Category Archives: Scotland
Sunday, July 31, 2022 was an early day since I was playing with my Recorder Consort at church. Since it’s the summer, we hadn’t practiced for quite a while, so we got together quite early to decide what to play and to put it all together. In the end, we played offertory, final hymn and postlude.
After church, we came home and I took a nap while Tom packed. Finally, I decided I should pack – something warm and waterproof.
My mom noticed a flurry of activity and asked what we were doing. She claimed she didn’t know we were going to Scotland. I guess at almost-99, she can claim a bit of memory loss. I reassured her that we had someone checking on her and bringing in the mail, that there was enough food, jigsaw puzzles and Tivo shows to carry her through the week.
Finally, all the sweatshirts, fleece-lined jeans and such were packed and the Uber called. Dulles Airport wasn’t too crowded, at least the Icelandair area so we were on our way fairly easily.
I had gone back and forth about taking my growth hormone with me – it’s always an issue with travel. This time I had bought a new thing that had a USB-cable to keep the HGH cold. I actually used it with an external powerpack when our power went out last month and it worked well.
- ✔️ [Innovative Medical cooler] –>This new 4ALLFAMILY medical cooler is masterfully designed to keep your expensive supplies SAFE. The new USB lid can deliver an outstanding maximum temperature drop of 50 Fahrenheit compared with outside temperature.
- ✔️[ANTI FREEZE SECURITY]–>You CANNOT RISK FREEZING YOUR MEDICATION. The 4ALLFAMILY Cooler is built with some high tech features that allow it to safely detect temperature fluctuations, and thanks to the auto shut off / on option, it automatically adjust the power so internal temperature stays in 36-45F range all the time.
- ✔️[TEMPERATURE DISPLAY]–>Not only does the cooler works in silence to maintain the safe range, but also it is equipped with a display that shows the inner temperature in real time.
- ✔️[ High Capacity]–>Performance is not the only aspect this cooler shines. The inner tube has a large refrigerated space that has enough capacity to fit 7 insulin pens and other medications as well.
- ✔️[ Ensures a safe experience transporting medications]–>4ALLFAMILY COOLER is so practical and easy to use for long trips. It`s usb feature can be used in cars, planes, trains, car lighters, and powerbanks.
In the end, I decided not to take the HGH/cooler because I’ve had issues with security before and I wasn’t sure that there would be a USB port on the planes This turned out to be a good idea (see later).
After gathering all our stuff post-security, we found our gate. They started boarding the plane from the back (except, of course, for the small children and the people who had paid extra for “Saga class” aka business class). I had paid extra for more legroom, which was between steerage and the Saga people so we were almost last boarding. We were across from the restroom so there was a lot of activity nearby.
It turned out that these seats have the tv and tray built into the armrest and they were very hard to access. Tom tried the tv but couldn’t get it to be stable so he gave up – I didn’t even bother. I had also paid extra for 3-course hot meals. When they came, I found that my tray table, which folded in half, didn’t stay open so I was balancing it on my knee, not unlike a banjo. The meal wasn’t bad – lasagna, some kind of thing with cheese balls and fish(?) and tiramisu.
I was very cold and used 2 blankets – I had bought an interesting thing from amazon but, of course, it was in the suitcase above my head and too hard to get out.
Eventually, we got to Iceland and immediately got in line for the next flight. It turned out the line was actually for a bus to the next flight. We had to climb quite a few stairs, hauling our carry on luggage. I found our row and, of course, there was a woman sitting in the aisle seat. She asked me if I wanted her to move.
We got in our seats and actually had tvs and tray tables that worked. But no meal.
Leaving Reykjavik, Iceland:
Arriving in Glasgow, Scotland:
At Glasgow airport we found our luggage fairly easily and off to find the car rental place. Even though the website said it was “in the airport terminal”, that was kind of sketchy.
I had assumed being in the airport terminal meant it was inside the building but no! We walked outside (with our luggage, of course), then under a covered walkway to another building that housed some car rental places. Of course, ours was closed that day. So we walked further to a little outside shack-type structure where there was a person who held the key to our car. YAY
Because this is Scotland, the car was quite small – we got my medium size suitcase in the boot (trunk) and the rest in the back seat. A tight fit but we made it work.
Because this is Scotland, the car was a 5-speed manual transmission – and you drive on the left side. The roundabouts go around to the left. After a few false starts, we were out of the airport and on our way.
Our hotel had given us directions which read “Join M8 motorway heading east following signs for Edinburgh. On the outskirts of Edinburgh follow signs for Leith and Ocean Terminal. Hotel is situated opposite Ocean Terminal.”
That was a little bit optimistic. See the little circles on the map? Those are roundabouts where it was possible to take the wrong exit (while going the wrong way).
When we got to the roundabout in front of our hotel, the road was torn up for construction. We finally pulled into the Holiday Inn Express Waterfront. Hooray!
ASIDE: I am surprised that I didn’t write about this before but I guess that I was so angry that I couldn’t put it into words. Last time we were in Scotland we had arrived tired/exhausted/in a rental car driving on the left to an Edinburgh Airbnb only to find it locked with no one to let us in. We called the owner and he said “sorry, I changed my mind” or something to that effect. We found a nearby restaurant (with a bathroom!) and got something to eat – and started making calls to Airbnb. They couldn’t/wouldn’t help us. Not their problem. No refunds. The restaurant people told us there was a nearby hotel that might have openings. And they did. Because it was August – Tattoo and Fringe Festival month, the offerings were very limited but the Holiday Inn Express Waterfront gave us a place to stay for the night and I’ve been grateful ever since, which is why I chose them again. That, and they actually had parking. In 2015 we had been at a hotel with mostly on-street parking – and expensive parking tickets.
Back to the story: We got checked in and hauled our luggage up to the room only to find that there were no drawers or bureaus. Weird. Luckily, I pack in packing cubes so I was able to keep those intact on a shelf. When we had been here before there was no room for our luggage at all and it had to go to a luggage room. There had also been one door which closed either the bathroom OR the closet, which was weird. But we had a closet. Trade Offs! I was much happier with this year’s room, even if they had started charging for parking. The whole week’s parking was still cheaper than the ticket we got in 2015.
After a much needed nap, we had dinner at the hotel. When we left, we found that the lights go off automatically if there’s no key in a slot by the door – just like a cruise ship, but you couldn’t use any old key-shaped card. It had to be a room key. So, my growth hormone container would have stopped cooling every time we left the room – a good thing I didn’t bring it after all.
The hotel has a small range of dinner options. I had the bacon cheeseburger without the bacon or cheese. Tom had the cottage pie with “mixed green vegetables” which turned out to be peas. I guess they were mixed when put on the plate.
After dinner, I was flipping through the channels when we came across a show called Naked Attraction. This being a non-US show, it involved really naked people. Really. REALLY.
From that fount of all knowledge, Wikipedia: “Naked Attraction is a British television dating game show, broadcast on Channel 4. A clothed person is faced with six naked people who are initially hidden in booths. Their bodies and faces are gradually revealed through successive rounds, from the feet up. At each round, the chooser eliminates one naked person until only two are left, when the chooser also takes off their clothes to make the final choice. The chooser then decides which person they wish to go out with, and the two (or, occasionally, three) then go for a fully clothed date. The programme then presents their feedback after the date. It premiered on 25 July 2016 and is presented by Anna Richardson.
Numerous complaints about the programme were made by viewers to the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom due to the full-frontal nudity that is featured in the programme. Ofcom chose not to investigate as there was nothing that breached their rules: the show was purely a dating show and did not contain any sexual activity, and was shown after the watershed.”
Scrolling through tv and seeing 4 naked men (we got to the show late) was quite an eye opener. When the ones weren’t chosen walked away, the cameras focused on the <ahem> rear view.
Youtube has some samples which have been carefully edited to meet Google standards.
And so ended Day 1.
A couple years ago, we decided to go back to Scotland, back to see the Edinburgh Tattoo again. I got tickets for August 2020 and was excited to go…until COVID hit. The Tattoo (and everything else) was canceled and I figured that I’d made a donation the Tattoo fund. Oh well.
I was very surprised around October 2021 when they emailed me and said that I could transfer those tickets to this year and did I want to go.
In November, I got to choose seats and I was lucky enough to get them for opening night, August 5, 2022 – in the second row, right behind the row for people with wheelchairs. I couldn’t believe my good luck.
March 4, 2022 I set up the rest of the trip – British Airways to Edinburgh, a Holiday Inn we’ve stayed at before and a rental car in Edinburgh. All good.
Somehow, by May 4, British Airways decided that we couldn’t fly home on August 7. I have no idea how they knew that 2 months in advance. May 5, they also decided they wouldn’t take us there, either. So, I set about canceling the hotel and the rental car and generally being in a bad mood.
May 25 I remembered Icelandair. We used them a long time ago to fly to London – and they gave us a free layover in Iceland, including free hotel. This year, they graciously agreed to fly Tom and me to Glasgow by way of Iceland so I re-booked the hotel and a different car, this time in Glasgow.
So, all that was left to do was to get time off work, alert my piano students and pack.
The actual trip is coming soon.