind of life you've lived and what you want to live.

Lunch was delayed, significantly, so Anandi and I ran out to grab lunch. We had a bunch of scrapping time that afternoon. I was just working my way through all the pages I brought with me.  Slowly at this point. One of my new Sacramento friends who was sitting behind me was teaching me all sorts of new things about the iPhone and how to take photos of the pages with ease. Super great tips.

Then the great group photo. Tracie is a drill sergeant when it comes to getting people in line. She's also very careful about placing people. I thought it was like herding cats, but she did a great job.


All in all I had a fantastic time. I met some new fantastic friends, learned some new fantastic scrapbooky type of things. And I think I may have a new found love in travel notebooks. Damn you scrapbooking industry.

I had to wear my glasses this weekend. My eyes were tired and I was having a hard time seeing. 

Me and the Fabulous Tracie

Me and Anandi's Sacramento friends who are now my friends. 

Sacramento ScrapGirls and I - Anandi and her friends.

The Fabulous Tiffany, me and Anandi. I should mention that we also got selfie instruction from Tiffany. 

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Happy 8th of July

Since I missed wishing everyone a happy 4th, I figured a happy 8th is just as patriotic. My blog. My rules.

Work has gotten a bit lighter. I was officially promoted to Director level. The title is still being decided. I'm pushing for Director of the PMO (PMO = Project Management Office). It's a better title should I ever be in search of another job. The other option is Director of Professional Service. Which could, in and of itself, help me too. Who knows? I'm just glad it finally happened.

My team has decreased from 9 to 2 (3 counting me). There's a chance I'll manage the development team, but again, we'll see. The job description is still a bit loosey goosey for me. But the raise and the promotion are done and - in a sense - in the bank. Now the fun part begins.

I didn't do anything on the 4th - I planned it that way. I just wanted a day to myself. I did a little work, but otherwise spent the day up in the scrapbook room. I'm still trying to gather all these photos for this retreat at the end of the month. Almost there. The photos I have left are all photos of me. Blech.

I did try to BBQ burgers on the 4th. The grill wouldn't light. Neither by the lighter itself or by putting a lighter under it. I had propane so that wasn't the issue. I think the poor components had finally rusted out all the way and there was nothing to turn on.

And so I made a plan. Called Got Junk to have them pick up the old on Saturday the 14th. And then today I went and bought myself a new grill. I really wish mine could be under cover a bit more to help keep the wet off it, but alas, I don't really have much to cover. I'm going to try to rearrange it so it's MOSTLY under the eaves...if I can. The grill will be assembled and delivered on Saturday too. Home Depot tried to change me $50 to shorten the delivery time window to 2 hours. I either sit here all day for nothing, or pay $50 for a 2 hour window? I think I'll sit her all day. They're already charging me for delivery WITH Stairs. Every little thing costs these days.



I got a smaller grill this time. The last two I've bought were big grills with Sunday dinners in mind. I then realized that if in a year I use the grill less than 3 times for Sunday dinner, then the bulk of the time it's just me. Why pay for a bigger grill? It's big enough to fit two big flank steaks or two big tritip roasts on it.

In other big news, my real dad Don passed away. He and I weren't close at all. I'm sure he had regrets about it. I didn't, until he died. Then I started wondering if my pride had caused me to not have him in my life. I re-examined why I kicked him out originally, and while those points are still very valid to me, was it enough to not have a relationship. I'll never know now. And I certainly won't fret over it, but it did cause me to do some internal thinking about it. Despite our lack of relationship, he still is responsible for at least 1/3 of who I am (Mom gets a third and Dad -AL-gets a third). I frequently think about how different my life would have been had mom not asked for a divorce. I shudder to think about that actually. I've had and still have a pretty good life. Ups and downs for sure, but I had pretty awesome parents.

So I'll mourn his passing. And I'll respect the man he was. No idea if I'll be going to his memorial. Waiting to hear when and what it'll be.

That's about all. You're officially caught up in my "life".

Sunday, July 01, 2018

July 1st...What?

I know it can't just be me being astounded that it's July 1st already...am I?  I bet if I look back over my blogs I'd see I start quite a few of them with "I can't believe its XYZ date.." Life sure does zoom by the older you get.

So...back from Scotland just two weeks and I'm already dreaming of other places I want to visit. Spoke with Janet over the weekend and she just laughed when I asked her about some of the trips... mind you we already have next years great adventure planned. I love that I have someone willing and able to travel. I'm not sure I would have seen half as much as I have without her.

Towards the end of July I'll be attending a Scrapbook Retreat. My scrap pal BeagleGal talked me into it. Ok, she didn't have to talk me into it too much. Anyhow, I wasn't sure whether I wanted to attend and now that it's approaching and I'm watching what's coming, I'm so excited to attend. It's in Lakewood...which isn't Seattle, but to be fair, there's nothing to do in Lakewood, so why not scrap?

There are three classes that will happen over the weekend.  And some free crop time. I've been staging some Ireland pages to have available to crop when we do have that free crop time.

Here's the thing though, each instructor has sent a list of photos to bring with you. Each class you will make 4 page layouts (or something similar).  One of the instructors photo list is killing me. I'm realizing I don't have that many photos of me through the years.

Here's what I need to gather:

  • childhood photo of me
  • A special place to me from anytime in my life (optional: photo of me now or an extra of me @ that special place
  • A ritual or daily routine
  • A collage (4X6) of items that are integral to my daily life, or members of my family
  • Reality versus ideal of something in my life
  • Current photo of me
  • A photo of me and a mantra that speaks to my philosophy of life
So...yah. I don't really have a current photo of me. Guess I'll put that selfie class I took to work. The ritual/routine is easy...Starbucks. A special place will be a tough one. There are so many to choose from, and I'm not sure I have photos of that special place. Does the bottom of a wine bottle count as a special place?  The collage of items that are integral to my daily life I think I'm going to take photos of my remote control, my laptop, my nook and my phone. Those all seem pretty important. Oh and maybe a photo of my car keys. 

The second class is just asking for photos that match the colors of the paper collection. Not a problem for me. I'll just find some photos and put them in Black and White. 

The last class is about the "crafty girl" inside you. This one will be fun for me. It's ironic to me that I don't scrap about scrapbooking. Here's the problem...I have to find 12 photos for this class. Thankfully the instructor gave us some ideas. 
  • Evidence of my craftiness (does an empty bank account count?)
  • Where I craft
  • close ups of supplies
  • Pages I've created
  • Bags of supplies
  • Photos of a stack of done pages
  • Your planner
  • Me holding my favorite scrapbooking tool
  • Favorite craft store or aisle (I guess I'll have to go to Ben Franklin for this...bummer)
So needless to say I have some homework to do. I did do some searching today and found a few items. And I made a list of photos I need to take. I have some ideas for current photos of me, but we'll see how those turn out. 

I spent the entire day in the scrapbook room today. It feels so good to be crafty and creative. It takes my mind elsewhere. I worked on mom's celebration of life gatherings we did. I haven't been able to scrap these and suddenly today I could. 

That's about it. I've got something yummy in the slow cooker and the timer just went off. 

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Camera

Now a week after Scotland, I think I've thoroughly gone through every photo. Deleted the out of focus or just horrible ones, and have managed to get down from 2300 to about 1300. Still too many photos to consider scrapbooking, but I've learned I don't have to scrap them all.

This trip was a different kind of camera experience for me. I left, yes that's right, LEFT my huge Canon Rebel T3 at home. GULP!

I purchased this Lumix ZS100. During our trip to Ireland, one of the tour members had this camera. I asked him a ton of questions about it and after 14 days decided it was the camera for me. I love my Canon. It's just so heavy and so cumbersome to carry around for 14 days. I wanted something smaller.

But "smaller" often means a decrease in quality. I won't go for a lower quality. I don't want to spend a lot of time post processing photos. But getting a good, sharply contrast photo straight out of the camera is tough to get.

Enter the Lumix ZS100. This little camera produced the best photos. I found myself not touching them after shooting. A couple had to be cropped and people in the way had to be taken out, but otherwise, nada.

I was quite worried about taking such a significant trip without my tried and true camera. But at the last minute I decided that there would be 2 other cameras there and all would be fine. I had been testing the "little" camera and it would be fine.

So off I went and left Canon behind.

On the plane I remember momentarily freaking out asking myself, "What have I done?" You see pictures are me. They are what make me happy. They are my memories. They are how I express my creative side. I didn't want to risk all that ... and as usual, it all worked out.

I spent way more time fiddling with this camera, changing settings, then I ever did with the Canon. It's super simple to use and full of filters that help make photos more interesting, at least to me. I found my favorites and on occasion would swap things up just to see how they turned out.

These are my two favorite photos. And these are Straight Out of the Camera. NO touchup.



Both of these will be printed and put replace some of my wall photos.

At the end of the day I learned this, it's not always the camera...the photographer has something to do with it.

I wonder if the Canon will ever come out again.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Things About Travel



We’re home. Phew! What a trip! It was 14 days a full, jammed packed, Scottish everything. I thought we were booking when we did Ireland. That trip was a walk in the park compared to this one.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I just got exhausted from it. Which, in my opinion, is a good thing with vacations. I wonder what a “relaxing” vacation actually feels like. Someday I might know, until then it’s full throttle.

As I always do after I travel, I reflect on the entire experience. Not just the places we saw, but the experience as a whole. The Pros and Cons of traveling, if you will.

Most my trips don’t have too many “cons”, and when they do it’s likely something I did to cause it.

A lot of folks have asked me what my favorite part of Scotland was…that’s really hard to nail down. We tried every day to call out the “best” and the “worst” for the day. It wasn’t too long into the trip before we realized there weren’t any real “worsts”. There were “just ok’s”, but nothing “worst.”.

So here’s my list of Cons:
  1. There were a couple of LONG days on the bus. One was because we had to get off the Isle of Mull ASAP to avoid being stranded there due to a storm. The other was just getting us from one place to another. The bus rides, wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for their one lane roads and the constant having to pull over to let people pass. Still, it added to the charm of Scotland. (See #2 below).
  2. I’m going to say this, and it’s going to come out not quite like I’m going to mean it…but traveling with people. Janet and I travel so well together that adding two more to our merry band of travelers made the dynamic change slightly. I thoroughly enjoyed having Blueberry and Billie with us. At the same time, I really missed it being just Janet and I. As travelers go though, Billie and Blueberry are good travel companions.
  3. One couple in the tour. We ultimately called them our stalkers. It was like they would purposely seek us out. They weren’t interesting, and she was Miss Negative all the time.
  4. Burning my hair. That was definitely a con.
  5. Burning my hair kinda goes with the whole converter thing. Its necessary. And if I want to continue to travel it will always be, but man it’s a pain in the butt.
  6. Beer. I’m putting Beer in the “con” category because 1) we didn’t get to drink as much as we did in Ireland and 2) I didn’t find Scottish beer particularly interesting.
  7. Not enough scotch. I think I tasted scotch twice. Of course, a Pro could be that I’ve discovered I’m not a huge fan of scotch.
  8. The trip there and the trip back. I hate the actual "traveling" part of travel. Long plane rides are just so long. And this trip, in particular, we were on planes that weren't modern and didn't have TVs in the seats, so watching movies for the entire trip to kill time was out. 

And the Pros:
  1. We had fantastic weather. Just a couple of days of overcast that ultimately burned off, and one day of rain where we were on the bus anyhow.
  2. The crazy one lane roads. As frustrating as they could be, it was pretty cool to see that they hadn’t expanded to fit the tourist industry that has taken over the country. The single lane roads is what I would have expected in Scotland and that’s what we got.
  3. Sheep, sheep and more sheep. Billie and I could not get enough of the sheep. AND, the added bonus was the babies were still babies.
  4. The Globus tour. Say what you will about these types of touristy tours, but to have someone else plan the entire thing for me is awesome. And Globus did a good job. I couldn’t help comparing it to Grand Circle the entire time, and there are things that Grand Circle did that I liked better, but all in all, Globus is a stand out company to tour with.
  5. Castles, castles, castles. I love them all. Some are more interesting than others, and that is certainly true for the 6 we saw on this trip. I prefer the ones that actually look like castles versus the ones that are called a castle, but are really just a huge manor house. My fascination with them is really about the history there and the fact that something was built so many hundreds of years ago and is still standing.
  6. My travel check list. Yes, I have one. It’s been developed over many, many years. Mom and I started it years ago. That list has saved my bacon more times than I care to admit.
  7. And lastly, Scotland. What a beautiful place. If you’ve not been there, you should add it to your bucket list. The lowlands weren’t my favorite, but the highlands…man were they something to witness. None of the photos will do it justice though.
I'm sure I could think of a dozen more for each, but this is what's been on the top of my mind.


Sunday, June 17, 2018

Day 14: Homeward Bound

It's hard to believe it's been 14 days since we left Seattle. It's been a fun trip full of memories that will stay with me forever. My traveling companions Janet, Billie and Sherrie made this trip extra special.

We ate a ton...how could you not when you're in a new country.

We didn't drink nearly as much as we did in Ireland. That's mostly because, at least for me, their beer wasn't very interesting. Janet and I managed a beer at dinner mostly, but that was it. I had two favorite beers Innis and Gunn  and then Belhaven Best.

This tour was quite different than our tour in Ireland. The company, Globus, as a whole was great. Their website leaves a lot to be desired, but the package they put together for Scotland was top notch. We really did see a ton in Scotland and got a good taste of lowland and highland Scotland. I prefer the highlands myself. Such beauty there.

The plane ride home was long this time. 7 1/2 hours from Glasgow to Philadelphia and then 5 1/2 hours into Seattle. The Seattle leg was sketchy ... a ton of turbulence that, I have to admit, had me worried. Once we landed all I could think about was getting in Wroamin and getting home to my kitties and my own bed.



But fate had another plan. I got my suit case out of Sherrie's car and hit my clicker to open the trunk. Nothing. So I hit it again and still nothing. Wroamin wasn't going anywhere tonight. Ugh. Called Ford Roadside assistance and after waiting an hour, I called them back. The tow truck would be another 2 hours.

Janet had to drive me home and I had to have Sherrie take me back to Janet's the next day. Turns out, newer car batteries will die if not started after about a week and a half.

The jetlag is hitting me hard this trip. All I want to do is take a nap...

Tomorrow it's back to work. Back to earning $$ and vacation time for our next adventure. Our next adventure will be Hawaii in December to celebrate my 50th. After that, we'll be cruising around Norway next May.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Day 13: Glasgow

A good night sleep! That's just what the doctor ordered. We woke to a partly cloudy and windy day. We'd spend the day visiting two museums and basically "killing time" before we can get into our Glasgow hotel for the last night.

Our first museum is The Riverside Transportation museum. We had driven past this museum on our first day in Glasgow all those days ago when we were on the hop on hop off bus. This museum wasn't that interesting, and full of kids. It had some interesting items, but by and large not my favorite stop. Still we were out of the weather and got to see some old things.



Our next stop is Kelvingrove museum. There's all sorts of art here and Ian guaranteed we'd find something interesting here. I'm not a huge art museum fan so I wasn't sure at all that I'd find something interesting. They had an entire wing dedicated to animals, so at least we got that. Another room was dedicated to Egypt and I will admit, I found that interesting.

The museum was beautiful though. The architecture was so fantastic. That was worth it for me.

Note the photo bomber in the back left by Janet. The "guy" in the photo is our tour guide Ian. He was fantastic and hilarious and full of useful and non useful information. 





Finally, we got to the Radison Blue hotel. It's located downtown. Our rooms weren't available yet, so we took off on foot to find lunch. I asked the desk about where they'd get fish n chips if they had a choice. They recommended Chippy Doon the Lane...so off we went.

It wasn't easy to find, that's for sure. It was located down this sketchy alley way and we weren't sure it was even open or if we should even bothered. We climbed the flight of stairs and were dumped into this fantastic little restaurant.

Can I just say...likely the BEST fish n chips of the entire trip.



I'm not a fan of the chips in Scotland. I like my chips crunchy and even when asking for them to be crispy they really don't crisp up at all. It didn't stop me from eating them of course.

Tonight was our farewell dinner. Its bittersweet for me. On the one hand, I've enjoyed myself immensely. On the other, I'm ready to go home. The worst part of vacationing happens tomorrow...the long flight home.

We had a good group of people on this tour. Only two slightly awkward and annoying stalkers - they seemed to seek us out and want to annoy us. They were nice enough, but not very interesting and odd. Aside from them, the rest of the group was a ton of fun. Full of a smattering of personalities as you would expect and people from all over the world.

Farewell photo with Alistair the amazing bus driver and Ian the amazing tour guide. 

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Day 12: Isle of Mull...and massive Storm

This morning we headed to the capital of Mull called Tobermory. Our tour guide, Ian, warned us that there's a good chance that after Tobermory, we'll need to get back to the hotel, pack and get the flock off the island. This storm that's coming in is causing all the ferrys to close and as such, we'll need to hit a ferry earlier than planned in order to not be stuck on the Isle of Mull. There are few things that have to fall into place, like where we're going to stay if we do get off the island. Ian and Globus figured it all out while we were wandering Tobermory.

It was sprinkling in Tobermory and a bit chilly. It didn't stop us from going in and out of all their brightly colored stores.




Tobermory has a city cat it turns out. There were two, but one of them passed a couple of years ago. This Tom Cat technically belongs to the distillery, but visits all the shops for some love and food. He was quite sweet and very interested in having attention paid to him. I got to pet him and got a Meow out of him. What I didn't get was his name...


Before hopping back on the bus, I was a bit chilled so I stopped into this chocolate shop and grabbed myself a hot chocolate. The options for this cocoa is plain, or with whipped cream, or with marshmallows OR with marshmallows AND whipped cream. Yes please.


As soon as we got back on the bus, Ian told us that yes we found accommodations in Glasgow and that we needed to get back to the hotel, pack, grab a lunch and then get on the road to hit a 2:15 ferry off the island.

And so we did. Thankfully we hadn't really unpacked too much since we'd only been there for a day. We packed our bags, brought them to the lobby and then plopped down to have a quick bite.

The trip to Glasgow was long and wet. The rain had started, which made taking photos out of the coach difficult. One of the lochs we saw along the way was the famous Loch Lomond. Though you really couldn't see it too well.



We got to our hotel quite late and had dinner even later. I'm impressed with Globus and their quick move to get us out of danger and safely to a city where it was pretty likely that none of us would miss our flights on Friday.

Tomorrow we'll be killing time by visiting some museums in Glasgow. The itinerary has been thrown out the door thanks to this storm, but I'm ok with that. I'm exhausted and I'm ready to be home. I have confirmed that 14 days is a long time to be away and on vacation. IF we had days off, the 14 days may not have been so bad, but 14 days of running and getting up early and seeing everything you can, certainly takes it toll.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Day 11: Isle of Mull, Glenfinnan and Iona

We weren't too sad to leave the Isle of Skye hotel and head to Isle of Mull. The rumors were somewhat true about this hotel. It wasn't great. But it was clean and warm. There isn't much option for hotels on the Isle of Skye, so I get it. I think my dream would be to open a nice hotel here and easily rake in the dough. Billie and I planned it all out while we were on the bus. First I need to find that wealthy husband...

Our booklet indicated we'd be stopping at the Clan Donald Center and visit he Museum of the Isles. This didn't happen and it wasn't until tonight that I realized it. Maybe I'll ask tomorrow. 

We pulled over ever so briefly at this bronze statue called Commandos. The Commando Memorial  in Lochaber, is dedicated to the men of the original British Commando Forces raised during World War II. It overlooks the training areas of the Commando Training Depot established in 1942 at Achnacarry Castle. Unveiled in 1952 by the Queen Mother, it is one of Scotland’s best-known monuments, both as a war memorial and as a tourist attraction offering views of Ben Nevis and Aonach Mòr.

The Commandos also known as British Commandos were formed during the Second World War in June 1940, following a request from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill, for a force that could carry out raids against German-occupied Europe. Initially drawn from within the British Army from soldiers who volunteered for the Special Service Brigade. By the end of the war 25,000 men had passed through the Commando course at Achnacarry.
Reaching a wartime strength of over 30 units and four assault brigades, the Commandos served in all theatres of war from the Arctic Circle to Europe and from the Mediterranean and Middle East to South-East Asia. Their operations ranged from small groups of men landing from the sea or by parachute, to a brigade of assault troops spearheading the Allied invasions of Europe and Asia.


Our  next stop was Glenfinnan. At Glenfinnan we also are treated with a visit to the train viaduct made popular by Harry Potter...of course we were slightly more excited to see that then the other memorial at Glenfinnan. 
The memorial at Glenfinnan is to celebrate the location where Bonnie Prince Charles raised his standard on the shores of Loch Shiel in 1745. 

Then the plans for the day changed. We were supposed to visit the capital of Tobermory this afternoon. But, there's a storm a brewing off the Atlantic that is scheduled to hit Scotland over the next day or two. Our tour director, Ian suggested we try to add a stop that was planned for tomorrow to this afternoon to ensure we get to see it. The small island of Iona. It made for a long day, but it was decided to visit Iona today. Naturally, because we added it to today, tomorrow will likely be just fine. Still, I'm glad we went. We'll visit Tobermory tomorrow morning.
Iona is a small island in the Inner Hebrides off the Ross of Mull on the western coast of Scotland. It is mainly known for Iona Abbey. Iona Abbey was a center of Gaelic monasticism for three centuries and is today known for its relative tranquility and natural environment. Its modern Gaelic name means "Iona of (Saint) Columba" (formerly anglicised "Icolmkill").

The Abbey was beautiful. I could have spent more hours there shooting photos, but alas, we had to move on. 













Such a beautiful day to visit Iona, and if a storm is, in fact, coming in, I'm glad we visited it today. The sun was shining and the weather perfect. 

As we got back on the bus on the main island of Mull, we found out from some other folks on our tour that if we had walked another 200 yards from the abbey we would have encountered Highland Cows. These elusive creatures have been on our list to see up close this entire trip. We've been given glimpses of them on the road, but no time to stop and pet them. I was bummed when I found out they were right there and we missed them. I did, however, get the photos from this couple. So I'm counting it.