Day #1 – Arrive at Ottawa airport, overhear stewardess needs a seat on the flight. Shortly afterwards, announcement is made ‘flight is overbooked, blah blah blah…looking for a volunteer…yadda yadda yadda….$800 to take a later flight’ Everyone’s head goes down, including ours…eyes to the floor. To this day we still don’t know if that stewardess made the flight. During the flight, meals were delivered while I was in the bathroom and I missed out. Still peeved about that one. ‘Vegetable lasagna!’
Day #2 – Connection flight in London Heathrow Airport. 2nd largest/busiest airport in the world (next to Atlanta, where we were in February) There was a 2 hour layover…which we wondered…’what will we do to pass the time?’ Oh how naive we were. A series of moving sidewalks, crucially steep escalators and lightning fast shuttle buses taking us from one side of England to the other (seemingly) ended us at our gate just as they announced boarding to Glasgow. No bathroom breaks, no chance to get a drink…no breathing.
Day #3 – We get lost on our way to our next place to stay. Worst battle in history ensues; divorce is imminent, but quickly blows over. We chalk it up to our polarities being off-kilt(er) due to being on the other side of the world. Don’t worry, all is well….now!
Day #4 – Travelled to Stirling Castle, our first bucket list attraction. It was amazing and got my picture next to memorial of Robert the Bruce. My Grandmother, Elizabeth Jean Bruce would have been thrilled!
Day #5 – Arrived in Aberdeen, where my Great-Great Grandfather George Moir, was born and raised. Many signs of Gordon Clan about this town. We walked for 40 min to a restaurant recommended to us. ‘We are fully booked!’ and were turned away. Not even an option to wait for a table. Ended up sitting on a sliver of bench with a table for supper. Happy Birthday Peter!
Day #6 – Planned to head to Gordon Highlanders Museum, but it was closed for Easter holiday. Instead we headed east to Aboyne. We found the Aboyne Castle which is still in possession of Gordon Clan. Amazing energy in this place! I felt horrible to leave it. Peter discovered just how narrow the roads are when a lorrie pops over the knoll. Holy shiite!
Day #7 – Woke to the most amazing sunrise we have ever seen! Nothing but sky, water, grass and cliffs. This was our most relaxing spot we stayed during our entire trip. The charming little wood burner, bush shower and built-in bed…what’s not to love about this place? Peter had his best cup of coffee EVER at the Davron Hotel in Rosehearty. We watched an oil rig being hauled out to sea during our stay at Coastal Carriage. It took 18hrs to become a mere speck of light on the dark horizon.
Day #8 – Peter has developed a strong Scottish accent which gets louder according to the amount of ale applied. It has made us more noticeable during outings. Roamed the ruins of Kinloss Abbey. I tried Scotch Broth! yummy. We arrived at Culloden Battlefield just before sunset. It was an overwhelming experience. The clan stones are what made it real. Kilted Kenny directed us toward ‘Hootenanny’ an amazing traditional Scottish pub with live music every night. We waited for a ‘band’ to enter and set up on a stage…meanwhile, 6 people sitting around a table started tuning and playing their fiddles, guitars, bagpipes, flutes & spoons. For the 10th time in almost as many days…we cried.
Day #9 – We drove along Loch Ness almost the whole day, visiting Urquart Castle along the way. Mountains stunningly steep and massive, with sheep clinging to the rocky edges. We arrived for the night at an old stately mansion with a view of the Loch and mountains. Dinner at a nearby inn. I tried Cullen Skink, the best-tasting, worst-named dish ever. And for dessert, our new favourite..Sticky Toffee Pudding! Scrabble in the Whiskey room? Okay!
Day #10 – Finally arrived in Oban to take the ferry to Isle of Mull. Terminal counterman informs us that Duart Castle (Peter’s biggest bucket list item) would be closed for the next 2 days. So we drove the long, twisty route and discovered the castle which King Arthur and his knights finally arrived at only to find the bloody Frenchmen beat them to it. to our next port, Glen More Guest House. This house reminded us of every old creepy house in a scary movie we have ever seen and were afraid to go to sleep! It was awesome!
Day #11 – We had our best breakfast so far: fried & flipped eggs, Cumberland sausage, porridge, homemade bread with butter and stewed rhubarb with hot raspberry tea & coffee. We visited stone circles and cairns along farmland. Amazing, inspiring and creepy all in equal measure.
‘If I touch one of those stones and disappear…make sure you know which stone so you can come with me.’
Peter – ‘You are not touching any stones.’
We stayed downstairs in the parlour playing backgammon by the fire till we could no longer hold our eyes open, terrified to go to our room. We thought it would help to fall asleep easier. It did.
Day #12 – Up early, ate breakfast and said our goodbyes. *sigh* Last day in Scotland. Our drive back to Glasgow was bittersweet. The last leg of the journey through the Highlands certainly did not bring any disappointment. Still took our breath away. We were actually sad to turn in our little rental car. She had an amazing maiden voyage with us for the last 12 days.
Day #13 – Woke up early! Got to watch the most annoying Englishman in the world touch every item in the breakfast buffet. He even poked the eggs! Had no plate, just picked up food as he walked through the line. To my ultimate annoyance and utter surprise, Peter stopped me from pointing out this man to the restaurant manager. *aaaggghhhhh*
Spent the rest of the day in airports, airplanes and mile-high bathrooms. We saw the biggest plane in the world! This picture was taken from our plane… you can see how small it made us look. Arrived home around 9pm and went straight to bed.
Day #14 – Woke up at our normal time to get up…in Scotland! When I stood to go to the bathroom, I fell over 3 times to my left. This would happen for the next four days, along with dizziness and headaches. If this is jetlag…I have never had it before. It is horrible. Nothing like this happened when we landed in Scotland. Will it stop me from ever going back to Scotland? No…but I will seriously consider whether to come back home again.