Scotland and Ireland Day 1: Getting there is half the worry

As with every trip, I’m not entirely sure we’ll make it until we do. It seems that right before a trip, someone is sick, the weather is ominous, and so on. For our Scotland/Ireland trip, we had the first two and mild concerns that the North Korean missile issue and its effect on international travel.

Since my husband and I are both teachers, our spring break isn’t always guaranteed. Use too many snow days and the week becomes a long weekend.  Trip insurance that covers school year extension is our friend. Up until the middle of March, we were doing great. We’d only used one day and how often does it snow in the middle of March? As I was thinking we were probably safe, the snowstorm to end all March storms was predicted. It ended up fizzling out and fortunately we only used one more day. This was after it had caused me a week of weather update runs and worrying about wobbles in the storm track.

Then, the week before the trip, Sport came down with the flu. It was so mild we didn’t realize that’s what it was until after the tamiflu window had closed. The doctors recommended I got on it as a preventative (Sport and I hadn’t gotten the flu shot this year). Sport’s fever didn’t let up until the day before, right when I started to feel a little sick. I never really had a fever, but felt overall achy and, well, bad. By some miracle, all my symptoms subsided on the flight. It also could have been that I stopped taking the tamiflu. I’m not sure that wasn’t the culprit of my malaise.

So, April 10 dawned and it seemed we would make it! We survived the traffic to JFK airport, sailed through security and had plenty of time for a late lunch before our flight. Our British Airways flight was uneventful. We had the four seats across the middle and were as comfortable as it’s possible to be on a plane.

What a large plane! What a dirty window!

We were served a meal, which I haven’t had on a flight since my honeymoon.  (Free wine, too!) The choices were chicken curry and a baked pasta. The chicken curry was good. The meals came with salad, rolls and a chocolate cake. No one seemed to want the rolls, so I was able to start my trip food hoarding.

On a trip, hunger strikes at the worst moments and usually when there’s no food to be had. My solution is to put all easy-to-store food in my bag until it’s needed. This technique has come in handy when we’ve been hungry late at night, didn’t like any lunch options, or needed some food to take with medicine in the middle of nowhere.

It seemed as if the girls got a couple hours of sleep and my husband also seemed to get an hour or so (though he says he didn’t). I dozed, but whenever I checked the clock not much time had passed. About an hour or so before landing, they served a light breakfast. The choices were a Nutrigrain bar and a Soreen loaf. I’d never heard of Soreen and like to try new foods when traveling. Soreen it was!

The Soreen bar was delightful and odd at the same time. I saved the wrapper so that I could remember it, but it’s very difficult to describe. The bar advertised “deliciously squidgy energy”. I’m not sure if squidgy is a British word or something the manufacturer made up. But it’s a very good word to describe the texture.

In addition to the bars, the girls and I each had a cup of tea. This would start our cuppa tea count for the trip.

Landing in London was uneventful and we went through customs before our connection to Edinburgh. Because we had to go through security again, I had to leave behind the extra bottle of wine the flight attendant gave me. The limit for liquids carry-on luggage is 100 mL and the bottle was 175mL.  My bottle was one of about 30 on the shelf. Maybe airlines should consider giving smaller bottles so this isn’t a problem. Emergency wine is as important as emergency food.

I can’t remember anything about the flight to Edinburgh, so it must have been on time and smooth. We landed about 10:40ish and headed to the rental car pick-up. On the way we stopped to get some food before the drive to Stirling Castle. In addition to sandwiches and yogurt, I got some British sweets for the girls’ Easter eggs.

We were super impressed with our Hertz rental…a brand new Volvo SUV. We were supposed to get an “intermediate manual” but it was automatic and beyond what I would describe as intermediate. Yay for vacation magic!

Our goal for the day was Stirling Castle. Spoiler…we didn’t make it.


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