Saturday, 20 August 2011

Day #153: The one with the Braunds (St Andrews)

It is important to understand that we went into our Scotland excursion with very little sleep.  The day/night before wasn't a particularly crazy adventure.  As documented in our previous blog, the market, the cab ride, and the dinner were all fairly laid back.  This would lead one to believe that we would have gotten a great night sleep and been bright eyed and bushy tailed for our early morning departure to Edinburgh.

Oh, and how wrong you would be....

On the Singleton side of the equation, Shayne picked an opportune time to develop what we have come to call "London S.A.D."  What is S.A.D. you ask?  It's Season Affective Disorder, or what is sometimes referred to as the 'winter blues'.  This is a disorder that is brought about by a vitamin D deficiency, with a leading symptom of insomnia.  Lovely. How many hours of sleep did Shayne get?  Let's just say, she can recount each and every painful second of the evening.  How many hours of sleep did Jake get?  About one... the amount of time that Shayne laid awake before beginning to ball her eyes out.  Oh, how dreamy it was (pun intended).

On the Braund's side, Mike had the pleasure of encountering our Spanish neighbor that lives in the ground level flat just above ours.  We aren't sure if his late night tendencies are brought about by his hispanic culture shining through, or if he is also a S.A.D sufferer.  But either way, our living room chandelier begins to shake around 1:00am each morning.  Being that our living room also doubles as our executive suite/guest room, the Braunds got to experience our Samba dancing Spaniard first hand.  We're pretty sure that Kristyn Joy Braund was able to somber quite peacefully, but how rested can you be when the alarm goes off at 4:30am?

We hired a mini-cab service to take us out to Luton airport.  Let's just say the driver got a car full of 'early morning delirium' and some poorly implemented That's What She Said (TWSS) references.  At that hour of the day, almost anything goes...let's be honest.  It also didn't hurt that he was driving his 4 door sedan, at what we're pretty sure was somewhere in the neighborhood of Mach 2.0.  Did you know a little 4 banger Peugeot could top 110mph?  Neither did we, until we got there way sooner than we expected (TWSS!).

We braved the cattle call that is European airports and did our best to wolf down a breakfast bap before boarding our flight.  It was really the 1.5 hours of ZZZzzzzs we caught on the plane that saved the day.  We landed in Edinburgh, hopped in our Avis rent-a-car, and hit the open road for the green grasses of St Andrews.  The first miracle of our trip was about to occur.  Jake and Mike were hoping to catch the 10:00am tour of the St Andrews Old Course.  A hole-by-hole walking tour of the birthplace of golf.  The only problem was the plane landed in Edinburgh at 8:45am and the drive time was estimated at between 1hr 15 and 1hr 30.  So it was a long shot, or so we thought.

We managed to pull into St Andrews at about 10 past 10:00am.  We looked down the 18th fairway (towards the clubhouse) and saw a group of tourists congregating near the flag stick.  Could it be?  Did we make it?  Were we still able to join?  Oh you bet your ass!  And it was amazing.

Highlight:  This one was a tough call as both Mike and Jake found golf balls during the tour (amazing Souvenirs!); there was also the couple that dressed in every golf brand imaginable (Titleist hat, Nike shirt, Adidas wind breaker, mizuno shorts, ping shoes, etc.) that felt the need to talk to our 70-something St Andrews local tour guide with phrases such as, "O.M.G that's a huge bunker" and "LOL, I can't believe the golf balls used to be made out of leather."  Or maybe it was looking back at Shayne and Kristyn during the tour.  They were evenly filling the time between tanning and catching butterflies.

We paused for a photo shoot on the famous Swilcan Bridge on the 18th hole (yes, the Braunds busted out the Terrible Towel to rousing applause from some of the other Americans on the course).  We ended our golf extravaganza with a quick trip to the pro shop for some souvi's and we were off to the bar for a cheeky pint (or glass of Pimm's for Mrs. Braund - her new fave!).

Jake and Shayne on the Old Course

Jake, Jim (our tour guide), and Mike after the tour.
We explored the town of St Andrews during the afternoon, which we would recommend as a must see for anyone who makes their way up to Scotland.  Exploring the ruins of the St Andrews Castle & Cathedral were pretty incredible!  We even convinced Kristyn to brave the climb of St Rule's tower (in true Singleton fashion).  We ventured down to the sea side where we kicked off our shoes and waded out onto the mossy rocks and into the splash zone.  We decided one more cheeky pint was a must before we hit the road, but our destination of choice (The Jigger Inn on the 17th hole) was closed for a private party.  So instead we blasted the radio station playing traditional bagpipe music, and curved our way through the majestic scottish landscape, stopping at a tiny sea side village for a quick drink.

Shayne climbing the ruins of St Andrew's Castle.

Mike, Kristyn, Shayne, and Jake at the castle.

Jake in the castle wall.

Kristyn and Mike "hanging out!"

The St Andrew's Cathedral

The Braunds climbing the tour - GO KRISTYN!

Shayne and Jake on the top of the tour.
The beautiful Atlantic ocean!

We pulled into Edinburgh sun burned, wiped out, but jazzed for a night on the town.  Tune in for our next entry...the one with the Braunds (Edinburgh).

Lessons learned:  1) If St Andrews is good enough for Will and Kate, it's certainly good enough for us!, 2) The best BLT in all of the UK can be found at the St Andrews club house restaurant, 3) If you plan to spend 3 hours on a golf tour, and then tour outdoor castles/ruins, and then hit the beach...maybe some sun screen should be applied.

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