Day 1 Scotland the Great!

Finally in Edinburgh after a couple of long flights. The fog bank that greeted us quickly cleared revealing the beautiful history, architecture, and gardens of the city.

The weather felt much like Maine this time of year. Stay in the sun, and it’s flip flops & shorty-shorts weather. Move to the shade and the fleece and socks are more appropriate.

Our first stop was an early check-in (thank you Dave) at our hotel near the Royal Mile. The Ibis is a funky, modern spot where we will rest our weary heads for two nights. It’s a great, centrally located spot to walk the Royal Mile and other areas. The rooms are wee and a little odd (took us awhile to figure out how to turn the lights on!) but it’s a good location and the price was right. Certainly geared towards the younger modern set.

Because the weather was so stunning, we decided to venture up to visit Edinburgh Castle. We didn’t pay to do the tour as we did five years ago, but just walked in the main gates. It rained when we visit last time, so this was very nice.

Duncan keeping watch

We then headed out on the hop-on hop-off bus tour and got the tour of the city again with guided narration by a live person. We actually visited a few spots we hadn’t picked up last time. It was also a good way to rest and not exert ourselves to much as we were both pretty tired, but excited.

Our stop for lunch was at The Dome. A former bank, it now consists of several restaurants, bars, and event rooms. However, the Grill Room is by far the most outstanding. An amazing domed ceiling, huge columns, a round bar, spectacular flower arrangements (although they may have been artificial), and beautiful chandeliers. You entered another era in this building and our fleece jackets and sneakers felt very out of place, but the staff treated us wonderfully and we enjoyed some sandwiches and a drink.

Afterwards, Dave and I walked to the Sir Walter Scot Monument. Stunning architecture honoring this famous Scottish literary giant. You CAN walk up to the top, but with over 200 cement spiral steps, I declined!

Then we hopped on the tour bus again and visited the National Museum of Scotland. We chose to limit the exhibits we visited to Scottish history and REALLY enjoyed some of the amazing historical artifacts displayed there and there is a stunning atrium with a glass ceiling.

There is also a lovely terrace garden on the roof with spectacular views of the city. It was then that the dreaded jet lag hit us…and hit us hard! After a slow walk back to the hotel, we both promptly collapsed and napped for a good two hours.

After the refreshing nap, we walked down to The Royal Mile Tavern for a good pub meal. Fish n’Chips and Guinness were in order. We were disappointed they didn’t carry Belhaven ale, our favorite Scottish ale, and the fish was not that great. We’ll do better next time.

With daylight still going strong near 9 p.m., we continued to walk around the Royal Mile, window shop, and took more photos.

We saw and heard several bagpipers today and everyone we met couldn’t have been nicer. Glad to be back Scotland!

Dave and I have a taken MANY photos and if get enough energy to post them all, I will try to while we’re here, but it may not happen until we’re home from the trip itself.

Day 0 – Travel Day

I always count the day/night we fly over to Europe as day zero because we basically lose a good chunk of a day. Thankfully, the weather gods were smiling and our two bus trips and two flights went off without a hitch.

This was our first time flying with Aer Lingus. We had to wait at Logan Airport in Boston for almost an hour and a half on the outer fringes of the airport because there were no Aer Lingus employees there to staff the check in. Interesting they always tell you to get there two-to-three hours early to avoid delays. Frustrating to say the least. We weren’t able sit down and rest with our luggage comfortably and get a bite to eat because we weren’t in the actual airport where all the good stuff lived…like food and better seating.

Once that got straightened out, everything else went very smoothly. Other than not being able to understand the head flight attendant on the loudspeaker (think of the teacher on The Peanuts cartoons) and the sheer audacity of an Irish airlines to not have tea on board, we were happy with the experience. The meals were actually terrific. One drink option, then a beef meal and a yummy blueberry muffin with orange juice about an hour before landing.

Neither one of us slept on the flight. Oh, joy!

Our flight landed in Dublin at the lovely hour of 4:30 a.m. Dublin time. Our body clocks said it was about 11:00. We had a brief stay here then headed out to our walk-on prop plane to fly to Edinburgh. Although the plane looked scary, it was actually great with some incredible views over Scotland. Sadly, as we descended, the fog bank took over and we weren’t sure we’d actually SEE much of Edinburgh, but it turned out great.

We’re both so happy to be in Scotland again!

You Call that Irish?2

We made it safely to Dublin, Ireland, but we’re only visiting the airport for the moment as we catch our connecting flight to Scotland.

The flight was uneventful, but I was shocked…shocked, I tell you, that Aer Lingus had NO TEA! You call this an Irish airline and have no tea to offer passengers? The travesty of it all. And I REALLY was looking forward to a nice cuppa on this chilly plane.

Oh, well. Dublin provided a wonderfully, strong Irish Breakfast brew and threw in two complimentary chocolates to boot!

The flight above the clouds offered a beautiful view out the window and I watched the movie BROOKLYN to help pass the time.

Dublin is quite foggy this morning, but not raining.

Next stop? SCOTLAND!