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Trip Report Postcards from Retirement-The Scotland Edition

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Prologue
We have just returned from a month long trip to Scotland. We had a wonderful time and I am grateful to many of you from whom I gleaned information and ideas. I downloaded all posts related to Scotland and read them voraciously, cutting and pasting here and there, until I had developed an itinerary. I also asked a few questions and was delighted with all the advice I received.
DH and I were the primary travellers on this trip, but we were joined by DSIL, one DD and one DGD at various times, so our itinerary reflects their participation. The other thing that makes this trip a bit different is that for two weeks of it, we were participating members of the Pipes and Drums of Canada who were playing at various venues around Scotland. This was the part that ruined my rule of carry-on luggage only! With uniforms and instruments, we were forced to contend with checked luggage. All went well, but we had to lug around extra stuff which is a nuisance.
A little about us. DH and I recently celebrated our 150th birthday! (He is 80 and I am 70). We are reasonably fit and naturally our fitness levels improved as we walked around (and UP) on this trip. Marching with our various bands helps the cause as well. We have been fortunate enough to have travelled quite extensively around the world. We were skiers and sailors earlier in our lives. When we travel we like to do basically the same things, although DH would spend more time in markets than cathedrals! He is the chef in our family and gets “cooking-deprived” after about a week away from home. How lucky am I?! We are not extravagant travellers but will spend extra for special experiences. We are early risers and rarely go out past dinner time when travelling.

Days 1& 2 Aug 10 & 11 - Off to Glasgow
We were up and finishing our final packing early. We drove to Toronto for our West Jet flight to Glasgow, with a stop in Halifax. We allowed lots of time to fight the traffic and deposit our car. Once we were through security we pretty much filled in time until we were ready to go.
We boarded and actually left a bit early. Unfortunately, we were directly ahead of an unhappy two year old. She didn’t cry or scream…she screeched for the WHOLE trip to Halifax. The parents and the crew tried valiantly but she was having none of it. At some point another passenger, who said he had a child the same age, produced an iPad with kid stuff on it for the child to watch. That worked for at least three minutes.
We were exhausted and we were only in Halifax! Happily, that family disembarked there. When we took off again at 10:45 we had an infant in front of us, but he only whimpered when his ears hurt on takeoff, and was otherwise a happy camper.
We landed about 5 minutes late after an essentially sleepless night. We were not our usual scintillating selves, grumpy really. We stopped at the ATM for cash and got charged what we thought was an outrageous amount on the exchange. It turned out that the machine had first converted GBPs to US dollars and then to Canadian dollars. More about this later…….
It was sunny, breezy and cool, a lovely day. We took a bus into central Glasgow and got off, as instructed, at Bothwell Street. When we were looking around to get our bearings, a lady asked where we were going (the City Hotel). She, unfortunately, sent us walking in the wrong direction which resulted in a route march over hill and dale. Well OK, no real dales, but certainly UP HILLS. We eventually arrived at the hotel and left our luggage, deciding we might be better with a little lunch.
We found a spot for Paninis and coffee. With improved moods we set out to explore our neighbourhood a bit. We finally made out way back to the hotel where our room was ready. It was lovely, but quite tiny. We always stay up on the first day of a European vacation to try to conquer our jet lag early, but we had concert tickets for that evening and we knew we would never stay awake. We napped for two hours, showered and felt relatively human again.
We had a light supper on our way to the concert. We arrived early to exchange our voucher for our tickets. We milled around in a cocktail room where we met several people we know. Oh, I didn’t tell you it was a Piping Concert put on by the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band from Vancouver, an excellent Band which has won the World Pipe Band Championship several times. We loved the concert and made our way home by 11:00pm. We figured out the TV, but fell fast asleep almost immediately.

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