12.40. Tee-off at The Old Course. I hauled out the driver again. Don’t duff, don’t duff, don’t duff, not now…An audience and a starter follows your every move, judging…But hey, I managed to get the ball in the air and off we went.
For the first time in my life I had a caddie. I didn’t think it was going to make a difference but I had to try it. It was all worth it. From my perspective I played a round of dream golf and managed to finish the course on my handicap.
It’s a great course and the feeling to swing your way out of the same bunkers as you seen the professionals handle on TV is a love story. I managed a birdie on the 16th followed by cheering from four hardened caddies and my hear was pounding when my driver at the 17th just barely finds its way over the hotel and you know that you can reach the green on two. You can feel hundreds of people looking at you when you cross the world famous bridge between the 17th and the 18th and right here you realize that you want to come back again and again. St. Andrews is a golfers paradise.
Today we got the message that we had been waiting for. It was time to play the Old Course…on Monday. We had planned to go back home this afternoon but this opportunity was to good to miss out on.
An early tee-off at the Castle Course at the break of dawn was captivating. It was probably the most beautiful nature scenery I’ve ever seen! The course was really hard with many blind holes. My game was dreadful, but the view made up for it and I kept smiling. If you ever come to Scotland you simply must play on the Castle Course!
After holed out at the 18th with seventeen points in my pocket we hurried over to the Dukes. We wanted to play another 18 holes and we got there in a golf car to manage this before sun down. This same evening we ended up at the hotel bar, tasting whisky.
We wanted to play on the Old Course today but we lost the daily lottery so we headed for The New Course instead. It’s a beautiful links course in direct connection to it’s big brother. Third time in a row I missed stroked with the driver and decided to use the iron clubs in the future. The New Course became somewhat of a favourite, with no wind it’s a quite easy course and I managed to collect 37 points and lowered myself to 17,1. Nothing to brag about, but still…
We managed to stream the last soccer match of the World Cup Qualification between Sweden and Denmark on the hotel room. We had snacks and beer and a bottle of bubbles to celebrate the victory – however the result 0-1 put us down, at least for a while. Pretty soon we were on our way to Dundee to see what this town had to offer.
Måns Zelmerlöw, went to Scotland and fell in love with the people, the nature and of course – the golf. Here’s his second post from the trip. (Part 1)
Day two began with a great breakfast on the fourth floor. Here you can enjoy everything from black pudding to freshly baked cup cakes.
Tee-off at Kingsbarns was at lunch. I had heard great stuff about this course and my expectations were high. And they came through, this is a great course and it contains some of the most beautiful golf holes I’ve ever seen. And it’s a long course. This particular day it was windy with occasional dizzles. Needless to say this had an effect on my game, but even so I must recommend the course. Completely torn by the wind and on shivering legs we returned to the hotel to what we expected to be a calm and cosy dinner together with Helen and Fiona from the hotel management. It got cosy, but far away from calm.
The dinner turned into a pub round in St. Andrews and we ended up at a student party, the only place that was open after midnight. The guards eventually let us in and we spent ten minutes inside before they closed the place down and we returned home to the hotel, tired and weary.
We are delighted to present our latest special guest on the blog. Swedish Celebrity, Måns Zelmerlöw, went to Scotland and fell in love with the people, the nature and of course – the golf. Follow him the next days as we will publish five posts that covers his entire trip. Scotland welcomes you back Måns!
I never thought that I would be so delighted. I was stunned by the nature, the people and the country and I’m now determined to return soon, very soon. Even though I only experienced a small peace of Scotland, I’m still overwhelmed. Six rounds of golf, a hotel and a small city centre by night made me feel so much love for this country.
St. Andrews is a picturesque town, it’s a nice mixture of older beautiful buildings, modern university architecture, genuine Scottish pubs, and quite a few golf shops. It’s obvious that golf has a great impact here. One of the oldest courses in the world, The Old Course lays just a stone’s throw away.
The Old Course Hotel is situated at the 17th hole and the view is spectacular. There’s really nothing to complain about here. The staff is always helpfull and in a good mood, the food is great and the Kohler Spa is a perfect place to relax after a round of golf.
The courses in and around St. Andrews has everything that you could wish for. You’ll find fairways as short cut as greens back home, the deepest bunkers I’ve ever seen and stunning views of the sea and the Scottish wide open landscape. The greens made me think of the E4 motorway in Sweden and there’s no stopping of the ball after a nice approach game, at least not for me.
I have to admit that it wasn’t a round of dram golf for me here. After six rounds I leveraged 23 points per round. If I only could blame it on the wind! During five days at St. Andrews the wind was only blowing one day and to me it seemed like a storm. The people of St. Andrews called it a “light breeze”.
The journey, Thursday
Me and my friend arrived to Edinburgh via Amsterdam. We picked up our rental car and headed for the Mecca of golf. The trip was going to take 40 minutes but we landed on the double, even though we had a map and a GPS. We missed tee-off at The Dukes but the hotel helped and arranged a new time. After a plate of bangers and mash at the hotel pub, The Jigger Inn, it was time to tee-off again. I had heard horror stories about other Swedish players that made trial swings at first tee just to get thrown of the course. Hence I avoided doing this and as a result I duffed the drive half way to the ladies tee. And all this in front of a increasingly sceptic Scottish starter.
The Dukes has quite a few really nice holes but the course didn’t entirely convince me about the greatness of the Scottish courses. It could easily be compared to a good Swedish course, with long, wide fairways and beautiful views. But I was missing that little extra.
The planned afternoon powernap turned into a 12 hour deep sleep and I missed out on both dinner and whisky tasting.
See you soon,
I spent three wonderful days in Edinburgh to celebrate my dad´s 75th birthday. We were a family of 10 from ages 12 upwards … Edinburgh has something for everyone ! Here are some highlights from my trip.
Abercorn Guest House just outside central Edinburgh (Portobello) was fantastic ! A delightful couple who owned the place, who were always happy to help. Only a few minutes walk away from the beach and bus into town (bus took about 15 minutes).
The Royal Yacht Britannia. This magnificent ship was home to Her Majesty The Queen and Royal Family. I loved the dining room with gifts from all over the world. Very good audio commentary. The latest is that they even serve afternoon teas on this yacht !
We had a lot of fun at “Camera Obscura” enjoying spectacular rooftop views as well as amazing optical experiences.
For jazz lovers a must is a visit to “The Jazz Bar” on 14 Chambers Street. On Saturdays they have afternoon jazz from 3-6pm which is easier for youngsters to come along to (14-17 ) Poor Joely 12 couldn´t join us so her mum and her did some therapy shopping instead, whilst the rest of us sat in this cool basement bar listening to live music. A special treat for the birthday boy who loves that sound of jazz !
One evening at 9pm we dared “The Cadies & Witchery Tours” with our guide Adam Lyal a deceased highwayman who was executed in Edinburgh´s Grassmarket on 27th March 1811. He lead us through the dark courtyards and alleyways of the Old Town telling tales of witchcraft, tortue, plague, along with a group of about 30 people. Not only scary at times but amusing ?!
We also visited “The Edinburgh Dungeon”. With many shows & displays this is a wealth of gruesome discovery ! We loved the “Drop Ride to Doom”.
Most of these attractions that we did (excluding “The Royal Yacht”) are included in the Edinburgh Pass which can be bought in our webshop. Super value, even includes local bus service and Airlink tickets from the airport, as well as restaurant discounts.
Last but not least, my final tip is a restaurant “The Dome” (The Grill Room). Beautiful place, fantastic meals, my nephew said “It was the best meal he had ever eaten” ! My neice visited the restrooms about 6 times, she had never experienced such lovely toilets ! Well worth a visit for maybe that special occasion such as a 75th birthday celebration.
Next year it is mum´s 70th birthday and looks like we will all meet up again for a trip somewhere in Englands South Coast, any tips ?
- Jackie -
Dartmoor in South-Eastern England is best known for the Sherlock Holmes-novel ” Hound of the Baskervilles”, but don’t worry, you won’t meet any giant blood-thirsty dogs now!
Our holiday this year in Devon and Cornwall began in Dartmoor, and our accomodation was The Barton, in the small village of Belstone, near Okehampton on the northern edge of Dartmoor. It’s an old house with a great atmosphere, and we were welcomed with a Devon cream tea, just the right thing after the long drive from the airport. We had found The Barton on the internet and we were not disappointed.
We had planned to do some walking while we were there, and had found several websites on the subject. On the website of the Dartmoor National Park Authority you can find a diary of guided walks, lasting from 1 to 6 hours. You simply meet on a parking place at a certain time, and a guide is ready to take you around the moor for a small fee. With a guide you learn a lot of interesting facts about Dartmoor, and some funny stories as well.
If you want to walk on your own, you can find a great selection of walks on Dartmoor Walks, but be aware of sudden weather changes and the fact that Dartmoor really IS big country, and you can easily loose your sense of direction if you are not a skilled walker.
There are plenty of villages with pubs and tea rooms when you need a break. We had a great time in Dartmoor and warmly recommend it!
Our Swedish winner, Hanna Ullerstam, from the My Own London competition we had last year, tells us about her weekend in London:
In the beginning of spring 2009 I was contacted by VisitBritain and told that I had won a weekend in London for two. Of course I got really excited! I got to pick a weekend whenever I wanted and so because my summer was already booked, we decided on a weekend in the beginning of September. And since the beginning of autumn in London usually is warm and pleasant this was also a good choice. My travel friend changed from my boyfriend to my mother when my boyfriend got a job offer he couldn’t refuse. And this was also good in one way, you see my mother was together with an Englishman in her youth when she was 15 to 25 so she kind of knows London inside and out. Still. Because even if time has changed, London has also changed, but yet not. A lot of things stay the same. The good stuff stays the same.
So it was on the morning on Friday the 18th of September when we left Stockholm for London with British Airways. The prize included the flight, an Oyster card for the subway, hotel and a London pass that gives you entrance to a lot of exciting attractions in London. We landed safely after a pleasant journey and went to our hotel. We lived in the middle of everything at the Radisson Edwardian Mountbatten Hotel which was close to Covent garden. After quickly unpacking and taking a shower we hit the city. We had a walk to Covent Garden and looked at all the street performers that crowded the streets; magicians, jugglers and comedians. The evening was sunny and warm, and life felt just great! Then we went to an English pub at “The Strand” where we enjoyed fish and chips and a large beer. Compared to the fish and chips you get at the English coasts this was nothing, but compared to the Swedish fish and chips, this was heaven! Then we decided to see a play. I work as an actress in Sweden and my mother is really interested in the theatre as well, so where should we go to see a play if not in London! We decided to see “Speaking in tongues” at the Duke of York Theatre. We decided to go directly to the theatre to try to get cheap seats, and we got lucky. Really cheap seats in the 4th row. The play was so good, with brilliant actors! After this we went back to the hotel and slept like babies…
Tomorrow you can read the rest of Hanna’s story about her trip to London.
Are you planning a trip to London before Christmas? Click here to read more about London
- Hanne -
Still a grey and rainy day when we approached Loch Ness. This mysterious lake is huge!! Actually it can fit all people living on this earth,- and of course, a sea monster! We didn’t actually see it but the Loch Ness Visitor Centre told us all about how people through generations has been looking, photographing, filming, diving etc. to actually find this monster.
Urquhart Castle is an old castle ruin dated back to the 13th century. The castle has been destroyed and rebuild several times and it’s history throughout its 500 years as a medieval fortress was particularly bloody. Following Edward I’s invasion, it fell into English hands and was then reclaimed and lost again. In the 14th century, it figured prominently in the Scots’ struggle for independence and came under the control of Robert the Bruce after he became King of Scots. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle and glen were frequently raided from the west by the ambitious MacDonald Lords of the Isles. The castle is rather impressive and well worth a visit.
We headed off to Inverness and our hotel by the Ness river. The Columba Hotel is set in a Victorian building with nice rooms, rather old though. Our kids bathroom was a walk down the British memory lane!
A bit expensive but very central with a few minutes walk to city centre and a nice view over the Inverness castle. This town is not too big with good shopping and several nice restaurants. We had a great Indian dinner at the Cinnamon restaurant and then my husband and I visited Hootananny, the local pub known for it’s live Scottish music and guys in kilts. Then again, they only come out for weekends, so when we visited the pub the music was fabulous, the local Black Isles beer tasty, but no kilts around – and still no hairy cows! We might find them tomorrow when we will visit the battlefield of Culloden, Cawdor castle and the sandy beaches of Nairn. Hang on!
In part two Ingemar finally reaches Silverstone, and he has a lot to tell about the festival:
“On Friday morning I start driving towards Silverstone, but first I make a stop in Northampton to get more cash and visit their City Museum, where I learn that people thought London was supposed to grow all the way out to Northampton in the 1960s.
When I arrive at Silverstone, I check in at MINI United and take a walk around Silverstone. There’s a lot to see, like the ‘Racing-tent’ with Swedish drivers, MINI history from 1959 to 2009, where you could see MINI in different shapes in time, a presentation of all the Minis that are on the market right now, the many MINI-clubs but not the Swedish, and a big tent with restaurant, selling of original parts, merchandise and tickets to different MINI-events.
I leave the festival at around 6 pm to drive down to Luton. I take the road through Stowe and Buckingham and end up in Bletchley Park at Milton Keys. I recognized the name from the history books and hoped to find a museum or something, but the only thing I found was a gate with security guards and cameras. Not very hospitable, probably still military. So I left Milton Keys very fast.
I found cheap bedrooms at Quality Hotel Luton Airport, which despite the name was situated in the town centre. The hotel parking was perfect and the hotel was fine, but beyond that, Luton is a very dull place and not recommendable for tourists.
The next day I go back to United to get tickets for an event at the festival. After that I take a drive passed Towcester Racecourse and end up in the beautiful village of Stoke Bruerne, where I visited the Grand Union Canal, a museum well worth the visit if you’re into history.
Back at the festival I find a new toy called ‘the Trikke’, which can best be described as down-hill skiing on wheels. I intended to see the race for the new Minis on the racetrack, but after a start failure, I miss the race because of the event ‘Improve your skills 2’ that I had tickets to. At the event you got to try the cars breaking capacity by reversing, steering, breaking and then trying to get back on track forward again. Stay for the ‘Special Night of Rock’ and see Paul Weller perform before I give up for the day”
Here are the links for the places Ingemar visits in part two:
Bletchley Park Museum
Stoke Bruerne Canal Museum