Erin in Florence

Hi! I'm Erin.

Welcome to my site! Here you'll find photos and stories from my adventures living in England and traveling Europe. I share my love for beautiful sprawling landscapes, rich history, diverse and delicious cuisine, and endless opportunities for adventure. 

Follow along!

Glamping in Scotland

Glamping in Scotland

Connor planned a surprise weekend getaway at the end of April and told me to bring warm clothes, my hiking pants, and a dress. I was tickled that he wanted to surprise me, and thrilled that I didn't have to do a thing to prepare or plan! We had a rental car, so I assumed we were headed to either Scotland or Cornwall. Within minutes of hitting the M6 I knew we north-bound, and later that day we pulled into Dundas Castle outside of Edinburgh where we would be glamping for the next 3 nights! 

You guys - glamping is everything I hoped it would be. En suite private bathroom with a hot shower and sink. Hot water bottles. A wood burning stove in our huge tent that was tall enough for Connor to stand. A real bed (more comfortable than my own). We had a grill on a nice deck looking out over the little loch that was home to quite a few varieties of birds. Including a very aggressive swan and a gaggle of noisy geese intent on protecting their babies. This "glampotel" was an eco friendly setup so all the lights were solar powered, there was a composting toilet (interesting), and eco soaps that smelled heavenly. 

We grilled every night while staying warm under the heat lamp, then retired into the tent for a cozy fire, glass of wine, and some card games. It was so peaceful and so relaxing. I recently read that sleeping outdoors resets your body clock and does wonders for insomniacs. It's also just a ton of fun and I highly recommend it.

*Click the pictures to enlarge the gallery.*

The castle grounds were filled with pheasants, we saw a fox twice, Connor spotted an owl, and a funny little pen of llamas guarded the main drive. The llamas saw Penny and came running to check her out. It was as if they thought their baby had escaped, acquired a jacket, and returned home. Penny growled and gave them the stink eye. Hilarious. 

Saturday morning we drove to a little town named Peebles and went for a lovely hike along the River Tweed. The route followed the river, looping in and out of fields and forest, skirted another old castle and a few ancient bridges. We saw so many tiny lambs - Scotland's season is clearly a month or so behind England's. Bonus! 

To my complete surprise and delight, there were rope swings peppered along our route. It brought me back to the days of building tree forts and playing lost kids in the woods with my brother and sister. Connor was a bit wary of my enthusiastic swinging, but I got him to try one :)

We spent Sunday in Edinburgh, enjoyed the castle, Victoria Street, and the Royal Mile one last time, and explored Dean Village which we missed on our first visit. This quaint little oasis away from the bustle of the city runs along the Water of Leith with nice walks, gardens, and beautiful old buildings. The village was built mainly as a milling center and it dates back to the 12th century. Today it's predominantly residential and many of the buildings have been nicely restored and preserved.

*Click the pictures to enlarge the gallery.*

Monday was sunny and beautiful so we stopped in tiny South Queensferry on the shores of the Firth of Forth for some views and coffee before driving home. The Forth Bridge (the red one) opened in 1890 and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized as a significant milestone in bridge construction and design. We had a decent view of the 3 bridges spanning the Forth from Dundas Castle's estate but I'm glad we took a closer look! The new Queensferry Crossing (white bridge) was beautiful from the castle grounds, towering above the forest. It's scheduled to open later this year as long as the weather cooperates.

Last but not least, we stopped at Ullswater in England's Lake District for a pub lunch to break up our drive. The M6 motorway passes both the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, two of our favorite areas for hiking and exploring, and we couldn't pass by without saying goodbye to at least one of them.

Gahhh if only we had time to hike those hills!! So gorgeous!! I need to start collecting ideas for hiking in the US Midwest. Leave me a comment if you've been hiking lately and tell me where I should go! 

xo 

Croatia's National Parks: Plitvice & Krka

Croatia's National Parks: Plitvice & Krka

Telford & the Ironbridge Gorge

Telford & the Ironbridge Gorge