April 3, 2012

C is for...Countdown

The COUNTDOWN is on. We (the hubby and me) are exactly one month away from landing here:


'Here' is Glasgow, Scotland, and it's where we start our 17-day Scottish vacation. Actually, 14 of those days we'll be spending in Scotland and our last 3 will be in London, England. To say we're excited would be an understatement. During this little adventure we will be visiting: Glasgow (2 days), Inverness (5 days), Stirling/Dunblane (2 days), Edinburgh (5 days), and London (3 days).

The last time I visited Scotland, I was sixteen years old. I also looked like this (no joke):


C, as it turns out, is also for CLOWN. And CREEPY.

We have all of our transportation (to and around) and accommodation already booked, but I'm still researching places to visit in each location. There's just so much to see and not nearly enough time to do it all. One day I'd love the opportunity to explore the Isles of Skye and Iona. So much history.

All I know right now is that there will be castle touring, scotch tasting, after dark Greyfriar's kirkyard visiting, Royal Mile walking, Wallace Monument and Arthur's Seat climbing, men-in-kilts ogling (me, not hubby), bagpipe listening, Culloden remembering, Loch Ness watching, scone eating (and Stone of Scone seeing), and a whole pile of other verbs ending in -ing attached to wonderful Scottish experiences. If you've been and have suggestions for must-see destinations, please share!

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P.S. C is also for CROSS your fingers. I'm bringing in my CRAPPED out, CRASHED hard drive today and hoping that some IT wunderkind can recover what is currently trapped on that thing.

35 comments:

  1. First, GREAT picture of you :D (yes even as a clown and not looking creepy at all :D)

    The trip sounds really awesome!

    Crossing my fingers for your hard drive!

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    1. Haha! I think it looks super silly, especially the clown nose with the giant crease in it. The worst part is that this picture was in a Scottish newspaper. Thanks for crossing your fingers :)

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  2. Wow, lucky! I've wanted to visit Scotland ever since I was introduced to my first Scottish accent. :D I'd love to see the lochs, too. I can't help feeling that a lake is so much plainer compared to a "loch". And, of course, we mustn't forget the men-in-kilts. ;) Have fun, and hope you come home with a bunch of new experiences!

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    1. I'd especially like to see Eileen Donan (that super famous Scottish castle), because it actually butts up against three separate lochs. How cool is that? And I agree with you, 'loch' is ever so much more exciting than plain old 'lake' :D

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  3. Have a fantastic time in Scotland! And in my homeland ^_^

    Edinburgh Castle is a must! I went there in 2002. I need to head back to Scotland at some point ^^;

    London aaaaaaaah <3 Well, if you want some transportation history, get to the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden. Spend A LOT of time in Covent Garden 'cause it's a fantastic place - there's always a performance to see! Oh, and go to Ella's Cupcakes. Trust me.

    Sadly, I think you're going too early to tour Buckingham Palace. Go to Fortnum and Mason's for afternoon tea (High Tea). You've GOT to climb to the top of St Paul's and go on the London Eye (on a sunny day, it's a brilliant view!) Then there's Trafalgar Square (you can walk there from Buckingham Palace along the Mall)... Ooh, and you can visit the Sherlock Holmes museum... I doubt I need to give you the address ;) The Natural History museum is HUUUUUUUUGE aaaaaaaaaand don't forget Westminster Abbey, host of last year's lovely Royal Wedding...

    ...There's more to do, but that's a good start :P

    And if you wanna see the south coast, you can get a train from Victoria to Brighton. The right train will take just under an hour. And Brighton has the Royal Pavilion. Google it ;)

    Have a great trip!

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    1. Awesome! Thanks for all of the suggestions :D I've been to London a couple of times and so Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, St. Paul's, and Westminster Abbey were all on my list. But you've got some other really great suggestions here that I hadn't thought of or just plain didn't know of. Very helpful :D

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  4. Have fun. My husband's family lives there. He took some pictures, but he said even the photos couldn't capture the beauty of Scotland.

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    1. I can imagine :) I'm really excited about the highlands especially as I've never actually been that far north in Scotland. I've mostly only really been to Stirling and Edinburgh before. Plus, I was young enough that I didn't appreciate it nearly as much as I will now :) I plan on taking plenty of pictures.

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  5. What an amazing trip itinerary! That's an amazing opportunity. I'd consider killing for that experience. I hope you have a blast.


    M.J. Fifield
    My Pet Blog

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    1. It's amazing how much less expensive it is than I initially thought. If you do some research, catch the right seat sales for both airlines and even for the trains in Scotland, you can find some excellent deals. We're staying in a combination of B&Bs, hotels, and apartments for let, which has brought the cost down a lot (rather than staying in hotels everywhere we go). We're really looking forward to the whole thing :)

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  6. I can't give you any recommendations about Scotland since I've only crossed the border (oh those wacky student days when we would make a 5 hour (?) trip just to cross the Scottish border, then turn around and go back). It would be good to go sometime, though. I mean, my Mum's Scots-Irish (as you know), so there's part of my blood that demands it! :) And I think Cole has given you as much of an itinerary as is humanly possible to accomplish in a few days.

    All I would say is, have fun. Plan as much as you can, but don't plan too much so you feel like you're rushing around and don't get the chance to enjoy what you see and do. Face the fact that you simply won't get to see everything you want to see, so you can appreciate and relish the things you do get to. You may not get to see 12 castles, but if you get to 3, that's 3 more than if you'd stayed in Canada. :)

    And be safe. The blogisphere needs you. :D

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    1. Your student days of making the trip just to cross the border makes me think of nearly every Jane Austen novel I know of where some character or another elopes to Gretna Green (which if I'm not mistaken is just inside the border of Scotland). Hilarious :)

      I've purposely made a point of not buying all our tickets to various attractions in advance. It's cheaper to purchase in advance, but I also don't want to be held to certain days for certain activities. As you can attest to, the weather in the UK can be on the wet side, so on those days we'll want to plan accordingly. I've been looking into some of the things we'll want to do, but other than that I plan on playing a lot of it by ear.

      Glad the blogopsphere thinks I'm valuable lol :D

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  7. So exciting! And I love the clown picture of you--not creepy at all.
    I expect you to take tons of pictures!

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    1. Clowns are always creepy. Always. :D

      I plan on taking a ton of pictures. That's the beauty of digital cameras, right? :)

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  8. That's so exciting! Are you going to blog while you're there?

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    1. Not sure if I'll blog when I'm there. I'm bringing a netbook along, but I'm not sure what kind of internet access I'll have. Some places have free wifi, so that's a good thing (like on the first class train ride we're taking from Edinburgh to London). It would be nice to share pics and whatnot on location :D

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  9. I'm so excited for you. I agree with Colin, make sure you plan for days of rest. By the end of our trip we were pretty worn down; I'd plan a rest day for days 5, 10, 15, etc. In Edinburgh, the castle and Arthur's Seat are must sees. (We stayed at Mayfield 23, which was fantastic. The owner Ross is so nice, and like, a gourmet breakfast chef.) You also must try Scottish fudge. Yummy! In London the museums are almost all free, and all amazing. My personal, all-time favorite place in London is the treasure room at the British Library. It is indescribable to be in the presence of all those original texts. The Hop-On-Hop-Off Buses are convenient, but an all day travel card is much cheaper and gives you access to all the buses and the tube. And if you buy it at a rail station, and print vouchers before hand, you can get most of your tourist attractions two for one. We had afternoon tea at the Orangery this time, and you can't beat Kensington for ambiance, but the food and drink at the National Gallery were much better. I heart London! I hope you have a wonderful time!

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    1. I'm being careful not to really schedule us at this point. I'm doing the research on various attractions (admission cost, hours, locations, etc.), but I'm not really making much of an itinerary or buying tickets in advance. I figure the weather can be unreliable, so I don't want to lock us into certain activities that might be suited for a different day (weather depending).

      Fudge, you say? I'm all for that! I also plan on doing afternoon tea somewhere in Scotland or in London (Herrods would be great), but I'm not sure yet. Thanks for the suggestions on that topic :)

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  10. Gorgeous picture! Can't wait to see the ones you take while visiting! have fun!

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    1. Isn't it pretty? :) I plan on taking plenty of pictures. At least now I'm not held back by such archaic things as film lol. With digital cameras I can take pictures to my heart's content! :)

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  11. What a great entry for "C"! Have a wonderful trip! I've never been to Scotland, but it is on my "someday" list. (And sorry to hear about your computer. Hope it's fixable!)

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    1. Thanks :) I'm surprised at how we've managed to keep the cost of going on this trip down. I've done a whole lot of research and we managed to get an awesome seat sale from Calgary, Alberta to Glasgow, Scotland (but coming back from London) and really good deals on our accommodations and train travel in-country as well. With a little research, it's possible to make it affordable for a lot of people.

      I'm really hoping my computer's fixable too. Actually, I'd just be happy with two Word documents saved on the thing. The rest isn't crucial. Just those two little parts of my current story that I'm writing.

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  12. WOW!!! I'm so JEALOUS! Hope you have a wonderful time and take lots of pics and share them with all of us! :)

    And I am definitely crossing my fingers for you. We have to take our hard drive somewhere over spring break - silly computers.

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    1. I'll take tons of pics and share the best ones with everyone :)

      Thanks for crossing your fingers! Computers: can't live without them anymore, but they sure make your life rough at times. Hope your hard drive is okay too :)

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  14. I'm jealous! That picture is so gorgeous!

    My C

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    1. The pic is beautiful :) I just found it on Google images. I plan on taking lots of pictures, but none of them will probably be that pretty lol :)

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  15. Oh, that sounds like a fabulous trip!!! Have a fabulous time!

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  16. I've never been to Scotland so I am way jealous!! Have a fabulous time. I have been to Australia, New Zealand, England and Israel though and all of those places are amazing - so I have no doubt Scotland is too. Don't forget to keep a journal so you can report back to us when you return, Jaime. :)

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    1. I'm not so much a journaler, but I will definitely report back on my blog :)

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  17. OH MY GOSH!!!!

    Jaime, I'm seriously SO JEALOUS.

    And LOL to the Clown and Creepy. I love it.

    Take lots of pics to share with us! :D

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    1. I guarantee you I'll be taking tons of pictures :)

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  18. Oh, okay. Okay. I can do this! INVERNESS. MY HOMETOWN. 30 MINUTES AWAY. I CAN TOTALLY THINK OF INTERESTING PLACES TO GO THERE... *brain freezes up for a while, haha*

    - Loch Ness/Urquhart Castle (get a bus there, the roads are terrible and it's about an hour out of Inverness)
    - Inverness Castle grounds (not sure if you can visit the castle itself or if it's all a converted courthouse)
    - Some of the local distilleries, if that's your sort of thing.
    - Inverness Museum & Art Gallery is your like museums.
    - There's a Moray Firth Dolphin Cruise
    - Random walks by the Ness Islands and Caledonian Canal can be nice.
    - If you find a chip shop that sells fried pizza or fried black pudding, try it. (Apologies if you're a vegetarian.)
    - If you find a butchers that sells Stornoway Black Pudding, try that too. It's an acquired taste, very strong.
    - And haggis! Haggis is wonderful. Seriously. A lot of people get grossed out at the very thought of it, but the taste of oats and mice is something no other meal matches.

    In Edinburgh:
    - Edinburgh Castle
    - Arthur's Seat, if you have the time.
    - Camera Obscura
    - Elephant House cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter
    - Writer's Museum
    - Royal Mile/Prince's Street

    http://wikitravel.org is always super-useful, though the Tourist Information offices in each place will probably have more info (and lots of useful leaflets).

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    1. You've mentioned a lot of things that I was planning on doing, and some that I hadn't thought of. Thanks for the suggestions! Though, I will be avoiding the haggis and black pudding as I tried them both the last time I visited Scotland and...let's just say they weren't my cup of tea :)

      Ah! Reading your suggestions is making me more excited :)

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