Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nearly Didn't Make it to Scotland

Before I mention the first castle, I wanted to say that I almost didn't make it to Scotland, and was totally unprepared with what to do...what a near disaster!

This was the first castle we visited and it was very cold here! I loved this castle--only one room that was finished off and decorated, otherwise it was in ruins and trying to envision what it looked like when people lived here was more fun.

It was high above cliffs, surrounded by water on 3 sides and had a long way down stairs, then a long path up again until you came to the one entrance, easy to see anyone approaching by land or by sea.

Here was one of the rooms that would have been occupied by someone of status.

This shows some of the walls and one of the more finished buildings.

I love the water, and loved seeing the waves crashing on the rocks below the castle's cliffs. It's a long way down!

Here is one of the storage rooms. Note all the rocks were covered in green moss. It was cold and misty, cloud-covered, a cold breeze while we were here.

Note the thickness of the walls. Long drop off here to the rocks below!

This was the well where they would get their water. I was having fun getting a reflection of the castle in the water. I imagined a medieval people gathering to get water at the well for meals.

In the earlier days, arrow slits were part of the defense system. Later, they created round holes for guns.

Again, rocky, watery grave if prisoners tried to escape, and very difficult to access from down below. The castles were built with primarily defense in mind.

This was the chapel.

We were very fortunate that the place was virtually empty and so were able to get a lot of pictures without having a ton of people in them. :)

After we saw this castle, I felt the trip was worth all the while.

Every vacation should have a disaster or two to make them really memorable, right? Of course! So I made my flight just fine to Houston, to Newark, was getting ready to board for Edinbourgh, and my passport had expired the month before.

I have to say that the folks at Continental Airlines were wonderful. They helped me to get to Philadelphia on Amtrak the next morning and the security at the Customs House were wonderful, and the clerks there too, to ensure that I could get on my way. It was a sweat job getting a train, a taxi, a photo from Kinkos over half a mile from the Custom House, and all the while I'm lugging a bag (the other went to Edinburgh and was happily waiting for me there), very briefly noting historical monuments and buildings along the way in my frantic rush, a very thorough screening, and then hours later with new passport in hand, a rushed taxi ride back, which was the scariest part as the meter went out on the driver's taxi and he kept trying to get his phone that had fallen on the floor while slamming on his brakes when someone stopped in front of him in the traffic filled streets. Then the train ride back to Newark, back through security and on the plane that I should have taken the night before.

Which meant that I didn't have a night to sleep. As soon as I arrived in Edinburgh, I met my friends and we were on our way across Scotland!

The way I look at it was that I had never been on a train, never to Philadelphia, and so it was a unique experience. And it showed that an impossible situation was made possible. I will also say that I'm not the only one who has faced this crisis!!!Although I wished I had seen that my passport was nearly expired. But I've only used it once in 10 years, so I never even thought about that aspect!!!

Maybe it'll go in a book someday!!!

Have any wild adventures in traveling?

"Giving new meaning to the term alpha male."


Angela Kay Austin said...

Wow, Terry what an experience. I remember one of the first times I traveled internationally (Italy), I told the people at the counter the wrong destination (London) which was only the first leg of my flight. So, suffice it to say, when I reached Rome, my bags were sitting in London, and didn't reach me until they showed up by FedEx to my apartment after I'd returned home. Oh well, great reason to shop in Italy!

The pictures you posted were beautiful ;-)

Terry Spear/Terry Lee Wilde said...

Hi Angela!

Ohmigosh, that's awful about your luggage! I was so afraid when I arrived in Scotland, I wouldn't have my luggage. It arrived happily the day before and the folks there were the nicest! But when we went to Pensacola to my son's wedding before conference, my daughter's suitcase didn't arrive and she couldn't wear the dress she'd bought specially for the wedding. *sigh*

Joanne said...

We visited Scotland on a home exchange, and had a wonderful time in Glasgow. By train, we were able to visit many other Scottish sites.

Thanks for the pics, and glad your adventure/disaster worked out.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I am so glad you got to visit Scotland. Dunnottar Castle was my second favorite place to visit when we toured Scotland three years ago. Luckily we also had a beautiful day and could spend a couple of hours exploring.

My daughter works for the county and takes care of passports so we are always reminded by her to check way before we travel. Glad it all worked out so well and added spice to your holiday.

Lee Lopez said...

I'm a very experienced traveler, but it doesn't matter disasters happen. I've been the Scotland and this castle, it's magnificent..While in Scotland I bought a boat load of yarn. Coming back into the US, it got sperated from me in Seattle, (that's a long story). What it came down to, a baggage handler got pissed at me, and put my bags aside to sit in the Seattle airport for 3days. I got to SF, no bags, no yarn, no clothes. My hubby handled all the calls to the airlines, and suggested they look in Seattle, luck would have it, the guy he talked to knew some there, and the found are luggage sitting quietly parked in a corner. We got it withing a day, clothes and yarn intact.

Lu said...

Oh my heavens, you must have felt sick! I'm so glad you were able to get a replacement so quickly, and with what sounds like a smoothly working bureaucracy.

Your photos are fabulous. It truly looked like you had the place to yourselves. A beautiful spot, but just thinking of living there, I bet it's windy all the time, makes me chilly.

Mona Risk said...

Terry, your pictures are fantastic.
But you would need to put a gun to my head to have me walk up to that cliff. I am terrified of height and prefer to admire the castle in your pictures. Glad you had a good time.


"Giving new meaning to the term alpha male."

I love that phrase. Maybe because it hits so close to home.

Your pictures of Scotland are great. Sorry, but I had to laugh about your passport. I haven't used my since my last trip to Israel. But I keep it updated, just in case I can move Lou off the couch. LOL.......

Haven't visited Scotland but would love too. Had a friend there and we wrote back and forth. Have lovely postcard pictures.