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Taking off!

Today’s the day!  We begin our adventure this afternoon.  My sister and I will drive to Chicago today and take off at 6:00 pm.

I had planned to develop the itinerary more and post it but other things came up.  Actually, this is the way I usually travel:  I have a destination and a list of things to do but I wait until I’m there to decide what to do.

It’s 2:00 am and I’m packing.   I checked the weather in Edinburgh.  It’s cool and damp.  Just like here.  Sun is expected later in the week.  I’m debating about taking my coat versus my raincoat.  And my rubber boots.  Yes? No?  I’d wear them on the plane, no way I’d pack them, they’re bulky.

My husband offered me his very nice digital SLR camera with some incredible lenses, and I had to say no.  It weighs a lot.  Besides, everytime I’ve tried to use it, my pictures turn out a blur.  I just want to point and shoot.  My pocket camera takes pretty nice pictures.

My sister Chris has one too, and she takes pictures constantly.  I have demanded the right to screen the photos before she shows them to anyone else so I can delete or edit any that I hate.

I got a new suitcase.  Carry-on size, it has wheels and a handle, and is made of sturdy brightly colored plastic.  I can sit on it if I’m careful.  If I end up checking it, it will be easy to spot on the luggage carousel.

Looking forward!



This is the itinerary I promised to post.  I’ll flesh it out and post a note when I do. 



May 4: in Edinburgh

Arriving in Edinburgh about midday (even if the flight arrives on time, we’ll still have to go through Customs and Immigration, and get from the airport to the hotel), we’ll leave our luggage at the hotel – check-in is later in the day but we don’t have to drag our bags with us.  We’ll explore the city – the hotel and the B&B are near Princes Street, and it is not far to the Castle and the Royal Mile. 

We need to check out the public transportation system too, just to be sure we know how it works and that we can get where we want to go.  Mostly though, we’ll just go off on our own and see what’s there and what interests us. 

A pub lunch, a nice dinner.  My sister Chris is looking forward to trying deep-fried Mars Bars!  We both want to go to Mary King’s Close, though that will probably have to wait till another night.  I don’t want to plan anything late or strenuous the day we arrive! 

May 5: in Edinburgh

This is a day for serious sight-seeing.  Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood, some museums. 

May 6: Out of Edinburgh

I plan a trip into the Fife, sightseeing castles and other historic stuff. 

May 7:  In Edinburgh

More serious sight-seeing because I love a good museum and I can spend all day in one. But there’s a lot more to see besides the historic stuff and the art museums.  There’s the Botanical Garden and the Zoo, and other stuff.  So…!

There’s also shopping, of course. 

May 8: On the road

Sightseeing across Scotland’s Central Belt, ending up in Glasgow.

May 9:  Glasgow

The hop-on-hop-off bus, which I’m going to call the HoHo, will get us around the city.  I plan to take all day for this.

May 10: Out of Glasgow

I want to go down the Clyde, to at least one of the islands.  There’s also Loch Lomond, Stirling, and the Trossachs. 

May 11: Last full day

If you’re returning via Edinburgh, this is the day to return to that city and catch up on whatever sights you missed or want to see more of. 

If you’re flying back from Glasgow, there’s plenty to see and do in the area.

May 12: Return flight.

Flight information:

This is based on flight info I found on Expedia.  Their website is http://www.expedia.com/

I looked for economy fares and the best rates I got are the basis for this information.  The fares to Scotland gave a direct flight from Chicago to Edinburgh.  The return flights all involved changing planes one time. 

All the flights I found leave Chicago at 6:00 pm and arrive in Edinburgh at 10:00 am.  The flight takes 10 hours and 0 minutes. 

Return flights leave Edinburgh at 12:10 pm and arrive in Chicago at 6:27 pm, or leave at 9:25 am and arrive at 3:26 pm.  I’m for the later flight! 

On this flight, you change planes in Newark, I think. 

The 12:10 takes 12 hours and 17 min; there is another flight that leaves at the same time but you have longer layover when you change planes, and you arrive at 7:23 pm.

The 9:25 takes 12 hours and 1 min.

Return Flights from Glasgow:

A British Air flight leaves Glasgow at 12:45 pm and arrives at Heathrow at 2:10 pm.

The plane on Brithish Air to Chicago leaves at 3:25 pm and arrives in Chicago at 6:00 pm.  The flight takes about eight and a half hours.

Another option:

Chris and I are thinking about taking a train to London and flying out from there.  That adds at least a day to the trip – maybe longer, because she’s never been to London and there’s such a lot to see!


I’ve looked at a bunch of possibilities in Edinburgh and I like these two. 

The first is a Bed and Breakfast, with three bedrooms.  It is on the upper two floors of a Georgian townhouse in New Town, and quite beautiful in the pictures.  It is the place I would choose if I were going on my own or with an able-bodied companion. 


The link below, for Edinburgh Flats is for “self-catering” – that is, you get a kitchen.  I like that because I get tired of eating out all the time.  If you’re dealing with dietary restrictions, it is especially helpful.  Since this is a reality-based fantasy and my husband is going with me, I am going to have to consider his diet.


I’m still working on accommodations in Glasgow; I will post that information as soon as I can.

When and where?

I’m working on the itinerary.  I’ll have it up in a few days.  Here are some links I’m using.

Gazeteer for Scotland – interactive with maps and history and other info, very useful.


National Trust for Scotland:


Rampant Scotland:


A selection of over 160 places to visit in Scotland. Many of them are within a few hours drive of Edinburgh or Glasgow. All the selected locations have a description and at least one illustration – often a lot more than that!

When to Go:

I’m thinking early May would be good.

The royal wedding at the end of April means that there will be lots of people in the British Isles for the weeks before the wedding, and they will be all over, getting local color and history, before the big day.

By the beginning of June, the travel season will be in full swing, which means higher prices for airfare and hotels.  Yeah, I know this is Virtual Travel and therefore we don’t really have to worry about those things.  There’s always room at the Virtual Inn, so to speak.  Nevertheless, this is a reality–based fantasy and that means we are going to worry about prices.  And the weather.

There is always the weather to consider.  It’s likely  to be cold there in May.  On the other hand, the weather does sometimes surprise.  I’m looking into weather cams and that kind of thing.

Where to Go

I’m thinking about basing the trip in Edinburgh, or maybe part of the time in Edinburgh and part of the time in Glasgow, rather than spending only one or two nights in different hotels in different places.  That way we can unpack, and get familiar with the city, and feel a bit more connected with the place.

My sister Chris wants to go to the Edinburgh Festival in August.  I think it would be a pity to go in August and miss the Festival, but I also think it would be a pity to be in Scotland and not see the historic sights (or sites).

So what I propose is that we go early May and then do a return trip in August.

Where do you want to go?

I said I’d post the itinerary in mid-April. Until then, I’m taking suggestions.  Where in Scotland would you like to visit?

Edinburgh is a given.  But where in Edinburgh?   There’s a lot of stuff in Edinburgh besides the Castle and Holyroodhouse.  

My sister Chris has mentioned Mary King’s Close.  

There is a lovely botanical garden and nice parks but in late April or early May, it may be too cold to enjoy the outdoors.  

I’ll post links to relevant websites when the itinerary is set.

Virtually in Scotland in April

I’ll post an itinerary in mid-April, with some links and ideas for activities.  

Then you do your bit:  do some reading and research, just as you would if you were taking a real trip.

Each day of the trip, I’ll post something about where we went that day and what happened.  

Then you do your bit:  post your contributions to the ongoing story.  Write about the kinds of things you’d experience.   Doing research really helps with this.    (Like on our cruise, Chris and I were surprised by the elaborate marionettes  for sale on one of the Greek islands.  We never expected something like that, the guidebooks didn’t mention puppets, but there they were in the photos!  So we had to find out if there was a reason why, and make up a story about them.)

You don’t have to follow the itinerary exactly. 

If I plan a day trip somewhere, you don’t have to go.  You can stay in Edinburg and shop!  

Once I’ve posted about a particular day, you can go to that post anytime and add to the story.  I’ll be posting in April but if you want to add something in September, you can.  If you come in on Day 3 of the trip, you can go back to Day 1.  

Interact with each other.

On a real trip, you meet people.  If it’s a group thing, you interact with the other tour members.  Chris turns her ankle and Darlene gives her an ace bandage.  I develop a cough and someone tells me an old family recipe to treat it.  We change our money and George tells us about what it was like before they decimalized the currency.  

So write posts like that.  

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