Well, I finally had time to go through all the pictures we took and reflect on the vacation my daughter, Jessica and I took to Ireland and Scotland. I will post some of the pictures and share by thoughts and what I learned on this vacation. We hit the airport with our Itinerary and our plane was promptly delayed by almost three hours. What did I learn? Do not set the itinerary as if everything will run on time. We missed two of our planned outings the first day.
We did get to the Cliffs of Mohr which were amazing. Make sure you stay on the path as there have been people who have fallen and been blown off the cliffs. The only Puffin we saw was this one in the Visitor’s Centre though.
Dublin was amazing. There was so much to see and do. Of course a lot had to do with drinking and touring whiskey or beef facilities. The Hop On, Hop Off tours are great but again scheduling is a problem. What I learned: Give yourself lots of time to get from one place to another and if you want to tour some of the more well known attractions, make sure you get tickets in advance. The other thing I learned is that if you tour all the distilleries and Guinness on the same day, you might have trouble walking on the cobblestone streets.
Belfast and The Giant’s Causeway took up the next day. Amazing Black Cab tour in Belfast taught me so much about the troubles there between the Catholics and the Protestants. Those were terrible times and I was very humbled. Giant’s Causeway is a natural wonder and I would have loved to spend more time there, but after the climbing, I was getting tired. What I learned: Once again, time factored in and we could not see a couple of the sights we had planned on. One was another distillery, so I guess that was okay. I did fall in love with the Raspberry Cider they made here.
Back to Dublin to finish up what we missed the first time around and then flew to Scotland for part two of our trip. What I learned: Do not leave your passport on the plane! Yes, I left my passport on the plane. There is no passport check when you enter Scotland from Ireland, so I didn’t realize it was missing until after I was unpacking. After many calls, visits back to the airport and talking to the police, I did not find it. We decided to continue on with our journey and try again to locate it when we go to Edinburgh. Being retired, I wasn’t too upset. If I had to stay a couple extra days to get a temporary passport, I was okay with that, but only time will tell.
We headed off for a day’s drive through the highlands with a stop at Dunrobin Castle. Overnight in Wick then off to Drumdrochit for a visit to Loch Ness the next day. Another Castle (Urquhardt), a boat ride, and a museum before checking in to our Hostel. We had our own little pod in the backyard. I even had Haggis for dinner that night.
Next Day we headed to Edinburgh. We stopped at Scone Palace, where we ate Scones and Fort George. What I learned: The average speed in Scotland is 70 MPH on a 4 land motorway and 60 on a 2 land motorway. With all the twists and turns, were not close to that speed. I also learned that my daughter is an excellent driver, she did all the driving so I enjoyed the scenery. Before I left I bought a really good rain jacket and boy am I glad I did. What I learned: It rains a lot in Scotland.
The next day we began to investigate what I had to do to get my passport back or get a replacement one. If I did not locate it, I had to go to London England to the Canadian High Commissioners Office. It would take 2 to 3 days to replace. We got on the phone, email, twitter and facebook and sent messages. Off to spend the day in Edinburgh. We spent 4 days there, at least my daughter did. We visited the Scotch Whisky Experience, Edinburgh Castle, Holyrood Palace, a couple of Cathedrals and churches. We did some shopping, eating and drinking as well as the Dungeon tour and The Doomed, Dead and Buried tour, of course it rained during the two hour walking tour. One day in Edinburgh I wore my husband’s Grumpy shirt. That was one way that we brought him with us on this trip. If you look closely you will see me wearing it in a couple of the pictures.
At the end of the first day there, my daughter received a message that Aer Lingus had my passport. It was in Dublin. We booked flights for me to head back to Dublin the next day to get my passport while my daughter continued to tour and shop in Edinburgh.That was a fun time. It took some convincing but they let me on the plane, but Dublin has a ton of security and they wanted to see my passport. The Passport control person talked to her supervisor and then we went for a walk. I was not sure where we were going, but it turned out that we were going to the Aer Lingus office to see if my story was true. It was, and I retrieved my passport. What I learned: Always put your passport away safely after showing it to someone. It was a costly lesson.
A couple more days travelling in the lowlands of Scotland finished off the trip. What I learned: Do not plan a trip to the UK at the end of September, beginning of October as many things are closed and you might have to hop a fence. Kelburn Castle, the Maritime Museum, Culzean Castle, Paisley Abbey, Inverary Castle, Loch Fyne and the Inverary Jail finished up our trip.
Overall, it was an amazing trip. There is so much I did not get to see, that I will need to go back some day. However, I do not care if I never see another castle again. I hope I did not bore you with my post.