Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Scotland Day 1

I just returned from a whirlwind trip to Scotland and am still trying to get back into things here in Montreal.  A few days before we left on our trip, we acquired some house guests (a young family who is immigrating from Venezuela to Montreal and staying with us until they find their own place) and they were kind enough to take care of Jazz and our condo while we were away.  It is always a joy to help people out who are new to Montreal, but is also means that my writing/thinking/studying time is usually cut back.  So this is the first time in a few weeks that I have had some time to write here.

So...Scotland.  Where do I start?  There were so many wonderful experiences and quite a few complications, which is normal in any trip that is as involved as ours was.  We drove to Toronto, flew from there into Glasgow, drove through Loch Lomond Park, visited the Isle of Mull, the Isle of Iona, Stirling, Doune, St. Andrews, Arbroath, Ethie, Inverkeilor, Lunan Bay, and Edinburgh.  We stayed at 6 different hotels/bed and breakfasts, drove over 650 miles, took 4 ferries, 3 buses, 3 taxi rides, and walked and climbed and walked and climbed and walked.  No wonder I'm still a bit tired!

It is hard to pick just one highlight, so perhaps I will briefly outline each day of our trip in the next few blogs.  Writing about my experiences is probably more about helping me process and think about what happened than about offering an enjoyable travelogue, but hopefully both purposes can co-exist.

DAY ONE:

After stopping for chocolate croissants at a local patisserie on Saturday around noon, Dean and I drove to Toronto to catch our flight to Glasgow.  We decided to fly out of Toronto instead of Montreal because it saved us over $600 between the two of us.  The times of our initial booking also meant that we would not have to drive late into the night or early in the morning when commuting from Montreal.  However, once we arrived at the Toronto airport, we were informed that the flight was delayed by 3.5 hours.  This wasn't a major glitch, but it did mean that we would be quite tired when we arrived in Glasgow.  Nevertheless, we decided to make the best of it and have a romantic dinner in the airport (which is totally possible, in case you are wondering).  At 1:25 am on Sunday, our flight finally took off from Toronto.  I promptly fell asleep and missed the complimentary champagne they served once we hit cruising altitude.  After a night of dozing off and on, we landed in sunny Glasgow at around 1:30 in the afternoon.  Yay!  The next challenge was picking up our rental car and getting right onto the busy M8 (Dean had never driven on the left side of the road or shifted with his left hand before).

Stay tuned...

the photo:  some of the scenery on the way to Toronto.

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