Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2016 brings you prosperity, renewed health, lots of adventure travel and scrumptious meals.
I meant to publish this post last week but due to illness and jetlag, that didn’t happen 🙁 .
For the Christmas holiday, we traveled from mild Dubai weather to cold and breezy Scotland to spend the week with Scotch’s family. Although the weather was miserable, it was great to spend the holidays with family.
We flew Etihad Airways for the first time which operates direct from Abu Dhabi to Edinburgh. There wasn’t anything special about the airline or airport that would make me inclined to choose those flights again. You can read more about that here.
First order of business after landing in Edinburgh – belated birthday presents from the grandparents to Wee Scotch and Li’L Ginger. Their presents were in boxes that seemed bigger than their little bodies!
Wee Scotch got this awesome “bug hotel” for his bug collection which we will leave in Scotland and not bring back to Dubai with us as there’s more interesting bugs to be collected in the grandparents house.
Li’L Ginger received a bug suitcase which she loves because she can be just like mommy, daddy and her big brother when traveling.
Next order of business, going to a Christmas tree farm and choosing a nice 5-foot pine which was then cut down for us.
The ground was quite muddy after all the rain and I was victim to the muddiness, falling on my bum, breaking my fall with my wrists.
After the tree was placed in its location in the family room, Wee Scotch and Li’L Ginger enthusiastically placed all the decorations onto the branches.
I always seem to catch a “Scottish cold” when in Scotland due to my allergies and my in-laws are thoughtful to place a box of tissues in every room which I eventually go through by week’s end.
I love these “mansize” tissues although the name always makes me giggle. Mansize – haha!
The stockings were filled to the brim on Christmas eve. On Christmas day, there were 6 kids furiously unwrapping presents and jumping up and down with excitement at their new toys.
Christmas dinner was like American Thanksgiving with roast turkey and stuffing and lots of sides. Scotch’s mom made these awesome roasted parsnip with a Parmesan crust – they were perfectly crispy on the outside. I can’t wait to try to make them myself at home in Dubai.
And these were our (Wee Scotch and mine) first attempt at making our own Christmas cookies (made in Dubai). We weren’t very skilled at the icing as you can see – definitely lots of room for improvement and a whole year to practice!
Well, Cheers and hope everyone celebrating had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
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*Regarding our Etihad Airways flight: We had a 2am departure out of Abu Dhabi and that meant we had to leave Dubai at 11pm with 2 sleepy kids for the 50-minute cab journey to AUD airport (if you take the free Etihad shuttle, you should allocate much more time).
Our departure gate was at the farthest part of the airport because our plane didn’t have it’s own jet bridge so we had to to take a shuttle bus to the tarmac area which meant more hassles of getting luggage and children on and off a bus and up a flight of stairs to the plane.
The Etihad “Flying Nanny” did nothing on either of our flights other than hand out the kids’ activity packs which had colored pencils, coloring and sticker book, tic-tac-toe game and snap cards. On the flight to Scotland, at least the Nanny introduced herself but no introductions on the flight back to Dubai.
The flight back to Dubai was an 8am flight out of Edinburgh so we were up at 4:30am(!) to get ready. The flight was uneventful but and we were able to get a little bit of sleep. Bizarrely, the only offering for the children’s 2nd Kids Meal (pre-ordered) was a very spicy chicken calzone. I don’t know who would consider anything spicy to be child-friendly.
Upon landing back at Abu Dhabi airport, the immigration line was incredibly long. After waiting 20 minutes, we barely moved through 20% of the line and the kids were going stir-crazy after sitting for 7 hours. Luckily a family queue was opened up and that meant we only lined up for a further 10 minutes.
After getting our luggage, which had thankfully all arrived at baggage claim considering how long we spent on the immigration line, we hopped in a taxi for the 50-minute drive back to Dubai.