Our Scottish Adventure Part 1 | Edinburgh

After arriving in Edinburgh, we took the airport tram exiting at St. Andrew’s Square and wheeled our well-balanced luggage the half mile to our first hotel of the trip. We were not the only tourists in town. The revamped Iron Throne was also touring the UK to coincide with the release of House of the Dragon. Lucky for us, its last stop was Calton Hill a beautiful vista point in Edinburgh which was only a short, although entirely uphill, walk from our hotel.

We hiked up the winding path and after a brief wait, my husband got his turn on the Iron Throne. We also got to enjoy the beautiful views of the city from this elevated spot. Arriving during a garbage strike took a bit of the shine off the experience but it was still a wonderful view. I knew immediately we were going to love the city.

After working from our hotel lobby the rest of the day, we headed to Hoot the Redeemer for some pre-theatre drinks. Walking down into the basement level bar, you’re immediately met with an art deco speak-easy crossed with a carnival vibe. A repurposed arcade claw machine sits against one wall where a three breasted temptress beckons you under a Pinch‘n Sip sign to let fate pick your drink flavors for the evening.

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Our Scottish Adventure in 5 Parts

I love airports. When I posted this sentiment recently on Facebook, a friend commented, “You’re being sarcastic, right?” I was not.

The energy and endless possibilities have always excited me. I typically arrive extremely early well before the suggested arrival time. I’d rather sit in an airport relaxing and enjoying a drink, or meal, depending on the time, while people watching than rush through security and get to the gate as my flight is boarding.

Our most recent adventure brought my excitement to new levels. Three years of planning our Scottish Adventure and constantly tweaking and updating our plans as pandemic shutdowns delayed us not once but twice had not dampened my anticipation but rather heightened it. When we finally arrived to gate E12 at Logan International Airport after a leisurely in-airport meal at Legal Seafoods, I was giddy and ready for our red-eye.

Maine and Scotland share a similar vibe: the mountains and the sea coming together. I felt very much at home in Scotland. But sadly, at least for my husband, the whisky is uniquely theirs.

I’ll be departing from my usual Maine centered posts for a bit as I document our recent travels around Scotland. The trip was worth the wait!

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Finding Memories in the Night Sky

When I was younger, well before the teenage years pulled me in other more social directions, I remember going out in the evenings onto our large front lawn and lying down near our lonely, dying apple tree to stare up at the night sky. While light pollution from our close to the city location did not make for perfect viewing, it allowed enough of a glimpse into the star dotted darkness for me to feel the vastness of our universe and start that human journey of contemplating my place in it.

I eventually outgrew these solitary moments but they still hold a special place in my heart. They were moments of peace and reflection that sadly were so easily lost once my time was filled with the busyness of adulthood. But, even now, I still remember the softness of the grass cushioning my still body, the endless darkness of the sky above and the feeling of wonder as I stared into the vastness and dreamed of the stars. There is something comforting in staring up at the night sky.

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#AtoZChallenge | Travel gallery wall puts our memories on display

I use to travel with a large black camera bag. It had padded dividers that you could move around and secure with velcro to change the storage configuration. There was enough space to hold my 35 mm camera along with a telephoto lens and multiple rolls of film. Depending on the destination, I needed to have enough film for the entire trip. When I was finished shooting a roll, I would insert the end of the film all the way into the canister so I wouldn’t mistakenly use it again. The system worked for me although it was heavy to carry around.

During our trip to Costa Rica, after one long transfer that included crossing a lake by boat, I realized after arriving at our hotel, that I had left my camera bag on the boat. While heartbroken at losing my camera, it also meant all of my pictures that I had taken of our trip up to that point were also lost. For a memory keeper like me, that was the truly devastating part.

The hotel called the tour company that managed the boat transfer and they located the bag. We were only at this stop for another day but the tour company promised they would send the camera bag on their next transfer. Miraculously, the camera bag showed up at the hotel the morning before we moved onto the next stop on our itinerary. Everything was still in the bag including all of my film. It was such a happy surprise. I really thought it was lost forever. Continue reading

A sad goodbye to Goecco. You were one of the best!

The best travel tour I ever took doesn’t exist anymore. All that is left are the memories of one spectacular two day adventure that I’ll never be able to duplicate. I should be happy that I still have the photos to fill in the spaces as my memory fades but today I’m sad.

We are scheduled to go to Scotland this coming August but with the continued uptick in positive COVID-19 cases and delayed re-opening of the entire world, it is becoming less likely that we will be able to go on our planned vacation. While I’ve spent months meticulously planning every moment of our trip, at least for now, the itinerary will remain untested. Probably. I’m still holding out hope that with a negative COVID-19 test in hand, we might still be able to go.

But, practicality is taking over and I’ve started looking at alternatives. Maybe an elaborate staycation exploring those more remote areas of Maine that we can’t easily get to during day trips or long weekends. It’s on the list of possibilities. Or, maybe a quarantine friendly destination, if any really exist. A remote island perhaps?  I’m not typically a beach girl but I can adapt. Continue reading