The Adventure Has Begun…

22 Jul

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Sorry Sarah if that’s the same way you started your London blog…it just seems to fit.  We have settled into our hotel room in Edinburgh, Scotland after about 27 hours of travel with just a 5-10 minute cat nap here and there. We are tired but have seen alot of beautiful countryside already.

We started our journey by travelling to Evansville to catch the flight to Chicago.  Had a bit of a delay there.  Maintenance had to fix a monitor on the plane, then they had some trouble with the air-conditioning as we sat at the gate to wait.  Once we were en route, the airspace over Indiana was closed for some reason.  We had to travel to Chicago in a less direct route, toward St. Louis, but made it with time to spare.  We had no trouble at all in Chicago (at least no trouble making the connection) but we once again had a delay while maintenance re-set a sensor of some sort.  It was a quick fix though and we were soon on our way.

We landed at Heathrow in London at about 8:15 am local time and made it through customs, found a cab and had them take us to the St. Pancras International Train Station to catch a train to Edinburgh, Scotland.  Once we navigated the ticket purchasing procedure, we only had about 15 minutes before the train left the station.  So while Jimmy completed the transaction, I stepped across to Paul’s (which came highly recommended by Sarah) and bought us each a sandwich and a bottle of water to take onto the train.  It was 11:00 am in London (still 5:00 am back home).  We made it to the train platform, but could not find a seat anywhere!  We had two things going against us.  One was that the previous train to Edinburgh had been unexpectedly cancelled and all of those people moved to the 11:00 am train.  The second was (we found out later) that this is the first day of “Holiday” in England.  The school children are dismissed and families head out of town, much as we do when our school year concludes.  But since the train is the main mode of transportation, it was unexpectedly crowded.  We had to stand in the space between where two train cars connect.  After about an hour and a half of standing, I did finally just sit down on the floor and take a rest for about 20 minutes or so.  There were others without seats as well, and we ended up having to stand until we stopped at a train station about 2 1/2 hours into the trip.  Once enough seats were vacated, we were able to sit, but not together!  It was probably only the last 45 minutes of the 4 1/2 hour train trip that we could sit beside each other.  But we did enjoy talking to a very nice lady that was born in Edinburgh.  She was standing with us in the space where the cars connect to one another.  She asked us all about our plans and told us of her travels.  She’d only been to two US cities, New York City and Las Vegas, but she liked them both.  She was just coming back from a few days in Paris and told us to be careful of pick pockets while we are there.  She tried very hard to help us get a seat, and she kept watching to see if she could see anyone make a move that might indicate they were getting up.  She even told the ticket checker that came through to check tickets that we’d travelled all the way from the US and were having to stand.  The ticket checker was very apologetic, but there just were no seats to be had until later in the trip.  When we return to London on Sunday, we will definately get to the train earlier to scope out two seats together.

I took a few pictures today, but they are not great since I was either taking them from the cab or through the train window, but I have included them here the kids can get an idea of what we’ve seen today.  After a little more rest, we will venture out from the hotel to find something to eat and walk around the city to get our bearings.

Our hotel is on the “royal mile”, the mile long stretch that begins at Edinburgh Castle and ends at Holyrood Palace.

On our agenda for the rest of our time here is a visit to Edinburgh Castle, a visit to the Brittannia (the now retired yacht that the royals used) , a walking tour around the city, a hop on hop off bus tour, a hike up to Arthur’s Seat (an old volcano with sweeping views of the city) and a tour of the fairly recently discovered old underground section of the city  that was just closed up and built over.  According to our friend on the train, it doesn’t even begin to get dark here until about 10:00 pm or so, so we still have lots of daylight.

Oh,and  people are wearing coats here!  We left Evansville at 104 degrees.  When we landed in London it was 52, I think it’s even colder here.  Glad I packed alot of warm stuff!  Love you all!

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6 Responses to “The Adventure Has Begun…”

  1. Jim Grayson July 22, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    Hi, Deb. I’m very happy you guys have been able to make it to Scotland, as part of my own heritage lies in being Scots-Irish. One thing I wish, that you would put some people in your photos, like family people. :o) Not being mean, dear friend. Ijust love you guys and have for around 30 years now, so I’d just love to see you where you’re vacationing. :o)
    My love to you all,
    Jim Grayson

    • Deb July 23, 2011 at 1:19 am #

      Jim,
      So glad to hear from you! Yes, it’s just me and Jimmy on this trip, it’s our 30th anniversary on the 31st and we have talked about coming over to see Europe for some time, but especially since Sarah spent the last two summers over here and told us everything there is to see. More to come…Love you guys!

  2. Jim Grayson July 22, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

    Addendum:
    Hi again, Deb. When I wrote my comment, I had read MOST of your post, not all. No wonder there’s no one in the photos if you had to take them on the fly. Forget my stupid comments, dear friend. One thing I’m not clear of here. Is it just you and jimmy on this trip? I’m beginning to think so. I haven’t seen anything from you guys for quite a while so i haven’t seen any preludes to this trip. Anyway, have a great one and may the Lord bless and keep you, and whoever is with you. May you arrive home safely when the time comes.
    Love to you all,
    Jim

  3. Pat Lewis July 22, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    Looks like lots of excitment already. Glad the flights went well. ENJOY!!!!!!
    Love,Mom and Dad

  4. Sarah July 22, 2011 at 5:27 pm #

    I don’t think I’ve used that title in my blog, though it is a good title. :) Scottish people are nice. Have fun! LOVE YOU

  5. Sandra August 18, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    So enjoyed reading and seeing your pictures…..what a beautiful vacation~ Thanks for sharing !!

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