“fit like” – greetings from the granite city, Aberdeen, Scotland

It was a really chilly morning when Joan and Stuart took me to Darlington train station to catch the train going north. I was bracing myself for colder weather up north in Scotland as the temperature normally tends to be a few degrees lower than that in England and wetter but I was very surprised to see the sun was out throughout the 5-hour journey north bound.

As the train crossing the border and moving further north I noticed the accent of the passengers and the train drivers started to change. When Corrina came and met me at Aberdeen train station and after listening to her blathering on for a moment I simply could not help but stopped her mid-sentence and commented on how Scottish she sounded! Well, I know I was being silly because she IS Scottish! I guess I just missed the accent and at the same time I needed a little time to get attuned to it after spending two weeks down south listening to a very different English accent!

It has been more than 8 years since I was last in Aberdeen for a holiday, and many more years in addition to that since I left the granite city to go home for good after I finished my studies. There have been quite a bit of changes since my last trip, the most obvious being a new shopping centre built next to the train station that housed many retail outlets and restaurants, and how deserted the main street, Union Street is after all of the bigger shops have moved to the shopping centres and it is now left with only bookies, pawn shops, charity shops and a few cafes and many vacant lots. Besides, many of the big chain stores have since closed down and are completely out of business in the UK! The blessed thing is after all these years the friendship I have with my few friends there remain unchanged!

It was a relaxing trip in Aberdeen as this was the last week of my holidays and I wanted to take things easy. Apart from the drizzles we had on the first day after I arrived and the day before I left, we were blessed with a few days of sunny weather in between (in Scotland in March!) for us to be out and about though it was still cold but I was all prepared with my layers and jackets. We went out for meals, had some lovely home cooked dinners, caught up with old friends and visited a garden and a couple of parks for me to enjoy the sun, the blue sky and the fresh air!

The Granite City, Aberdeen (21.03.2015 – 27.03.2015)

the granite city

the granite city

St. Nicholas Kirk, Aberdeen city centre

St. Nicholas Kirk, Aberdeen city centre

St. Nicholas Kirk, Aberdeen city centre

St. Nicholas Kirk, Aberdeen city centre

landscape of the west end of Aberdeen with the North Sea in a distance

landscape of the west end of Aberdeen with the North Sea in a distance

architecture of the granite city - the granite building looks less cold on a sunny day

architecture of the granite city – the granite building looks less cold on a sunny day

architecture of the granite city

architecture of the granite city

architecture of the granite city

architecture of the granite city

azalea in blooms

azalea in blooms

food…

only in Scotland!

only in Scotland!

fresh Scottish salmon from the local fishmonger - thoughtful Corrina prepared it for my dinner on the first night I arrived in Aberdeen

fresh Scottish salmon from the local fishmonger – thoughtful Corrina prepared it for my dinner on the first night I arrived in Aberdeen

I missed the Aberdeen rolls/butteries (I'll work on the calories when I get home) I managed to buy a couple of packets to bring home with healthier ingredients such as oat etc. and without the fat!

I missed the Aberdeen rolls/butteries (I’ll work on the calories when I get home)
I managed to buy a couple of packets to bring home with healthier ingredients such as oat etc. and without the fat!

"whale" and chips!

“whale” and chips!

Out to enjoy the sunny weather
Johnston Gardens (23.03.2015)

a walk to Johnston Garden

a walk to Johnston Gardens

Johnston Garden in March

Johnston Gardens in March

rhododendrons are blooming...

rhododendrons are blooming…

pleasing azaleas

pleasing azaleas

blooming azaleas along the pathway

blooming azaleas along the pathway

took this picture (Craigiebuckler Parish Church, Church of Scotland) on our way to Johnston Garden

took this picture (Craigiebuckler Parish Church, Church of Scotland) on our way to Johnston Gardens

on our way back after a stroll in Johnston Garden I simply could not resist to snap a picture of the seldom seen beautiful blue sky on a glorious sunny day in Scotland in March

on our way back after a stroll in Johnston Garden I simply could not resist to snap a picture of the seldom seen beautiful blue sky on a glorious sunny day in Scotland in March

Hazlehead Park (23.03.2015)
After our little visit to Johnston Gardens, we took advantage of the good weather and hopped in the car and continued our outdoor activities and went to Hazlehead Park nearby as I wanted to visit the North Sea Memorial.

the tragedy happened during my college days

the tragedy happened during my college days

North Sea Memorial for the Piper Alpha tragedy

North Sea Memorial for the Piper Alpha tragedy

Duthie Park (24.03.2015)
Another beautiful sunny day to be out and about…

the sun was out, the sky so blue and the park was quiet on a weekday

the sun was out, the sky so blue and the park was quiet on a weekday

leaveless branches against the clear blue sky

leaveless branches against the clear blue sky

though it was sunny, it was still chilly so Corrina and I went to the winter garden to get some heat

though it was sunny, it was still chilly so Corrina and I went to the winter garden to get some heat

spring flowers...

spring flowers…

lovely multiple petal amaryllis

lovely multiple petal amaryllis

In the Scottish rain (26.03.2015)
Alison whom I went to college with made her way to Aberdeen from Newtonmore in the Highland just to catch up with me. We went for a stroll in the drizzling rain at the beach front before more catching up over lunch and coffee.

I kept saying it was crazy to go for a walk at the beach front in the rain but going surfing in this weather???  That's madness!

I kept saying it was crazy to go for a walk at the beach front in the rain but going surfing in this weather and the cold??? That’s madness!

Union street in the rain (taken from the car)

Union street in the rain (taken from the car)

Union street in the rain (taken from the car)

Union street in the rain (taken from the car)

I heard that since I left the weather has not been that nice and they even had snow showers, both in England and Scotland! I was so fortunate to be blessed with mild weather throughout my 3-week holidays in the UK. It was a great 3-week break for me to get away from work and to see some lovely places, both old and new but most importantly, it was wonderful to catch up with some old friends as well as to make a few new ones. Hope it is not too long before I plan another trip back to the UK and see my friends again. Till then.

*****

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.
— Marcel Proust, French novelist

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