In my ongoing desire* to leave the house, and then the state of Minnesota, and maybe even the country, I will now reminisce about what it was like to go to Scotland for the very first time. Jason and I traveled there in the fall of 2018 and, honestly, I’ve been wanting to write about it all here since then. Delinquent blogger alert!
* COVID is keeping me home, for now, in support of overwhelmed medical workers and all of the people who are at a higher risk than I am. I am doing my part to help stop the spread, as much as I can. Yes, it is getting harder to continue doing this every day. But I am grateful for my ability to comfortably stay home.
I’ve come to really enjoy exploring the Minneapolis/St. Paul (MSP) airport. It’s small enough that it’s easy to wander the various concourses without getting lost or worry about the time it might take to get from one gate to the next. Of course, since I live in the Twin Cities, I just have to show up a couple hours before my flight take-off time and there’s no worries about catching a connecting flight.
According to my photo logs, though, I didn’t do much exploring during this departure. Instead I started a new sock knitting project at my gate. I apparently told myself socks would be a good project to bring along. (Unfortunately I never finished those socks because I’ve since learned something about myself: I hate knitting socks. And I’m okay with that.)
A few things I always enjoy doing for a trip: taking a photo of our plane before we board and taking a selfie on the plane before takeoff. It’s a sort of bonding mechanism with our airplane(s) — to know what we’re riding in. The selfie? Well, it’s always interesting to see how our expressions shift from the beginning of a trip to the end.
I always love to get up into the clouds, too. It’s a weird thrill to see my home city from a different perspective. Can I see my house?! (The answer is always no, but it’s still fun to search.)
We had a four hour-ish layover in Philadelphia, so I opted to enjoy a couple of Philadelphia things I already knew about: The Fresh Prince (I could not get the show’s theme song out of my head) and a Philly cheese-steak sandwich.
There were a few other fun things we discovered — mostly public art installations. As we explored, we found some fun yarn-bombs and other really intricate fiber art depicting flowers or bugs in lace.
Finally, though, it was time to get on the plane for the long flight to Glasgow! Jason was starting to show his excitement just a little… with just a hint of disbelief that we were actually going to be in Scotland.
I think we left Philadelphia around 5 or 6pm (maybe) and then arrived in Glasgow around 7am. Time zones are so weird and astounding to me.
While waiting to go through customs, we enjoyed previewing the various snacks and beverages that were available in vending machines. We also looked briefly at the current newspapers to see what was happening. (Is the Scottish Sun a tabloid?)
After customs, I’m not ashamed to admit that I took a little comfort in finding a Starbucks. We needed a little bit of a jolt to get through the next leg of our journey… jumping on a local bus to get to a train station to get to Ayr.
I might’ve clung nervously to my phone and the GPS coordinates on its map while we were on the local bus. Between my lack of sleep, the lack of instructional signage about the bus system, and the Scottish dialect, I was having doubts about actually getting to the train station. The trains seemed run a right schedule and offer few times throughout the day for getting to Ayr. I didn’t want to be both exhausted and stuck at the station in Glasgow any longer than I needed to be.
Spoiler alert: we made it just fine! We spent a relaxing hour on the train, enjoying the countryside sites of southeastern Scotland. It was raining fairly hard in Ayr when we arrived, so we ducked into a little coffee shop we found near that train station to check in with our lodging for the evening. After the rain cleared up a bit, we set out on a walking tour to find our hotel.
And that’s where I’ll pick up on my next post about Scotland! (Which I’ll hopefully find the motivation to type up sooner rather than later.)