James just celebrated his 10th birthday but before I post those pictures I decided I would finally post the pictures from his 9th birthday which fell during our time in Scotland last year.
We started our day with French toast and presents and then told the children to pack for a surprise overnight trip. Once in the van, we headed out to spend the day at Falkland Palace and Lochleven Castle (to be a separate post).
Somewhere along the way we found some blackberry bushes. James is the "blackberry baby" because he was born in Scotland during blackberry season and his very first trip out of the house was to go pick blackberries, or rather to accompany us on our blackberry picking.
After our touring we told the kids we were headed to Edinburgh to spend the night on a boat!! James longs for boats. He wants to sail so badly. But it wasn't a sailboat we headed to but rather a riverboat!
Months earlier while researching possibilities for the trip I had come across the 4 Sisters Boatel and immediately started plans to figure out how we could stay there. But, there were obstacles left and right, one being the minimum of a 2-night stay. So we went to Scotland not thinking it would work out. But several weeks into our visit we were wracking our brains for something special for James' birthday and I checked the Boatel's website and lo and behold they had an offer for a one-night stay right on his birthday! That seemed very providential. We took it!
The kids were very excited. This was living the Swallows and Amazons dream as best we could!
There were bunk beds and a double bed and then more room in the lounge area for sleeping on couches and the floor.
A nice, long, narrow kitchen:
And a comfortable lounge with a massaging chair (which I got no time in).
I love the little port holes.
And the view of the canal out back, right in the heart of Edinburgh!
And here is the pretty pleased birthday boy.
Once we were settled on our boat we hit the streets to find a suitable place for dinner.
We found a very authentic Italian restaurant with delicious food!
Such a treat for everyone!
Sort of like camping.....on a river.
Then the morning came and we had some happy faces peering out of their beds.
The air was still and misty in the morning hours and it felt like a special treat to be in the city so early in the morning.
Here's another little happy camper:
The view out from the kitchen sink.
All the sailors:
We did have to pull ourselves away from the boat after awhile and make our way down the street for a proper breakfast.
Loudon's Cafe and Bakery was amazing. We all enjoyed picking something out to eat.
Look at that beautiful scone!
It was fun to be in such an amazing city with all the children, eating at a restaurant. Somehow it felt like they were in New York City with me since this is the kind of thing I do when I'm there.
I had a bacon roll and oolong tea. Can't get enough of bacon rolls because they don't make them here in the USA. You must have just the right texture of white bun and then the right kind of bacon too. They are amazing!
Finally we managed to pile everyone into two taxis and head off to Holyrood Palace to begin our day's adventures in the city.
I think James decided it was a pretty awesome birthday!