Posted by: ramblinrobert | April 14, 2008

Coffee in the morning (photos added)

I’m at the little cafe downstairs from the hostel, satisfying a craving for a cup of hot coffee and taking a few minutes to write before heading out for the day. Yesterday was a day for the buses (bought a day pass for £3) and trying to find a couple of gardens I’d found online before leaving home. Couldn’t find anything at one location, but still Read More…

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Posted by: ramblinrobert | April 14, 2008

Getting my bearings (picture added)

Well, made it here OK yesterday. Left the office at noon Friday, took BART to SFO, KLM to AMS and again to GLA. AMS, that’s the Amsterdam airport, was a great place to wait a few hours between flights. They have a Vincent van Gogh/Dutch Masters museum, which I did visit, and a meditation room I checked out because I’ve never seen such a thing, but I didn’t go in there. I did see a Muslim praying at his prayer rug and a guy sitting on the floor quietly reading. I might have gone inside, but I’m afraid anything approaching resting would have put me to sleep in minutes. I did keep myself awake all day, until 9 pm (Saturday) Glasgow time when, exhausted, I put myself to bed. But that’s the only jet lag I’ve had. Today I’ve been back to normal and had a good day getting myself oriented to the city’s geography and transit system.

I’m still trying to figure out how to post pictures to the blog. I think I know how in general, but I’m not sure this particular computer will let me do that. For now, BYE, as the cafe is about to close for the night.

Posted by: ramblinrobert | April 12, 2008

Gratitude attitude

First aid kit? Check. Sewing kit? Check. Passport, credit card, debit card, drivers license? Check, check, check and check. Books returned to library? Check. All gels and liquids Read More…

Posted by: ramblinrobert | April 10, 2008

Plan ahead or be spontaneous?

I’ll be in Scotland for three weeks. Two of those weeks are very intensely scheduled as part of Nadine’s tour. I wondered what to do with the remaining week (two days before and four days after the tour). I considered heading north to visit Findhorn, or west to visit the Isle of Mull. My friends Ben and Suzanne, after seeing the tour itinerary, suggested I just stay in Glasgow, Falkirk and Edinburgh and enjoy them at a more leisurely pace. They are not only seasoned travelers, but know Scotland, and I decided to follow their advice. So, before the tour I’ll take a couple of days to explore Glasgow and after the tour I’ll take a day to travel to Edinburgh, by way of Falkirk (gotta see the wheel!) then spend three days in Edingburgh before heading back to Glasgow to catch my flight home.

I wanted to know I had a bed when I arrived in Scotland, so Read More…

Posted by: ramblinrobert | April 10, 2008

All my bag is packed, I’m ready to go…lightly

I had to face it: My last trip abroad, to Costa Rica, was a packing disaster. I can blame it on the natural history class I was taking–the soil tester, the knee-high rubber boots, the well-loved-but-not-travel-friendly camera. They were all necessary for the class.

Right. Whatever excuse I make, the truth is that Read More…

Posted by: ramblinrobert | April 9, 2008

How did I pay for the trip? (A catchup posting)

No, I don’t mean where did I get the money to pay for the trip. I don’t like to borrow money, so all those pennies I’ve been saving for 50 years have added up and the trip will be paid for in cash. But, apparently, it’s not an uncommon approach to “travel now, pay later”; one of my co-workers wished me well on the trip, then commented that I would come back to some big bills. That’s not my way.

What I really mean is Read More…

Posted by: ramblinrobert | March 21, 2008

Why this particular tour?

If you slogged thru my “Why Scotland?” post, you know I have interests in eating and growing food, music and weaving. So, imagine my delight when Jan, the wife of a childhood friend, forwarded me an email about a trip to Scotland that focuses on weaving, music and food. Jan was on the trip last year. Nadine, the woman who leads the trip, is from a mid-west farm background, sings and weaves. In fact, for professional purposes, she bills herself as the Singing Weaver. Although I don’t expect my future trips to be tours, this particular one offers the chance to get my feet wet with European travel while exploring three major interests. I couldn’t resist.

Posted by: ramblinrobert | March 21, 2008

Why Scotland?

Several people have asked me “Why Scotland?” Given that Europe is a big place with so many places to choose for my first foray across the pond, why indeed? I wish I had a short, pithy answer, something other than “Why not?” But, the real reason, in true Scottish fashion, has deep roots and a long story. Read More…

Posted by: ramblinrobert | March 21, 2008

A green-hilled ramble and a surprising meal

Saturday a friend enticed me away from house-cleaning chores to go for a ramble in the East Bay hills at Briones Regional Park. It was a gorgeous spring day with the usually brown (oops, “golden” in Cal-speak) hills a beautiful emerald green and wildflowers just starting to pop out. Of course, I fantasized I was ramblin’ in the hills of Scotland.

My only regret was Read More…

Posted by: ramblinrobert | February 22, 2008

How the heck do I get there? An exercise in playing favorites.

I’m behind in my blog, already. Scotland–heck, life–is happening faster than I can write about it. But that won’t stop me from trying. First I’ll write about present activities then go back and fill in a few details about this trip. For those who have traveled to Europe, some of this will be old hat. But for this new traveler crossing the pond, every step of the way is an adventure.

Last week’s adventure was learning about air travel to and around Europe. For travel within the U.S., I’m a creature of habit. Having long-ago decided on Read More…

Posted by: ramblinrobert | February 22, 2008

What happened at the ceilidh, anyway?

I would have loved the ceilidh for the highland pipes alone. San Francisco’s Stewart Tartan Pipe & Drum Band piped and drummed their way in and out of the hall several times. There was a drummers-only piece and a couple solo pipe pieces. The last piece of the evening was a favorite, Amazing Grace, played on a set of pipes I’ve never seen before. They were smaller and quieter than the traditional war pipes. All in all, a bagpipe lover’s good time.

But, there was more. The local community has Read More…

Posted by: ramblinrobert | February 3, 2008

Startin’ with a ceilidh

Starting with a what? A ceilidh, pronounced KAY-lee. In Gaelic, I understand that means a social dance or a party. Tonight I went to my first ceilidh, which seemed like a good way to learn more about Scottish culture, since I’m going to Scotland this spring. It also seems like a good way to start my travel blog. I’ve traveled before, usually keeping a diary and taking lots of picture to share with friends. This year, however, is my first trip to Europe, so I’ll try a blog to keep friends and family up to date when I’m on the road. In the meantime, I’ll post notes here about my trip preparations. Welcome!

Bob

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