Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Our Trip to Scotland: The First 30 Hours

We started our trip to Scotland at 4:30 am Tuesday morning when we drove to the Portland Airport. We then boarded a flight to San Francisco, better described as a 90 minute fight for the armrest with turbulence.

In SFO, we waited for 4 hours for our connecting flight to Keflavik, Iceland. The flight attendant outfits AND the flight attendants were darling. Isaac asked what language they were speaking and when I told him, "Icelandic," he said, "That's a language?" 

Yes, it definitely is a language. However, when they were hawking rental iPads full of movies and games to use the whole flight, I could not tell if they said they were $16.99 or $60.99. We got one, so I hope the price was $16.99.

Here we are, happy, at the beginning of a 7-hour plane ride. 

We landed in Iceland and the flight attendant announces, "Welcome to Keflavik. The current time is 3:30 am and the weather changes every 10 minutes.

We had a couple hours in Keflavik, so we hung out, spent some króna, and tried to nap a bit. (That's Isaac in the background).

I should mention the bathrooms in the Keflavik airport are spectacular. They didn't have bathroom stalls so much as individual, closed off, totally private bathrooms. And the faucets both wetted and dried my hands automatically. It was a little cray, but awesome at the same time.

It was about this point that Robert admitted my Rick Steves Scotland guidebook is better than the Scotland guidebook he carefully researched on Amazon before purchasing. Winning!

Other things learned in Iceland: Americans can be awful. No one needs to know that much detail about how you almost joined the mile high club, or what your feet looked like before your pedicure, or how you got that scratch on your leg. And why (for the love of all that is good and wholesome), did you SnapChat a picture of the scratch to all your friends?

Trip goals: discretion, grace, an not being annoying.

Did you know that when you board the airplane in Iceland to Edinburgh you have to go outside? They take you in a bus across the tarmac to a waiting plane. You get out of the bus and then you climb some stairs. You wait on the stairs in the blowing wind and 34 degree rain just before it starts freezing rain and snow while they load the plane. Jonah, pictured here in a short sleeve shirt, claimed he was not cold.

The two-hour flight to Edinburgh was literally a snooze fest.

Finally, we get to Edinburgh and we get our car.

Folks, they gave us a car. With little more than a "don't forget to drive on the left side of the road," (and a bunch of signatures and up-sell tactics), they gave us the keys and set us off. It's possible it took multiple tries for us to get out of the airport complex. The Scots LOVE their round-abouts.

This is not our car, but a poorly executed picture of the kids. I blame the sun being in my eyes. 

Also, the roads are insane. It's like we're dealing with a country whose infrastructure was planned a thousand years ago! 

Tonight we are in Inverness and we took a short drive over to Castle Street for a Rick Steves endorsed dinner. I suggested something else and Robert said, "Is it in Rick Steves' book?" We saw the Inverness castle (Rick says don't bother: it's not that old and it's only a courthouse now, not anything exciting) and walked around the grounds. We paid our respect to Flora MacDonald for saving my ancestor, and moved along.

I have a feeling I'll be trying haggis soon.

Next up: Culloden Battlefield (if Isaac lets me fulfill a dream by going. He said since it is his birthday tomorrow, and a battlefield sounds boring, he'd rather do something else. Like go to a drug store and buy a lot of candy). We are also seeing Loch Ness, Castle Eilean Donan, and The Isle of Skye.

(Isaac says, why do you guys have to plan everything out so there is no room for exploring? I say, "what would you like to do?" He says, "I don't know. I haven't spent all that time researching like you did.)

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