Monday, March 27, 2017

Our Trip to Scotland: The Last Day

It's 4am at the Days Inn on El Camino Real just a few miles from the San Francisco airport. I'm sitting in the dark while Robert and Jonah still sleep. Isaac is trying to stay busy in the dark with a Harry Potter book on his tablet.

Today we will fly back to Portland. Home. It will be good to be home after traveling for so long. But I wanted to write about our last day and get my memories down before they are gone.

Robert had arranged to meet some friends he'd baptized on his mission. They live about an hour south of Edinburgh and were going to drive up and meet him. The boys and I were going to head over to the National Museum of Scotland, The Elephant House and Greyfriar's Bobby and then meet Robert around lunch time.

The museum didn't open until 10am, so we got a table at the Elephant House, the very cafe where JK Rowling wrote Harry Potter when she was just a single mum, living on benefits. We got hot chocolates and pastries and I tried to suck in the vibe. There were several people with laptops. I just whipped out a notebook and hand wrote until our food came. The bathrooms are covered in graffiti honoring Rowling and the books.

The museum was spectacular. There was an impressive room of taxidermied animals even more exciting than a zoo because they were all posed perfectly and we could get close up. Even the ceiling was covered with all kinds of fish, whales and even a hippo! We spent the most time in that room, just because Jonah and Isaac were so enthralled. I think I would have preferred more Scottish history rather than natural history, but I knew the boys didn't want to be dragged around to that stuff anymore.

When we switched to a different room, though, and I saw a fashion display right next to an interactive science display, I let them hang out in the science room (complete with dolly the first cloned sheep!) while I indulged in looking at fashion through the ages. There were crinolines and corsets and even modern things like shoes only Lady Gaga could wear.

At noon, we went out to the street to meet Robert. We really had no way of communicating because our phones were not able to text for some reason. We could email, but one of us had to have wifi which I had spottily inside different buildings . . . anyway, it was like 1995 all over again. 

We met up with Robert just fine, but were sad to learn that his friends had not been able to make the drive. It had snowed that morning. In Edinburgh it didn't stick and was sunny by 9. But further south, the roads were covered and there was 6 to 12 inches. They said they got on the road but then just got stuck in traffic. So they never showed up. They sent a message which Robert got after an hour of waiting. 

So, we tried to pick up the day and fit in as much as we could. Isaac navigated us to a parking spot and then on a walking path that took us through "closes" or narrow alleys between the ancient buildings back up to Warhammer. He did a great job because when we popped out on the Royal Mile, we were right next to Warhammer.

We purchased the starter kit for Warhammer and had it sent to our Oregon home, then went to lunch on Cockburn Street, which is the street where they are doing some Avenger's 3 filming. According to the gal at the restaurant we lunched at, none of the actors will actually be filming in Edinburgh. Just doubles. Sad.

Here's the boys in front of the kebab restaurant. I'd seen the kebab restaurant the day before when the boys were painting their Warhammer figures and just assumed they were up to speed on the fake restaurant (it is actually a tourist shop, but the producers needed a kebab shop RIGHT IN THAT SPOT so they bought off the owner for a month and completely changed it to a kebab shop and in a month they will change it back) but Jonah and Isaac didn't know about Avengers 3, so when I told them, they were more than happy to pose for pictures.

We went back to our amazing apartment and Robert called his friends while the boys and I rested. With just a few hours left we decided to walk Princes Street. Jonah only wanted one thing: A snow globe for his collection. But he did not want to walk and walk. He also didn't care about eating dinner. So after we walked to the souvenir shop and then got Jonah a sandwich from the Tesco, we gave him the keys to the apartment and let him walk back by himself. I was a tiny bit nervous, but it was rush hour and there were plenty of people on the street lining up for busses and it was still light.

Jonah left and walked maybe the half mile back to the apartment, then sent an email that he'd made it just fine. Whew! Also, how cool that my 14-year-old got to navigate the streets of Edinburgh by himself. 

Isaac, Robert and I walked and walked and took pictures. It was cold. Isaac and I were getting tired and hungry. So we turned around and walked back towards the apartment, knowing there were a bunch of restaurants on Queensferry street. We ended up at Zizzi's Italian restaurant and had a delicious meal. 

Wednesday morning was just packing up and getting ready to go. I was sad and happy to be returning home. If only there was a way for us to live there, Robert to work, the boys to go to school, and me to sight see and explore for months and months . . .

The flight back was uneventful and we didn't find out until we'd landed in San Francisco that there's been a terror attack in London near Parliament and four people had been killed. London is about an eight hour drive from Edinburgh, so proximity wise, it was very far away. But as a tourist who had been enjoying a "trip of a lifetime," my heart ached for the people who were injured and lost their lives just trying to do the same. 

The last bit of our trip will be a flight into Portland later this morning. It will be good to be home. But I reserve the right to plan a pretend move to Scotland until I start to obsess about Ireland. 

No comments: