You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles”
I totally meant to use the song I used last week (I’m Gonna Be – 500 Miles) today but sort of used it up. Fear not, because there are other 500 miles songs. Not better or worse; just different. And speaking of different, have you noticed the changes around here today? I am undergoing a big blog redesign and I am LOVING it. The last one was several years ago, but sometimes I’m a slow learner. Happy to have this new face, to tell you about my Glasgow trip! In a lot of travel posts, I tend to ramble every little thought and detail, and even short trips get broken up into several posts. Sometimes I act suspenseful, even when it’s not that suspenseful. So I’m going to try to be more brief and to the point with these, especially if I can only continue on a Friday, but I will try.
Let’s pretend I’m speed-talking! So I sometimes, but not always, get really anxious when driving to or around NYC. I talked to my therapist about this at length to feel more prepared to do it again. This could mean comfort items, preparation, visualization, tools in your toolbelt, etc. So I was leaving my four kids for the first time, IN THE SNOW, and heading over the George Washington Bridge to Newark Airport off-site parking. I was pretty calm until I got close to the bridge and I got very anxious. I sprayed some anti-anxiety spray into my mouth, opened the window for fresh air, drove over the bridge, and then high-fived myself for all I had just done, in the face of what I was about to do. It’s ok that I got anxious! Who wouldn’t? So anyway, I met up with my mom at the airport where we had three hours to kill, to snack and talk, and get excited. Then, long plane ride!
A red-eye east with a layover means no real dinner. No real night of sleep. Fitful and restless bursts of sleep on the plane ARE your night. It was weird that we had to count that as one of our trip nights! We landed in Iceland, and they don’t have tarmacs the way we do. To board the next flight, we had to body-smash together into a shuttle, go up a portable flight of steps, & into the plane. Landing was normal though, and we made a new friend who was also going to Glasgow. We hung out with her for the two hours or so, while I wandered the airport and marveled at their amazing bathrooms – it’s like each stall is its own room with sink and everything. I also checked out Icelandic yogurt and pastries. I was excited to board the plane because being out in the open air meant that Iceland was actually the first place I visited after leaving the continent. It wasn’t technically Scotland! Plus, this friendly guy was there.
The flight was about two hours, and we were chasing the sunrise, which was dreamy. I had the sun on my face and then we landed over the most green place I’d ever seen. Sure, the city looked more like a city, but the scenery was dreamy!
We landed, and began our string of good fortune and whimsy. From the driver holding our name on a tablet in the airport, to the entire hotel staff, we were certainly welcomed to Glasgow! We hadn’t had a solid meal since lunch the previous day, so we were recommended this famous tea room around the corner. We checked out the menu and while it looked fabulous, we wanted more breakfast foods, so we headed to a place with PORRIDGE and lattes! Porridge, people! Have no fear – the tea room will come into play on another day. And of course, that story is totally magical. Of course. Then, we shopped all over! We had heard there were police boxes in the city (six in all), and I swear there isn’t one police box we didn’t stumble upon accidentally. Ok there was one that our tour guide showed us on the second day in the city, but we had magical police box luck.
So I had a joke that wasn’t a joke with my family that I was on the hunt for six things in Scotland:
1. Highland cows (coos)
2. Jellycat Stuffies
3. Good chocolate
4. Seeing Bruce Hornsby in person and not just concert
5. Loch Ness Monster
6. Doctor Who toys (you would think THIS would be easiest, right? wrong)
Major Spoiler Here:
On that first day with no plans and pure exploring, I got nearly all of the souvenirs I was going to get. And I will say that of the six things on the list of things I was on the hunt for, the HARDEST by far, was Doctor Who toys. We went into every toy and comics store! One of the employees told me that because of the popularity of the Christmas special, they used to have lots of toys but now didn’t. So I really struck out there. Did I strike out elsewhere? Well, I mean I’m not the one who proved the existence of the Loch Ness monster, or you would have heard about it by now. The rest of the list? Yeah. Those are stories for another day (or paragraph), though. Had to get some chocolate on the first day, of course:
That night we tried to go to the same famous tea room for an early dinner, but found out they closed too early for it. The amazing employee there walked us a few blocks over to a fun bar for dinner. This was probably our one fail of the trip. It was loud and had a strange smell. I got an ice cream soda and we both got salads with too much dressing but quite delicious popcorn chicken. I was surprised that this fancy tea room recommended the dive bar, but hey, the chicken really was great. And then it was goodnight to Glasgow.
After pretty solid sleep, but luckily not too much sleep, we woke up to our first full day in Glasgow! We had our first of several hotel breakfasts, which was awesome. They start you with a Kickstarter (a spicy shot of lemon, ginger, honey) and then coffee, tea, and your choices from pancakes, porridge, egg dishes, and a buffet. We had a tour scheduled for 2pm, but with time to kill before that, we took an Uber all the way across town to the botanical gardens, where we also found our third police box near the entrance!
Then we took an Uber to the Glasgow Cathedral but we were early so we decided to duck into a tiny Italian restaurant for minestrone and pizza. Saw our fourth police box, and this one was operating as a rather tasty coffee shop! Then we met our tour guide, Louise! What a delight. I was against having a tour but she was AWESOME. She led us through the cathedral and then the necropolis, and the tour was never boring. We learned all about the history of the city and the people, and a lot about whiskey, and had a vigorous four hours on foot. Simply gorgeous!
And then, I can’t believe it, we found the fifth police box!!
We had dinner at the hotel that night, which was really delicious. We shared a lot of small bites. Then we both got to soak in the awesome hotel tub, and then it was early(ish) to bed to greet another full day in Glasgow! What’s next for Wednesday and Thursday? Another fantastic Louise tour! A “wee bit Scottish” weather, which means the wind broke my umbrella! Bruce Hornsby, oh my! The Highlands, oh my! The Loch Ness Monster, or not? Oh my! You know where to find me!
A hundred miles, a hundred miles
You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles
Lord, I’m one, Lord, I’m two
Lord, I’m three, Lord, I’m four
Lord, I’m 500 miles from my home
500 miles, 500 miles
500 miles, 500 miles
Lord, I’m 500 miles from my home”