Monday, July 10, 2017

Heading to Scotland

I got back on Friday evening after spending sixteen days in Scotland.  I'll milk this trip for half dozen or so posts.  This is my first one.  Things will continue to be busy this week as I learned a few days before leaving that I was being called for Jury Duty, starting today!  Depending on whether or not I am seated on a jury will probably depend on how quickly I get around to check on everyone.  Take care!

Arthur's Seat, Edinburg

I boarded the plane in Boston at 5:30 PM, flying to Dublin and then on to Glasgow.  I’d slept maybe an hour on the flight from Savannah.  The airline agent said that dinner would be served 50 minutes from take-off, so I decided not to eat, figuring I’d have dinner and then sleep the rest of the way to Dublin.  So much for plans.  They didn’t feed us for nearly two hours, partly because of turbulence.  Trying to entertain myself, I read a bit then watched a stupid Irish comedy, “The Young Offenders.” It was about two guys on stolen bicycles looking for lost cocaine, in the hopes of making millions, while being hounded by the police.  The movie was over when my dinner arrived.  I ate.  When they finally picked up my tray, I tried to sleep the remaining three hours.  I wasn’t successful.  There were several more patches of turbulence which required instructions given at such a decibel that my earplugs only partly muffled it.  Each time, I woke, went back to sleep.  

Thanks to a nice tailwind, we landed in Dublin half an hour early.  It was 4:30 AM and the sun was rising.  I walked through the terminal, checked through immigration as flights from Ireland to Britain are no different than from one state to the next.  The terminal was nice and looked new—or at least they’d updated the lighting for everything was bright. Too bright.   They’d be no sleeping while waiting  After two hours, I boarded a prop plane for Glasgow and sat next to a delightfully talkative principal from Texas who was meeting her son and daughter-in-law in Scotland.  It was 8 AM when we arrived in Glasgow and in no time I had taken the bus to the train station in the city centre and was on a train for Edinburgh.  I was met at the station by Ewan.  We threw my bags in his car, dropped them off at his house.

View from Arthur's Seat
By 10:30 AM, we were off climbing Arthur’s Seat, a volcanic outcropping in Edinburgh.  It was cool and the wind was blowing and soon we were huffing and puffing as we climbed toward the rocky crest.  It was also humid, but the wind and cool temperature made it very comfortable.  Ewan pointed out the sights of the city.  Although I’d been in Edinburgh, this was the first time to climb this hill.  After climbing down, it was time for a late lunch, which we took at a seaside restaurant in Portobello, eating outside while looking out into the Firth of Leith.  

At lunch, I asked about the local beers and ordered one.  Surprisingly, Ewan ordered cranberry juice.  Then I learned that Ewan wasn’t drinking this year.  He’d decided to go dry every fourth year as a way to bring awareness to Scotland’s alcohol abuse problems.  I was a little dumbfounded, for in my luggage I’d brought him a bottle of Savannah bourbon.  He graciously accepted the gift and promised that on his birthday (the day he stops his fast) he’ll enjoy a drink and think of me.  

With Ewan, On Arthur's Seat

After a rather late lunch, we walked along the Portobello Beach, a community that Ewan represented when he was on the Edinburgh Council.   Later, we went up on Calton Hill, where he had more good views of Edinburgh and we continue to talk and catch up with each other.  He then too me to a park in Leith, a part of Edinburgh along the water, which in its day had warehouses holding casts of whisky.  There, Ewan showed me Leith Links, where golf was played on a seven hole course years before St. Andrews (or at least that’s what those in Edinburgh claim).  After photos, we drove back to Ewan’s home.  He had a formal engagement that evening (he was wearing his formal kilt).  I had dinner with Hilary, his wife, and as I had only a few hours of sleep the night before, was asleep soon after laying down.

 Tomorrow is Friday. I'll spend the day exploring Edinburgh on my own, catching sights I missed when I was here in 2011. On Saturday, I'll be on my way to Iona.

24 comments:

  1. What a pretty view. I look forward to more posts about your trip. Good luck with jury duty.

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  2. The closest I've come to Scotland is the Lake District just south of its border in England. It has always been on my bucket list someday and I hope to be able to cross it off in the years to come.

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  3. I've only been to Scotland once and that was over 40 years ago. So... milk this as long as you want to. I love traveling vicariously with others! Glad you're back safe and sound.

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  4. You're giving me itchy feet with all of this travel posting. Enjoy those Edinburgh closes! And "garde lieu." Just kidding. They don't do that anymore. . .do they?

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  5. I'm excited to travel this journey with you, and to return (in book form) with you. That's an honor. Thank you!

    I see two very nice long time friends in that photo. I've never been to Scotland or thereabouts. It looks as green and lush as I'd have imagined.

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  6. I don't know much about Scotland so I'll be enjoying your posts.

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  7. I look forward to reading more about your adventures. I'm headed to Ireland in August but won't make Scotland. I'm sure after reading of your visit I'll regret that!

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  8. Scotland in Summer is utterly delightful. -But you'd need a oil tanker filled with Deet following you.- In winter it can be remarkably oppressive. Especially in the capital where those stones so solid and homely in summer grow, and become things reaching out to swallow you.

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  9. Sounds like you stated off your vacation pretty good. Good luck on the jury duty.

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  10. On my one and only trip to England and Scotland, our flight over was delayed until 1am or so and then I was wide awake. I didn't sleep a wink, so by the time it was bedtime on the day of arrival - I slept like a rock and had overcome jet lag.

    I would love to go back to Edinburgh - I didn't get to see Arthur's Seat.

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  11. On the Dublin thing. I find that odd. Dublin is treated as if it's JFK or Atlanta for the passport controls. Meaning going from here to the US you are cleared here in Dublin and are in the USA. So I'd assumed once you boarded the plane in the US you didn't have to do much. And so the flight out of Dublin to the UK was treated as the first external flight you took. But I truly don't know from your side how it works, for usually entry to Ireland is de facto entry to the UK since we are a common travel area, and V-V. While entry to Schengen allows passage over 26 States on the Mainland.

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    1. I was actually surprised that the immigration control in Dublin meant that when I got to Glasgow, I could walk right out of the airport (as soon as I picked up my bag). Coming back, I checked back into the USA in Dublin, which almost made me miss my flight (they had to find me and move me to the front of a very long line), but once I got to JFK, it was like I was changing planes on domestic flights.

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  12. Hi Sage - how lovely to meet up with an old friend, Ewan - and then to be shown round ... I should think the walk up Arthur's seat blew the cobwebs away and no wonder you slept soundly! Sounds a great first day ... cheers Hilary

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  13. I’m so envious right now. Someday, I hope I can travel as much as you do. Have fun in Scotland!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  14. Goodness lucky you and now lucky us, I am really looking forward to these posts. My oldest girlfriend from Minnesota came with us to England when my daughter was over there, and now we're planning another trip, maybe where you are, (Wales) Ireland, somewhere, anywhere!

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  15. Welcome back! Sorry to hear you got jury duty, though. Doesn't give you much time to rest and get settled.

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  16. My wife and daughter had to deal with some flight delays on the first leg of their trip to Britain. The missed one of the two days they were in Edinburgh but after that the trip went pretty smoothly.

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  17. Wow, it's a small world. Not only were you visiting my home town but you climb Arthur's Seat with an acquaintance of mine! I've known Ewan for years!

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  18. It sounds as if your adventure is off to a great start. I look forward to hearing more of your travel tales. Lovely view!

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  19. Always nice to have a friend to show you around. Thanks for interesting information. Looking forward to the rest of your posts.

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  20. Sounds like you were ready for some sleep after that flight, I have never slept on any flights myself, it appears you had a great first day and after a good nights sleep the next will be better.

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  21. Just another reason why it's great to have good friends!

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  22. Belated welcome back wishes ...
    Enjoyed reading your post and seeing your photo's.

    All the best Jan

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