Dean Village

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On this activity-light day with Clan Maitland, in between two very full days, my sister and I checked another “must see” location off our list. I’ve been drawn to Dean Village, in Edinburgh, for years, based solely on beautiful photos that I’ve seen.

Checking the map app on my iPhone, our destination seemed walkable. On this gorgeous sunny day, Debbie and I left the apartment and set out on our own on foot, bound for one of Edinburgh’s hidden gems.

Dean Village Title Meme

Dean Village History

This former medieval village, founded in the 12th century, began as home to the milling industry. A river winds through this valley, located a short distance from Edinburgh’s New Town. Mills sprang up along the Water of Leith, and cottages soon followed, to house the mill workers. The area became known as the Water of Leith Village.

The village was a successful center of milling for 800 years. However, due to the development of larger, more modern mills the village fell into decline. By 1960, the community was filled with poverty and decay.

Fortunately, in the mid 1970s the area’s beauty and tranquility inspired restoration. The warehouses, mills and workers’ cottages transformed into desirable residential homes. Now called Dean Village…”dene” means deep valley…the area attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Dean Village Well Court
One of the most well known renovated buildings in Dean Village…Well Court.
Dean Village Upstream
View from the metal bridge.

Walking to Dean Village

From our apartment on Thistle Street, Debbie and I walked three blocks to Charlotte Square. Intuitively, we knew which direction to go from there, to reach Dean Village. However, my map app took us along a longer, out of the way route.

Ultimately, we came to Queensferry Street and walked down it to Bell’s Brae. If you continue on Queensferry Street, which becomes Lynedoch Place, you cross over Dean Bridge. The village lies below, in the valley.

Walking down Bell’s Brae, we arrived at Miller Row and the Water of Leith. There is a circuitous path through the village that crosses two bridges, a stone one and a metal one. The gorgeous photos that I’ve seen posted are taken along that path and from the metal bridge.

Dean Village Metal Bridge
The metal bridge in Dean Village.
Dean Village Stone Bridge
The stone bridge

Exploring Dean Village

This area is still residential. There aren’t any pubs, cafés, shops or public restrooms. Instead, there are flats and cottages, a school and at the edge of the village, a museum.

We walked Dean Path, exclaiming over the adorable stone cottages, the abundance of flowers and the incredibly homey vibes of the village. Even though there were many others strolling in Dean Village, people respected the fact that this is a neighborhood. It’s a charming neighborhood, to be sure. But people live here and raise families in this beautiful place. Visitors remained quiet, talking softly as they walked.

We all paused to take photos, and smiled at each other as we traded places along vantage points. However none of us laughed loudly or called out to one another or behaved in a boisterous manner. I appreciated that. I’m sure the residents of Dean’s Village do as well.

Laundry in Dean Village
Such a homey scene in Dean Village.
Container Garden in Dean Village
A cottage in Dean Village. I love the Scots’ appreciation of flowers and gardens.

Another Dream Realized

Walking through Dean Village was another dream realized for me. And the photos don’t really do it justice. It is such a gorgeous place. Beyond that, Dean Village is peaceful and idyllic. How wonderful to stroll along the Water of Leith and experience the incredible feel of the village, basking in the warm Scottish sunshine.

Realizing that dream birthed another. Debbie and I peeked into a vacant flat and imagined what it must feel like, to live in this tucked away place. Although Dean Village is only a 15 minute walk from Princes Street and Old Town, it feels like a country burgh, far from the busy hub of the city.

As we climbed back up Bell’s Brae….brae means steep bank or hillside and this road is aptly named…we paused to rest on a bench and allow our dreams of living in such a beautiful place to expand. I don’t know how or when it will happen, but that day, my sister and I released into the universe the desire to own or rent a flat or cottage in Dean Village. The strong desire is released and out there now. I just need to be me and stay in the flow of life, trusting the guidance of the Dream Giver. I’m content with that.

Dean Village Upstream 2
Gazing downstream from the metal bridge.
Dean Village Upstream
Gazing upstream from the metal bridge.

Gratitude for Dean Village

I’m so glad we had opportunity to discover and walk through Dean Village. After the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, this was the other place I absolutely wanted to see while in the city. I’m grateful Debbie was willing to explore this hidden gem with me and appreciated its beauty as well.

Walking back to the apartment I put the map app away. We trusted our instincts to get us back. They served us well, guiding us quickly and unerringly along picturesque narrow streets back to Charlotte Square. Technology is often helpful, however, I can always trust my instincts.

Have you heard of Dean Village? Would you love to visit it as well? Someday, I’ll be back there. I know it.

Check out these Scotland and Edinburgh finds:


 

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Maitlands in the Borders

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Traveling together, Clan Maitland spent the most time in the Scottish Borders. This area borders Edinburgh and extends south and east to the English counties of Cumbria and Northumberland.  We were Maitlands in the Borders, exploring. Our roots sunk deep here, in the hilly rural countryside. Centuries ago, our family settled in the beautiful lowlands, grew and expanded outward into the world.

After touring St. Mary’s Church and Lauderdale Aisle in Haddington, and lunching together, our day trip took us to one of the former Maitland houses, Lennoxlove. We concluded our outing with a fascinating tour at Glenkinchie Distillery.

Come along and join the Maitlands in the Borders and share our discoveries.

Maitlands in the Borders Title Meme

Lennoxlove House History

After lunch we explored Lennoxlove House, south of Haddington in East Lothian. The house includes a 15th century tower, known as Lethington Tower, and experienced several building expansions. Currently the seat of the Duke of Hamilton, this property began as a house of Maitland.

Robert Maitland of Thirlestane purchased the lands of Lethington in 1345. He built the L-shaped tower that now forms the southwest corner of the house. Mary of Guise, mother to Mary Queen of Scots, stayed at the house on her visit to Haddington in 1548.

Lethington House remained in the Maitland family until the death of John Maitland, the Duke of Lauderdale, in 1682. The trustees of Frances Teresa Stuart, Duchess of Richmond and Lennox, purchased the property after her death in 1702. She stipulated that the house should pass to her “neare and deare kinsman, the said Walter Stuart”. Walter Stuart, eldest son of the 5th Lord Blantyre, became the 6th Lord Blantyre upon his father’s death.

The Duchess requested that the house be renamed “Lennox’s Love to Blantyre” which eventually shortened to Lennoxlove. The property remained in the Blantyre family until purchased in 1960 by the 14th Duke of Hamilton. During the summer the house is open to the public and available for special events.

Maitlands in the Borders Lennoxlove House
Exterior of Lennoxlove House
Lethington Tower
The Great Hall in Lethington Tower

Maitlands in the Borders at Lennoxlove House

Our large group divided in two to tour Lennoxlove House. My group benefited from our Clan Chief Ian being with us. He is a historian and an excellent storyteller. I loved hearing the stories connected to this grand old estate. We moved from the newer part of the house, with its extensive collections of art, furniture, porcelain and artifacts, through hallways and rooms to the older tower.

Many extraordinary portraits hang on the walls throughout the house, including a couple of the Duke of Lauderdale. On display too is a silver jewelry box belonging to Mary, Queen of Scots, and her death mask.

I especially enjoyed the older section of the house, including the great hall and the rooms beneath it. I’m sensitive to energy and the flow of it. The past pools and eddies in this ancient part of Lennoxlove, swirling and spilling over into the present. I felt tingles of energy several times and delighted in the discovery of a narrow passageway in the chapel that led to a small dungeon. The secrets and stories, joys and sorrows, lives lived and lost in Lennoxlove give fresh meaning to the phrase, “if walls could talk”. As I wandered through this beautiful place, I listened.

Lennoxlove Sitting Room
The front sitting room in Lennoxlove House.

Maitlands in the Borders at Glenkinchie Distillery

We finished our long day together with a tour of Glenkinchie Distillery. I am not a whisky drinker, however I am always open to a learning opportunity. And a learning experience it was, at Glenkinchie, and so much more!

Glenkinchie Distillery began in 1825 under the name Milton Distillery. From 1837 on it has operated under its current name.

Maitlands in the Borders at Glenkinchie Distillery

Making Single Malt Whisky

Whisky making is an ancient process that’s been refined over the centuries. The first thing I learned, from our amazing tour guide Brian, is this: good whisky requires four ingredients…water, barley, yeast and time.

Water

Because of its importance, it’s not surprising that distillery locations are often determined by a pure source of water such as a spring or stream. Water encourages the barley to germinate during the malting process and it is added at the mashing stage to extract the sugars and make wort. Cold water is used to condense the vapors back into liquid as well.

Barley

Grains are essential to whisky making. They provide the starch that becomes alcohol. Scotch can be made from a variety of grains, however Single Malt Scotch Whisky is created from barley only.

Yeast

Yeast is a mirco-organism. Its purpose is to convert sugar into alcohol through the process of fermentation. Only a few strains of yeast are suitable for fermenting malted barley and these can influence the flavor.

Time

To classify as Scotch whisky, the newly made spirit must mature in an oak cask, in Scotland, for at least three years. Single malts can mature for up to 70 years. At Glenkinchie, the usual maturation period is 12 years. Oak is the wood of choice for the casks. Rather than using new oak, which negatively influences the flavor of the whisky, American oak casks are used that previously held bourbon, wine or sherry .

Brian at Glenkinchie
Our fun tour guide, Brian, explaining the process of making single malt whisky.

Walking Through the Process of Single Malt Whisky Making

During the distillery tour, we walked through rooms where each step of the process was underway. Malting, the process of rapidly germinating the barley, is actually the first step in turning barley into whisky. It’s no longer done at the distillery, however Brian explained the malting process to us and then led us on to the next room.

In the milling room the dried malted barley is ground into a coarse flour called grist. Next the grist is fed into the mash tun and hot water is added to dissolve the sugars. The resulting wort is drained off and cooled.

In the fermentation room, the cooled wort goes into large tubs called wash backs, made from pine wood. Yeast is added and fermentation begins. The mixture is now called wash. The next step is distillation. This process involves heating the liquid in large copper stills. And finally the alcohol goes into casks to mature for up to 70 years.

This is a very simplified explanation of the whisky making process! Please visit the Glenkinchie Distillery website for a much more in depth look at the fine art of making single malt whisky.

Whisky in casks
Whisky maturing in oak casks.

The End of the Day for Maitlands in the Borders

At the end of the tour…and the end of the day…we sampled whisky at Glenkinchie. I did not intend to have a dram…or four…of whisky. However, Brian conducted our tour with great knowledge and great humor. He explained the whisky making process in such an informative and fun way that my curiosity kicked in. After hearing about the incredible amount of work that goes into creating whisky…who figured all this stuff out anyway??…I HAD to sample the whisky. Could I taste the subtle flavors imparted by an oak cask that once held bourbon?

Brian poured out a round of drinks for our group and we followed his instructions, swirling the golden liquid, sniffing it and then tasting it. My initial reaction was “WOW”. The alcohol taste seemed so strong. Then Brian walked among us and added a small amount of water to each glass. “Taste it again,” he suggested. What an amazing difference that tiny bit of water made! Now I could taste the flavors. We sampled four different whiskies. I’ll never be a whisky connoisseur. However, I thoroughly enjoyed learning about how whisky is made and tasting the resulting “water of life”.

What a full day! Perhaps because of the wee sips of whisky, we were quite jolly on the coach ride back to Edinburgh. Maitlands in the Borders certainly know how to make the most of experiences. The bonding as a family increased that day and my heart felt very enlarged by our shared adventures.

The next day’s activities kept us in Edinburgh. However Friday promised a return to the Borders, to visit Rosslyn Chapel and our ancestral home, Thirlestane Castle. I couldn’t wait!

Copper Still
Copper Still at Glenkinchie

Check out these books about Scotch Whisky:

 


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Clan Maitland Gathers

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Beyond my desire to explore Edinburgh, another purpose drew me to Scotland this year. Members of Clan Maitland, the Scottish clan I am part of, gathered in the city. To meet kinsmen I am connected to has long been a dream of mine. Five days after arriving in Edinburgh, that dream became a reality.

Clan Maitland gathers in Scotland every ten years.  Family members descended from Maitlands and Lauderdales arrive from the countries they’ve scattered to.  This year the US, New Zealand, England, France and Scotland were represented.

The next few posts will share details about our fun time together and the family related historical sites we explored.

Clan Maitland Gathers Title Meme

Clan Maitland Gathers…for Tea

Clan members met for the first time on a Tuesday afternoon for a very Scottish tradition, Afternoon Tea. My sister Debbie and I walked the short distance from our apartment on Thistle Street to the Garden Room at the Kimpton Hotel on Charlotte Square. A few of our members, including our Clan Chief, would not arrive until evening, however this casual afternoon gathering proved a great way for people who are family yet strangers to break the ice.

What a joy to meet people I am connected with on Facebook whom I’ve never met face to face. We quickly embraced each other as kin and before long conversations and laughter flowed merrily around the room as we enjoyed a wonderful tea time.

That evening we all gathered at the Angel’s Share Hotel for dinner. The group from England arrived and I met Ian, the 18th Earl of Lauderdale and our Clan Chief. He immediately put us all at ease and entertained us with family stories. I learned that the Maitlands descended from the Mautalents of Normandy about 1000 to 1060.

Clan Maitland Gathers Tea Time

Afternoon Tea with Clan Maitland

Clan Maitland Gathers…on the Bus

The next morning we met early for our first full day of traveling and exploring together. Debbie and I smiled when we saw the bus, called a coach in Scotland, waiting for us. Lauderdale is such an uncommon name in the US. It’s fun to see it featured more prominently in Scotland.

Lauderdale Bus

Once on board the coach, we journeyed south to the small burgh of Haddington and our stop at St. Mary’s Parish Church and Lauderdale Aisle.

St Marys Collegiate Church

The Light of Lothian

St. Mary’s in Haddington dates back to 1139. With a length of 206 feet, it’s one of the longest churches in Scotland. Twice, in 1355 and again in 1548-49, the structure experienced extensive damage due to English invasions. The town repaired the west end of the church, erecting a barrier wall to seal off the east end, which remained roofless for hundreds of years.

In the 1970s restoration on the remaining section of the church began. Once completed the barrier wall came down and the church, called the Light of Lothian, continues to shine brightly in the community.

St Marys Interior

St Marys Organ
The magnificent pipe organ of St Mary’s, installed in 1990.

Clan Maitland Gathers…in Lauderdale Aisle

On the north side of the church, a small chapel awaited us. Because of the size of the room, our group of 30 plus people divided. Half of us toured the church while the others sat quietly in Lauderdale Aisle with Ian. Then we switched places.

I’ve read about Lauderdale Aisle, which once served as the sacristy of the church. It became a burial aisle for the Maitlands after the reformation of 1560. Entering through a stone archway, the marble effigies immediately draw the eye. The Renaissance monuments memorialize Sir John Maitland, Chancellor of Scotland under King James V, his son John, 1st Earl of Lauderdale, and their wives.

Beneath the aisle is a burial vault for the interment of the Earls and Countesses of Lauderdale. The  Duke of Lauderdale rests within this chamber as well. There are also niches for the ashes of other clansfolk.

The Doorway to Lauderdale Aisle

Marble Effigies

A Sacred Space

My group sat reverently on narrow wooden benches and listened to Ian share stories about the ancestors buried within Lauderdale Aisle. As he spoke a sacredness filled the room, shimmering in the soft light that filtered in through the window high on the wall.

I’ve so wanted to see this place. To experience it with my kinsmen, to hear stories told by my Clan Chief, created a surreal dream-like reality. I felt connection and awe, and deep gratitude for these men and women, long dead but surrounding us in spirit in this tiny room.

Ian concluded our time in Lauderdale Aisle by telling us that if we so wished, we could have our ashes brought here for interment as well. And he meant it. That amazing offer touched me in the part of my heart that declares itself Scottish and brought tears to my eyes.

St Marys Stained Glass Windwo

Clan Means Family

St. Mary’s Church and Lauderdale Aisle were the beginning of a long day together. We enjoyed lunch in Haddington and journeyed onward to two more places before returning to Edinburgh.

Ian told us that clan means family. I learned when Clan Maitland gathers, connection happens. When Clan Maitland gathers, stories are told. And when Clan Maitland gathers, adventures unfold.

I’ll be sharing more of those adventures in upcoming posts. Come discover my family roots, and some of the finest historical sites in Scotland, with me.

Clan Chief Ian with family
Ian sharing info and stories with us.

If you are a Maitland or Lauderdale, join our clan or read more about us HERE.

And check out these fun travel items by clicking below.

 


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The Town Shoe by Arcopedico

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Thank you to Arcopedico for sending shoes for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Traveling internationally with a carry on, space for clothing, shoes and toiletries is at a premium. Just before departing on my recent trip to Scotland, imagine my delight when I received the perfect pair of travel shoes. The Town Shoe by Arcopedico is lightweight, comfortable and oh so easy to tuck into a suitcase. My pair of Town Shoes took up less than half the space of a regular pair of walking shoes and added very little weight to my carry on.

I was excited to try out The Town Shoe by Arcopedico while in Edinburgh.

The Town Shoe by Arcopedico title meme

The Arcopedico Company

In 1966 Arcopedico’s founder, Italian scientist Elio Parodi, invented the company’s first product, a knit walking shoe. The unique shoe features techno elastic uppers, blended with special knitted nylon fibers, creating a custom fit for each wearer.

Parodi understands that the arch of the foot is the central pillar of the spine, and must be properly supported. His shoes have a patented orthopedic sole with two lengthwise support structures.

For many years, the knit shoe was Arcopedico’s only design, and it remains their top selling shoe. However, in recent years the Portugal based company has released several other designs, including the Lytech Line.

The Town Shoe by Arcopedico

The Lytech Line

Arocpedico’s Lytech Line, which includes the Town Shoe, was introduced in 2011. This design features an upper made from patented Lytech material, an ultra-light blend of polyurethane and Lycra. The shoes are flexible, breathable, machine washable and water resistant. The uppers are non-binding, conforming to the wearer’s foot for all day comfort.

The soles are durable and lightweight, with the twin arch support system characteristic of Arcopedico shoes. Because of the sole’s construction, body weight is evenly distributed through the entire plantar surface.

The Town Shoe is available in four colors: black, grey, khaki and Bordeaux, which is a burgundy color. I received grey shoes. They pair well with jeans, capris, shorts and dresses.

The Town Travel Shoe

Wearing the Town Shoe

Traveling with The Town Shoe by Arcopedico

These shoes are so easy to travel with. Pressed together, upper to upper, they take up very little space in my carry on.

In Edinburgh, I enjoyed wearing the Town Shoe as my sister Debbie and I wandered about the city. The shoes are incredibly soft and the stretchy uppers guarantee a perfect fit, as they gently mold to my feet. And, as promised, the support is amazing. Lightweight and comfortable, the Town Shoe by Arcopedico is an excellent walking shoe, ideal for wearing while exploring a neighborhood or a city.

I gave the shoes a proper trial by walking all over Edinburgh in them. Debbie and I spent a lovely Sunday wandering through the Old City, from Princes Street to Victoria Street and the length of the Royal Mile. We also climbed Calton Hill, which offers splendid views of the city from its peak.

And in the New City near our apartment we strolled down Thistle Street with its charming cobblestone surface. All together I walked, climbed and strolled five miles that day, in blissful comfort. The occasionally rain shower didn’t hamper these shoes. The Lytech material protected my feet while allowing the uppers to dry quickly.

Town Shoe by Acropedico

I Love My Town Shoes

These comfy shoes have become a favorite already. I love them. Not only do they travel well and serve as excellent walking shoes, they are that unique blend of pretty and practical. I can pull them on quickly and head out the door.

I appreciate the opportunity to try these shoes out. And I wholeheartedly recommend them to the traveler or to anyone who enjoys a comfortable and gorgeous pair of shoes.

My Town Shoe by Arcopedico will accompany me on all my adventures!

Wearing My Town Shoes

 

Order the Town Shoe HERE. There is a handy size chart on the page, to convert European sizes to US sizes.

You can also order the Town Shoe by Arcopedico HERE from Amazon.

 

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Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

On this, my third trip to Scotland, I traveled with less of an agenda. At least, this was true for the time that my sister and I had apart from the Clan Maitland events. We built in six days of exploring on our own.

Our primary intention, while in this beautiful and intriguing city, was to wander about and soak up the city and the culture while enjoying our encounters with the people we met.

I said less of an agenda. I did hope to visit several places that I had yet to experience in Scotland. One of those was the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh.

Royal Botanic Garden title meme

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, founded in 1670, began as a garden to grow medicinal plants. Today the garden actually occupies four sites across Scotland: Edinburgh, Dawyck, Logan and Benmore. Each offers its own special collection of plants. The Edinburgh site is the main garden. Its outdoor collection consists of more than 13,000 plant species and almost 300,000 individual plants.

Originally the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh flourished near Holyrood Palace, at the foot of what’s referred to as the Royal Mile. Hence the name. It is the second oldest botanic garden in Great Britain, after Oxford’s. That first medicinal garden occupied a 40 foot by 40 foot plot, and housed almost 900 plants. When the site became too small, the garden relocated in 1676 to Loch Nor, not far from High Street. Today Waverly Railway Station occupies that space.

In 1763 the garden moved again to Leith Walk, away from the more populous part of Edinburgh. And in the early 1820s the garden moved to its current location adjacent to Inverleith Row. The garden occupies 70 acres and includes a variety of collections including Alpine Plants, Chinese Hillside, Rock Garden, Scottish Heath Garden and Woodland Garden. There’s also an Herbarium on site, that houses more than 3 million specimens.

Royal Botanic Garden Entrance

Creating Time to Explore

On my first visit to Scotland, in 2014, I learned about the botanic garden and yet lacked the opportunity to explore the grounds. In 2017, on our girls’ whirlwind trip through Ireland, Scotland and England, lack of time prevented a visit once again.

However, on this visit, my sister Debbie and I built in time to explore. Rather than fill our days up with activities, we spent our hours exploring the city and getting around on the famous hop on/hop off buses. When we purchased tickets for the bus rides, we learned that we could upgrade our one day pass the next day for a three day pass that included the Royal bus line, which included a stop at the Royal Botanic Garden. Oh yes, a trip to the gardens became very doable.

Scottish weather is typically cool and rainy. And so it was, our first few days in Edinburgh. We chose Monday as the day to spend outdoors in the gardens, based on the weather app.

Royal Botanic Garden Pathway

Green Lawns at Royal Botanic Garden

Visiting Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

What a surprise when Monday turned out to be a rarity in Scotland….hot, sunny and windy! We opted for lightweight shirts and left our jackets at the apartment. Carrying our metal water bottles and pulling our hair back into ponytails, we hopped on a bus…and hopped off at the garden entrance. Admission is free although there are nominal fees to some of the greenhouses and exhibits on the site.

I’m a gardener. My soul finds great joy and peace in the gardens. I believe my love of working the earth is a result of my Scottish DNA. The Scots love their green lawns and patches of flowers and herb gardens. It’s one of the reasons I feel so at home in Scotland.

The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh delighted me on so many levels.

Debbie and I wandered slowly through the grounds, making no attempt to see all 70 acres. We agreed to stroll some paths and enjoy our surroundings and find a bench to sit on, amid the beauty found in the gardens.

That’s exactly what we did.

I love that the gardens are not formal. Instead, they are in a natural state. There are beds, of course, and groupings and pathways. However the overall feel of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh is abundance, in a wild sort of way, and it seems so fitting for Scotland.

Woodland Garden

Clematis in Royal Botanic Garden

Refreshed in the Garden

We sat for a time on a bench, watching people walk by, sipping our water and laughing as the wind played with our hair. Just as it does when I’m in my garden at home, nature restored and refreshed me.

Simone Weil wrote,

There are only two things that pierce the human heart. One is beauty. The other is affliction.”

Beauty pierced my heart that afternoon, bypassing my mind completely. In fact, I walked through the garden and turned off my need to know the names of all the plants. I saw many that are not familiar to me. And yet, it seemed enough to take in beauty and the sweet scents from a variety of flowering plants and bask in the warm Scottish sunshine…and just be.

My sister and I were simply the Lauderdale girls, walking through the garden, sweaty from the sun, wind blown and incredible happy to be in Scotland. The experience at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh was perfect…and worth waiting five years for.

Lauderdale Girls

 

In the sun….and windblown….and look how happy we are!

Check out these fun finds, for your visit to Edinburgh!

 


 

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Overcoming Jet Lag with Voke Superfood Supplements

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my Disclosure Policy for details.

Thank you to Voke Superfood Supplements for sending me their product to try while on my trip. As always, all opinions are my own.

Although I love traveling, one very real issue with long international trips is jet lag. As my sister Debbie and I flew across the Atlantic, toward bonnie Scotland, we passed through several different time zones.  Adding to our weariness was the fact that our plane experienced a 5 1/2 hour delay in New York City.

We landed in Edinburgh almost 30 hours after we began our adventure in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And sleep? Neither of us ever slipped into a deep restful sleep, napping for brief periods of time instead on our red eye flight.

When we at last arrived at our destination, we had no desire to catch up yet on sleep! We had our first afternoon tea time waiting for us, at Beetroot Sauvage Café. What a great time to try out Voke Superfood Supplements.

Overcome Jet Lag with Voke Superfood Supplements title meme

Creating a Balanced Supplement and a Family Business

Kalen Caughey came up with the idea for Voke ten years ago, as he rode in a chairlift up a local ski hill in Montana. A competitive skier, Kalen wanted a healthy, convenient, portable energy solution for long days on the mountain.

Together with his dad, who has a PhD in biochemistry, the two developed an organic blend that is natural and balanced without sugar, artificial sweeteners or excessive doses of vitamins.

Kalen’s brother Evan joined him to help with creative development. Together they run Voke as a family business.

Voke Superfood Supplements has fueled expeditions on all seven continents, including climbs in the Himalayas. The benefits of the tablets moved beyond adventurers to the health conscious and to health minded professionals.

Voke Superfood Supplement Pack

What’s in the Voke Superfood Supplement?

Each Voke tablet is formulated to combine superfoods that help support the body and provide energy. The formula is based on peer-reviewed, published and scientifically backed research.

The tablets are plant based, gluten and sugar free, with no artificial flavors or sweeteners. They contain 100% of the daily requirement for vitamin C.

Meet the superfoods:

Whole Seed Guarana – source, the Amazon of Brazil

Guarana improves short and long term brain function, keeping the mind refreshed and focused. It brightens mood and reduces anxiety, improves cognitive performance, manages weight and appetite, and decreases fatigue while it energizes the body.

Acerola Cherry – source, the Amazon of Brazil

The acerola cherry is one of nature’s most powerful fruits. It is high in antioxidants and it’s full of nutrients, vitamins (especially vitamin C) and minerals. This cherry supports the immune system and helps the body recover.

Red Beetroot – source, United States

Red Beetroot is naturally sweet and provides the light red color for the tablets. Beetroot contains bioactive compounds including nitrates, vitamin C, flavonoids, carotenoids and betalains. Together these compounds improve cognitive performance and provide essential nutrients that the body needs.

Green Tea Leaf – source, China

Each Voke Superfood Supplement contains 75 mg of natural caffeine derived from green tea leaves. They increase focus and memory function, improve mood and energize the body. Green tea leaf supports the body during physical exercise.

Voke Superfood Supplment in Edinburgh

Trying Voke Superfood Supplements in Edinburgh

The recommended dosage for the supplements is one chewable tablet in the morning and one midafternoon.

Debbie and I arrived in Edinburgh at 2:30 in the afternoon, sleep deprived and tired and yet excited to be in Scotland. Because we had the afternoon tea scheduled, we quickly unpacked at our apartment and opened our complimentary boxes of Voke Superfood Supplements.

We each took one tablet and grabbed a cab. By the time we arrived at Beetroot Sauvage Café, we noticed a definite lift in our energy and alertness. In fact, for as little sleep as we’d had, we did extremely well, enjoying our tea time and later walking to a grocery store near our apartment to stock up on groceries. Our weariness seemed to evaporate.

Ten Days of Supplements, Ten Days of Energy

For the next ten days, we took a tablet every morning, before leaving the apartment, and one most afternoons or early evenings, when we returned. I can truthfully say that I did not experience jet lag as I normally do. Yes, we retired early the first night there, and several other nights after very long days exploring Edinburgh and the Borders. However, we had energy to spare and I did very well physically, walking all over the city. While in Scotland we logged more than 40 miles of walking. I appreciated the natural boost that Volk Superfood Supplements gave me!

The only downside for me is that I do not like chewing supplements. I never have. I prefer to swallow a capsule. However, after experimenting with several options, we found that it was best to chew the supplements, after breaking them into four smaller pieces, and then wash them down with a glass of water. The taste isn’t prohibitive. In fact, knowing how natural they are helps me to accept them, with gratitude, just as they are.

Victoria Street EdinburghOne of the many streets we explored, and climbed, in Edinburgh. This is Victoria Street.

I Recommend Voke Superfood Supplements

Can I recommend this chewable supplement? Yes! By way of comparison, I did not take the tablets when I returned home from Scotland. As a result, I’ve felt extremely tired this past week, often falling asleep late afternoon as my body struggled with jet lag.

There’s a marked difference in how I felt while in Edinburgh and how I felt at home the first week. Only today, one week later, am I finally more myself, energy wise.

Voke Superfood Supplements will accompany me on every trip and adventure I embark on. I’m grateful for the opportunity to experience the difference these tablets make. And I look forward to traveling again, knowing I don’t have to miss a minute of my time in another country, due to jet lag and fatigue. That’s incredibly valuable to me!

Voke Supplement AppreciationDoing well, exploring Edinburgh.

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At Home on Thistle Street

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One difference, on this trip to Scotland, was using Edinburgh as home base. Rather than traveling around the country and staying in various accommodations, we stayed in the Braid Apartments in Edinburgh for the duration of our visit. We took several day trips into the Borders, however we returned to Edinburgh each evening.

Thistle Street, in the New Town section of Edinburgh, became home for 10 glorious days.

At Home on Thistle Street Title Meme

In the Heart of Edinburgh

When we planned this trip to Scotland, my sister Debbie and I gave our travel agent, Ken, very specific requests about accommodations. We hoped for a central location close to Old Town and within walking distance of Charlotte Square in New Town. When Clan Maitland activities began, we’d need to catch the bus in Charlotte Square.

Ken’s choice of the Braid Apartments on Thistle Street served us so well. We found ourselves located minutes from Princes Street, the Royal Mile, the hop on/hop off buses and Charlotte Square. In addition, we discovered nearby vegan restaurants and cafes, a grocery store and we easily located the specified meeting places for Maitland family teas and dinners. The location proved to be perfect!

Thistle Street ViewThe cobblestoned Thistle Street.

The History of Thistle Street

New Town, in Edinburgh, is not new by most standards! At more than 200 years old, it is only new in comparison with Old Town, which is considerably older.

New Town, created during the reign of King George III, is set up in a grid pattern with streets named after the king. There is a George Street and one named Princes, Queen Street and Hanover.

Two smaller streets in New Town represent the union of Scotland and England. Rose Street is named after England’s flower emblem, while Thistle Street represents Scotland’s national flower.

Thistle Street is a small commercial lane, filled with tiny shops, pubs, cafes, boutique hotels and apartments. The building that currently houses the Braid Apartments served as a hub for offices previously. The interior underwent a renovation two years ago, creating 20 modern apartments for short term leases, while retaining the charming exterior.

Braid Apartments Thistle Street

Window View on Thistle StreetView from the living room window.

At Home on Thistle Street

The cozy apartment on Thistle Street housed us well during our stay in Edinburgh. Large windows offer spectacular views of the city as it ambles down to the Firth of Forth.

The spacious rooms provide homey comfort and plenty of storage space. I loved unpacking and putting clothes away, rather than living out of a suitcase for 10 days. Apartment amenities include two large screen tvs, an ironing board and iron, a blow dryer, toiletries, use of a free cell phone, towels and robes and daily cleaning service.

My favorite room in the apartment was the large fully functional kitchen. The refrigerator, stove (called a hob in Scotland) and microwave meant we could cook at home. We shopped for groceries our first evening in Edinburgh and prepared healthy, wholesome meals during our stay, for a fraction of the cost of eating out. I enjoy cooking. And cooking in Edinburgh? Precious.

Cooking on Thistle Street

All the Conveniences of Home

The apartment also provides a dishwasher and all the kitchen essentials such as pots and pans, cutting knives, silverware, plates, cups and glasses. Braid Apartments stocked the kitchen with a large assortment of teas, a loaf of bread, milk, juice, jelly and butter. I loved the electric tea pot. It made creating cups of hot tea a snap.

A washer/dryer unit in the kitchen allowed us to do laundry, which was a great help. How wonderful to pack clean clothes for the trip home.

And due to the recent renovation, the bedroom has a wall air conditioning unit. Most buildings, homes, hotels, restaurants and businesses in Edinburgh do not have air conditioning, since Scotland is so cool, even in summer. However, during our visit a rare occurrence happened. All of Europe, including Scotland, experienced unusually hot temperatures, creating a host of heat related problems. Debbie and I felt gratitude for that air conditioner unit! We slept comfortably with it running. Thankfully the extreme heat only lasted a few days before more typical Scottish weather returned.

Apartments on Thistle StreetCute apartments across the street. I love the different colors on the doors.

Grateful for Thistle Street

During our stay, I became quite fond of our little apartment on Thistle Street. We spent most of our time out exploring Edinburgh or traveling with our Maitland/Lauderdale family members throughout the Borders. But as the days wound down and the light softened toward dusk, our steps always led us back to that quiet cobbled lane.

The Thistle Street apartment was many things during our visit: convenience, sanctuary, pit stop, shelter, personal café…and for 10 days, it was home. It’s where we dwelled in peace and comfort, rested tired feet, refreshed ourselves with healthy meals, pots of tea and hot showers, and set out on new adventures.

We felt sad, locking the door of the apartment for the last time, and yet grateful for all that it provided. I highly recommend the Braid Apartments at 27 Thistle Street, Edinburgh. I hope to stay there again…soon.

Check out this Guide to Edinburgh:

 


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