I decided my next trip would be a 'safari' a bit closer to home...in Aberfoyle.
I went on this trip with my uni friends, Suz, Sarah, Claire and baby Isla. We headed up on a Saturday afternoon and planned for a chilled evening with good food, drink and lots of catching up.
We were staying in Claire's parents caravan and it is in a gorgeous location. There is so much to do - we were actually spoiled for choice.
Sunday brought glorious sunshine to the caravan, and we had a lovely cooked breakfast from the supplies and got ready for our day out at Blair Drummond Safari Park.
Oh yes! Safari. I have been before but not in years. It was a nice day and not too strenuous an activity. We got to park fairly early and I have to say our timing was exceptional all day, it was busy but we seemed to just miss the queues. It makes you feel like you're winning.
We did the animal reserves first, up close and personal to the lions, deers and bison, luckily not all kept together. The lovely sunny warm day had made most of the animals a tad lazy. Nevertheless it was good, and baby Bambi was probably my favourite.
We then wandered to the cool as cucumber meerkats, penguins and otters before heading to quite possibly the highlight of the day.
We squeezed into two rows, fairly close to the front and that's when we met Lola, the sea lion, one of five lady sea lions at Blair Drummond.
I must say she had the audience in her flippers from the off, very adorable and extremely clever. The tricks and wee quirks were fantastic. Her 'give me an applause' trick was great and you couldn't help clap louder. Lucky for her I suppose as that meant more fish treats!
It was fun and an informative talk about sea lions - and their lifestyle. I must have hidden knowledge though, as I knew the two differences between them and seals before the keeper told us. Is that sad? It's the size of their flippers, seals are a lot smaller and seals don't have visible ears (just in case you were interested). We left the show all mightily impressed with Lola. Very clever animals.
From there we wandered along to my second favourite- the giraffes! Especially the extremely pale one even her pattern was a very light brown - I identified with her, I'm presuming it was a her. The elegant animals took a wee stroll out their enclosure long enough for a giraffe selfie (a must obviously) and we watched them, what else do you do?
We sauntered to see some very sad looking elephants, another magnificent animal, maybe they were just fed up in the heat, it did make you realise this isn't their natural habit, however that's another debate I suppose.
From the Elephants, myself, Claire and Isla took the boat ride to see chimpanzee island. We certainly saw some ducks, the island and one Chimpanzee sleeping within view of the boat. So not worth the long wait in the queue but the queue as we got back was double the size so a small victory and a wee pleasant boat journey all the same. Isla seemed to enjoy it too.
Back to the car via the rhinos and lion walkway. All sleepy animals. We were tiring ourselves in the heat so not that surprising.
I certainly enjoyed it. We all did, there was lots to do and see, and if you had youngsters the swing park looked awesome. They also had BBQ's and lots of picnic spots. A good family day out I'd say.
Later on, we went to the Forth Inn, which gets rave reviews on Trip Advisor for dinner and the food was lovely. And back at the caravan, we settled around the table and out came the scrabble. Now secretly or maybe not so secretly - who doesn't love a board game? Ok, maybe it's another sign of age but it's one I don't care, I had so much fun.
Scrabble might not be to everyone's taste but we loved it. Thesaurus at the ready, (no dictionary - sure it's the same thing) no plurals, no two letter words that aren't in common use and we had set down the ground rules. Old school!
Sarah pretty much ran away with high scoring early on so there was no way we could catch up to beat her, we just had such a laugh. It really was great. We somehow convinced ourselves for a second game. The scores were so close and we all got very competitive. Claire won second game, I was second in both games, shows consistency- I'm happy with that.
On Monday, we took a stroll in Aberfoyle and had a look around some of the quirky wee shops, Tablet and fridge magnet purchased and we were on our way back to Glasgow. A fantastic weekend, with fantastic ladies. Thank you so much.
Sweet 16, sun, safari and scrabble! Done!