When we had Fiona we said when she was no longer with us we were going to travel abroad. It took us 9 months after we lost her to start to plan a trip. Scotland and Ireland were the first places we wanted to visit.
A couple of years ago as I was writing out Christmas cards I came across an address for our old friends, Mike and Cherilyn McBride. We fell out of contact after they moved from the desert. I didn’t know if they lived at the same address after close to 20 years, but I thought what the heck, I send them a card and see what happens. The next thing I know I get a Facebook friend request from Cherilyn! Then after a year of liking and commenting on each others posts, and chatting we decided we were two peas in a pod and Paul and Mike were too! The guys worked together at Cathedral City Fire Department before Mike left for San Diego Fire where he is still a Battalion Chief. I told Cherilyn that we wanted to take a trip to Ireland and Scotland and right away she was on board for them to join us. Since Paul and I have no schedule, we worked around theirs and decided on two weeks in Scotland.
We met them in Glasgow and stayed at an air bnb for a couple of nights. We flew out of Spokane to Seattle, then Iceland to Glasgow. Paul and I got there 6 hours before they did. With driving on the wrong side of the road, from the wrong side of the car, that was a manual, we decided to navigate the city as little as possible. Of course, we got lost as soon as we left the rental company. So we found somewhere to buy food and adult beverages close to the flat, and rested until they got there. We thought it would be an early night since all of us traveled all night and part of the day to get there. I think it was 18 hours from our door to the flat in Glasgow. Go to bed early? I should have known better. We ended up staying up late drinking and making up for lost time, and well, lost luggage. Two of their bags didn’t make it for a couple of days and they had to run down to the store we found to buy some essentials.
Finding a restaurant with a table available during Sunday brunch proved difficult. We finally found a place that I had already had plans to go for BBQ one night. If you know me at all, you know I always research restaurants before I go anywhere to check out the menu. I never thought I’d need to look at what restaurants serve for breakfast because what else besides, pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, and the like would you eat for breakfast? I found out soon enough, the answer is black pudding, beans, haggis, tomatoes, and sausage that isn’t at all like breakfast sausage we know. Also if you order bacon, it’s actually ham. Unless you order stringy bacon and it’s more like bacony ham.
We spent the day walking around Glasgow. I wanted to see the Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis. It’s the oldest cathedral in Scotland, built in 1197 with post war stained glass. The Necropolis is a beautiful old cemetery.
Cherilyn wanted to see the Sharmanka Kinetic Theater, which was moving puppets and sculptures timed in sequence to music. It was interesting, but Paul says that was 8 million hours of his life he will never get back! He still says Cherilyn owes him one.
The next five days we stayed in southwest Scotland in the little country town of Dailly at the McBrides timeshare. From our home base there, we took day trips to Ayr and up the west coast, a train to Edinburgh, and a ferry to Belfast, Northern Ireland. Of course, at zero dark thirty, in the falling snow, on a country road, in the middle of nowhere, Paul hit the curb and got a flat! Mike and Paul fixed the flat and we still made it to the ferry on time.
The next week our home base was a timeshare in Kenmore, near Aberfeldy. From there we took a day trip by train to Stirling, and drove to St Andrews on the east coast, and up to Inverness, because you can’t miss Loch Ness when in Scotland!
The two weeks went by in an actioned packed blur! We took a scenic drive around Loch Lomand to a hotel right at the airport. Staying close to the airport made the next long day of travel a little easier. We arrived in Spokane in the middle of the night and stayed at the hotel near that airport since we’d been awake over 24 hours. That’s the only part of traveling I dread, but wouldn’t trade the experiences we had and the things we got to see for anything. I highly recommend visiting Scotland! Especially in the winter with no other tourists.
Who has ever had to take a bus from the airport gate to the plane? This was in Iceland.
P.S. If you think you’ll be able to understand the Scottish dialect because you watch Outlander, think again! It’s like a whole other language they speak on the streets there! Paul swears he couldn’t understand a word they said as soon as they landed. Luckily, he had me! And that’s not saying much.