We are more than a week into our fall trip to Scotland. We've spent a few days in our home base of Crieff at Merlindale B&B before moving to the Highlands and played a bit of golf (some new courses, some on our home course in Scotland, some with our friends John and Jacky Clifford, and we even finished in the middle of the pack in a pairs competition at Boat of Garten Golf and Tennis Club). We also managed to meet up in a tearoom near the Highlands with a couple we'd helped plan their trip to Scotland. Tonight we are having dinner at Anderson's in Boat of Garten (one of our favorite restaurants) on Pie Night--looking forward to homemade specialty meat pies.
In this post are two travel stories not completely related to this trip (well, the first one is... sort of... oh, you'll see) and photos that are from this trip. Hope you enjoy both...please, let me know if you do (or don't).
|Breakfast at PDX|
|King James Square in Crieff.|
|Meeting with friends, LaDonna and Hal, at the Watermill in Blair Atholl.|
|On the Hilton Park Allendar Course near Glasgow.|
The Bag that Went to Africa
When we arrive at Crieff, Scotland, and our home B&B, Merlindale, the bags that we leave at the B&B were waiting for us in our room and our golf clubs were in the garage. Beside keeping our clubs, the B&B also keeps a couple of equipment/travel bags which contain fleece blankets, golf clothes, extra sweaters, and all manner of trip “essentials.” As we were visiting in the evening I remembered to ask who brought down our clubs and bags from the garage attic so I could pay them. I found out it was Ailsa (the daughter, our adopted niece) and Angeles (the Spanish helper). Since Ailsa was off to college, I paid Angeles who said, “It was no trouble even bringing down the bag that went ot Africa.”
“What?!” I said. With the cat out of the bag we now got the whole story.
It seems that after our spring trip, before the bags got put into the attic, Jacky (our Scottish sister, B&B owner) helped get Netzi and Shay (schoolmates of Ailsa and children of Colin and Joanne, UK ambassador to Gambia) headed home for the summer. They loaded all the kid's luggage into the car, drove to the Edinburgh airport, and saw the kids off to Western Africa. When Netzi and Shay arrived at the British Embassy in Banjul, Gambia, Joanne took charge of the luggage. As she started the unpacking she discovered that one bag was not theirs. Going through the contents of the bag she found a sweater she recognized was Anne’s and knew it was our bag the kids had brought from Scotland. When Joanne brought the children back to Crieff for school, she brought our back back. The bag’s trip to Gambia and back would have been expensive (luggage fees) except that it traveled for free as diplomatic luggage.
Joanne and the kids were sworn to secrecy by Jacky, but Angeles let it slip. So now we are the proud owners of the Bag that Went to Africa.
|The Jam Room at House of Bruar (before they told me no photos).|
|Boat of Garten GC|
|At the Boat Open competition we played with Fiona and Mark from Aberdeen.|
|Amur (Siberian) Tiger at Highland Wildlife Park near Kingussie.|
|Polar Bear at the park which is part of the Edinburgh Zoological Society.|
Portland’s Expensive Parking
On this trip to Scotland (and most of our longer trips) we try to arrange a ride to and from PDX with friends rather than pay to leave our car at even the economy parking at Portland’s airport. In fact, on shorter trips we stay at an airport motel which provides Park-n-Fly — we stay the night before our flight in the motel and leave our car for up to ten days free. We do this now because on one eight-day trip to Phoenix and Tucson we found out how expensive airport parking was.
From a trip to Phoenix to see Anne’s sister, Bev, and her husband, Noel, and to Tucson to visit the astronomical observatories there, we arrived back at PDX late in the evening. Luggage in hand we took the shuttle bus to the economy parking lot and started for home. We stopped at the exit kiosk to pay the expected $80 parking fee. I put my credit card in the machine, but the card wouldn’t cover the bill, which when I looked closely was $60,500 for eight days—almost $8000 a day! The machine wouldn’t give me my card back, either. Totally frustrated I started pushing every button on the machine that I could reach through the car window. Finally, a supervisor came out to see what the trouble was. I breathlessly explained. She looked at the machine and said, “That is a little high even for Portland.”
It took about twenty minutes to clear the machine and get our card back. I paid the real $80 bill in cash—no way was I going to stick my card back in that machine. Friends or Park-n-Fly are preferable to PDX’s high parking fees any day.
|Rumbling Bridge (falls) near Birnam.|
|Hilton Park GC|
|Duff House Royal GC on the Morayshire coast.|
|Loch Morlich in the Cairngorm National Park.|
|River Lineage in the Cairngorms|
|Ancient Scottish Pine on the Rothiemurches Estate in the Highlands.|
Next: We spend another week and a half in the Highlands, touring and golfing.