Friday, June 16, 2017

Our trip to Scotland--Day 1 and 2, June 8-9

 All flights for our June trip were right on time.  We left Columbus at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, June 7, and arrived in JFK New York at 8 p.m. Even the wait at Kennedy was preparing us for Scotland.  As we sat amongst others who would board, we were with a family of four from Scotland, who had been in New York for a week visiting all the sights, including a play, the Statue of Liberty, and the usual.  Also encountered a young lady about 25 who collects whisky--yes, my first, but I would learn more on the trip about Scotland and whisky. We also met Pat and Emily from Washington, a grandmother and granddaughter, who were going on the same tour.

Our travel agent had arranged for wheelchairs, we thought just for the return trip to meet us at JFK, but we accepted because I thought it would be better to save my back and legs for climbing around castles. But I did feel a little "invisible" as a little old lady in a wheelchair.  People do step aside as you glide quickly through the lines, but I felt an odd sense that I was invisible non-person.

We left NYC at 11:16 p.m. and arrived in Glasgow at 11:15 a.m. in the rain on Thursday (5 hour time difference) where we met our Globus tour guide who was from London, John, and our driver who was Scottish, David. Two of our tour companions had problems with their luggage, and had brought nothing along, so went shopping as soon as we got to our hotel, the Hilton Doubletree on Cambridge Street.  We changed clothes, napped and met for dinner in the hotel dining room at 6 p.m.  We sat with Pat (73) and Emily (21) whom we'd already met.  Some went for a walkabout, but it was cool and rainy, so we didn't get far.

On Day 2 we had breakfast with three ladies from Canada, Laurie, Ann and Rose and drove to the Glengoyne whisky distillery for a tour that was more interesting than I expected, and which was in a very scenic area.  Then we were off to Stirling Castle, a symbol of Scottish independence and residence of many kings and queens. We enjoyed seeing Robert the Bruce statue, the magnificent rooms, and views. We had a lot of fun that week with the Bruce name.
Bob with Robert the Bruce

The Castle has numerous events, including weddings and plays, and this gown was part of an art show.
We could see the William Wallace Monument at Stirling from the castle.
We had lunch at a little cafe in the compound and then back on the bus to visit Brannockburn Visitor Centre and a 3-D presentation about the June 23-24, 1314, battle which made Bruce so famous. Our notes say that on the return to Glasgow we had an orientation drive past the 12th century cathedral, university buildings and elegant Georgian squares built by wealthy tobacco barons, and I sort of have a memory of that, but suspect I dozed a bit on the bus. We walked and looked around for a place to eat, but ended up back at the hotel dining room and had a fine dinner of salmon.

If I'd had more time in Scotland (returned Wednesday evening), I would have visited more museums, ruins and looked at more art. The battles, whether clan on clan or Scots against Vikings or English, are all mushed together in my mind. But I still would have had the same questions. If Scotland became independent of the U.K., would they tear down all those statues of deceased or visiting kings and knock down museums to failed causes? Would they sink the Britannia ship the Queen used on family holidays?

Scots were/are not united on language, culture, religion, politics, monarchies, or distilled beverages, and it's a very small country. But they don't seem to be ripping apart their history because of the warts as we are doing in the USA. And one other thing, that beautiful landscape is from "climate change." We saw numerous non-violent volcanoes, and strange rocks and boulders dumped there by retreating glaciers thousands of years ago.

Beautiful Glengoyne Distillery 

Here I am at the Glengoyne Whisky Distillery to see how barley, water, and yeast create a popular drink

1 comment:

Jim Urish said...

Thank you Norma. I am living vicariously and you struck a fond remembrance of Stirling. King James I of England was actually Scottish (and the King James Bible) was baptized as a Roman Catholic prior to John Knox and the Reformation in Scotland. He was baptized in Stirling castle's chapel. Looking forward to more installments!