Our final week in the UK was spent in this gritty town just south of Glasgow. We knew we’d need some time to prepare for our exit — to do laundry, ship items home, donate a final round of belongings to charity shops, etc. — and Ayr’s location was convenient. We could easily made day trips to Glasgow by train, there were things to see nearby (like Robert Burns’ birthplace in neighboring Alloway), and when the time came we’d be able to take the train to the Glasgow airport for our flight to Iceland. As it turned out, we didn’t make a single trip to Glasgow or anywhere else during our stay. We were all travel weary after being on the move for over six weeks (a month in the camper, a week in Edinburgh, a week in the Lake District, and most of a week in Canterbury before that), and used the time to rest and recuperate. We made daily outings to explore bits of Ayr and run errands, and got the impression that it had been hit hard by the economic downturn. On some stretches it seemed like half of the storefronts were empty and the other half were pawn shops. Still, the city has a lot going for it, with some lovely old buildings and bridges, the river, and a sea-side location.
Our most frequent outings were the treks to the enormous sea-side play park so the kids could get some exercise and burn off some excess energy. There were a variety of different play areas and equipment. The “pirate ship” was a big hit with Flora and Charlie, but they couldn’t resist the pull of the big-kid slides.
Like moths to flame, the kids were drawn to the towering mega-slides. Flora worked up the courage to try the smaller of the two slides, but got scared and screeched to a halt partway down. The girl behind her thought she was stuck and tried to help free her, which only made matters worse. When Flora eventually made it down she was a terrified wreck, so imagine our surprise when a few minutes later she decided to tackle the even larger corkscrew slide! Dad went up the ladders with her (all three), and mom waited to retrieve the pieces below.
She emerged an adrenaline junkie. She couldn’t get enough of that slide — and neither could Charlie! They made many a run up the tower in the days to come. Thankfully nobody got seriously hurt, though Charlie made a couple of descents that sounded like someone had tumbled a sack of potatoes down the chute, and he accumulated some bumps and bruises.
In the end, while we didn’t see any of the surrounding attractions, our stay in Ayr served its purpose: We rested and regrouped for our UK exit and our upcoming week in Iceland.