My Thoughts · Scotland · Travel

Our Scottish Adventure Begins

Our Scottish adventure began on May 9, 2023, with a later departure, so we didn’t have to get up at 0-dark-30! Here are our first three days of the trip.

May 9-10, 2023

Lin and I left our house around noon to drop Lin’s African Violet collection off with a friend to take of them. Then we drove to Jerry and Mary Beth Gilbreath’s house, dropped off our vehicle and drove to Jerry’s business and their daughter drove us to the airport!

We arrived a couple hours early and had time to start our cribbage game competition for the trip—it was Lin and Mary Beth against Jerry and me. After boarding our plane, we had a delay and wondered if this depicted how our next two connections were to go. It wasn’t!

Because we had paid a little extra, we got “Priority Economy” seating and had really nice seating for our flight to Heathrow. For the first time, I spent almost the entire way curled up in a little ball and slept.

At Heathrow, we had to go through security, so we didn’t have as much time as we thought. When we got to the airport in Edinburgh, I had pre-paid for a taxi, but I did not know how to find him. I had my phone on airplane mode, and he kept calling me. Finally, I walked out of the building and passed a tall man and, by chance, asked him if he was a taxi driver.

He said, “Yes, for Horner-Miller.” One of those God-incidences. Paulo, our newfound taxi-driver, gently rebuked me for not having my phone on because he had called twice. We got our bags and away we went, but he turned out to be more than a taxi driver.

First, we connected because he was Portuguese—Lin and I had been to Portugal in November/December, and that broke the ice. So, as we drove to our hotel, he gave us a tour of Edinburgh.

When he dropped us off at the Yotel Hotel, I told him we needed a transfer to the Malmaison Hotel on Saturday when our tour started, so he said, “Connect with me.”

The Yotel Hotel turned out to be a brilliant spot. At first glance, the room looked great, but the adjustable bed sat in a sitting up position. When it went down to a flat bed, the room suddenly lost over a foot. We loved the central location and the staff, though.

Brown's restaurant

For dinner that night, we walked to Brown’s restaurant and had a leisurely delicious European meal. I enjoyed sitting in the front window, watching people walking by. I had fish and chips!

May 11, 2023

We slept in after our long flight day. We ate breakfast at an outside restaurant. Then we caught the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus and rode the entire line, enjoying the beautiful weather. We stopped at the Grass Market for ice cream and shopping. Mary Beth and I each bought a beautiful sweater at the Bill Baber shop.

Bill Baber at knitting machine - Scottish
Bill Baber at knitting machine

From there, we jumped back on the bus and went to the Royal Mile to shop. In our souvenir shopping, we visited with a Scot shop owner. We found out that fifty-three shops on the Royal Mile have been bought up by two Indians, threatening to put the traditional Scot shop owner out of business!

Lin bought a kilt in 2019 in Edinburgh and we tried to find where he bought his but couldn’t. Jerry wanted to buy one, and several helpful shop owners sent us to a couple of kilt makers on the Royal Mile, but they were too expensive. Finally, someone headed us down an alley to the Celtic Craft Center Kiltmaker and Jerry took the plunge. He bought the whole outfit—jacket, vest and kilt, getting his family tartan.

Jerry in the vest and jacket & sample kilt - Scottish
Jerry in the vest and jacket & sample kilt

That evening we ate at Alexander Graham Bell/Wetherspoon, having a hamburger and fries. When we walked home, the fog rolled in—it felt so Scottish! When we got back to our hotel, we found a table in the back corner of the bar and played three games of cribbage.

We had another couple we were meeting up with, so I texted her to plan on how to meet the next day. They were flying in from Maine.

When we got back to our room, I connected with Paulo to move us on

May 12, 2023

Our day started with a walk to breakfast—cold and misty, not like the day before! Because I was warm the day before, I didn’t dress right. I only had on my Italian jacket with no wool sweater underneath, Capri jeans and a long sleeve thermos shirt! I suffered all day with the cold.

For breakfast, Lin and I split a Full Scottish Breakfast: sausage, ham, poached eggs, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, black pudding, toast, orange juice and coffee! So much food!

After breakfast, we walked to Waterloo station for the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus to meet Linda and John, the other couple. We communicated with them through WhatsApp, a great app for traveling. I tried to understand one of the Hop-On, Hop-Off workers in orange vests, but I couldn’t! We were both speaking English, but I couldn’t understand his Scottish brogue. Finally, we got it settled.  

Linda and John were on the #16 City Bus, and one worker helped us tremendously. We could see where the buses were coming onto the busy street, so Lin walked in their direction and found them easily. So, we jumped on the bus to tour the city and head towards the Britannia Yacht.

Because of my poor choice in warm clothes, I sat downstairs and everyone else sat upstairs touring the city, but we had done it the day before.

The Britannia Yacht - Scottish
The Britannia Yacht - Scottish

We all enjoyed the tour of the Britannia, breaking the tour up with tea and scones in the tearoom where Queen Elizabeth II had sat drinking tea too. The living quarters had family pictures and felt “homey.” The large dining room felt regal. As we wove our way around and through the yacht, I kept saying to myself, “the Queen was here! OMG!”

The clock stopped - Scottish

Every clock onboard ship stopped at 3:01 PM when Queen Elizabeth II left the Britannia for the last time—how poignant!

When we finished there, John and Linda went to their hotel, and we rode the bus back to St. Andrew’s square. We walked along George Street and finally ate at the Hard Rock Café, after looking at menus at several other restaurants. Afterwards, we came back to our hotel and wanted to play cribbage again. We couldn’t find a table in the bar, so we slipped into the breakfast room and played.

So, the next day we had to move to the Malmaison Hotel, but that night I crashed after a busy full day!


From the very beginning of our trip, we enjoyed the Scots, their friendly manners and helpfulness. Have you ever been to Scotland? Do you have any stories about the Scots?

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Just Another Square Dance Caller meme - Scot
Grab your iPhone and lounge on the beach with Flippo!

~Get your FREE Fifty minute audio recording of “Highlights of My Conversations with Flippo.” Learn how he started calling, how he recorded “The Auctioneer,” and a bonus: which caller did he sleep with? Click here for easy access!

My Thoughts · Scotland · Travel

Scotland! I Want to Return!

Home from Scotland, yet my heart lingers there! Lin and I just returned from about a two-week adventure in Scotland and what an experience it was!

We saw kilts, colorful tartans, and firths! People sampled whiskey and Guinness! Lush, green hills surrounded us with many luscious lochs, too! And the brutal Scottish history shocked me! After several days, I heard the name “MacDonald” repeated in the history retelling, and I woke up! I have MacDonalds in my family tree, so I made the connection! Also, I have done my DNA testing and I am 28% Scot, so there you have it!

Our Itinerary in Scotland

We left Albuquerque on May 9, 2023 with our good friends, Jerry and Mary Beth Gilbreath, and flew to Edinburgh. We spent three days there touring and enjoying the sights. On May 12, another couple joined us who used to live in Albuquerque. We all are square dancers!

The Insight Vacations’ coach tour, The Country Roads of Scotland, began on May 13 and we toured Edinburgh for our first two days. Next from there, we went north to St. Andrews and the Highland Capital of Inverness for our third day. Next, we continued north to Culloden, Loch Ness and onto Thurso, the northern tip of Scotland, for the fourth day.

From Thurso, we went out for a Day in the Orkney Islands for our fifth day—our really only rainy day. For our sixth day, it was on over the sea to the Isle of Skye, one of the lower Hebrides islands, with a clear blue sky—quite unusual we’ve been told! There, we saw up close and personal “hairy coos,” the reddish long-haired cattle of Scotland. Afterwards, on our seventh day, we headed south through the Scottish Highlands to Glencoe. On day eight, we headed along the Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond and had a relaxing boat ride around the lake, then we moved on to Glasgow.

In Glasgow, we had an amazing treat! Last year, I met a woman from Glasgow in an international meditation group I joined. She and her husband invited us for dinner on Monday, May 22, and we rode the train out to their house. What a delightful evening we had with delicious food, fun filled conversation and music! Their hospitality abounded! Then on Tuesday, they toured us around Glasgow—the best way to see any city! Sadly to say, then we headed back to the USA and Albuquerque!

Often during the tour, our traveling companions referenced “The Outlander,” but Lin and I weren’t familiar with this TV series. WE ARE NOW! And we are watching it!

Lin Touching One of the Stones of Stenness
Lin Touching One of the Stones of Stenness–A Trip Back??

The Scots are very proud of their famous poets and authors: Robert Louis Stevenson and Robert Burns. I found this poem on the trip and shared it with the group.

Sing me a Song of a Lad that is Gone


Sing me a song of a lad that is gone,
Say, could that lad be I?
Merry of soul he sailed on a day
Over the sea to Skye.

Mull was astern, Rum on the port,
Eigg on the starboard bow;
Glory of youth glowed in his soul;
Where is that glory now?

Sing me a song of a lad that is gone,
Say, could that lad be I?
Merry of soul he sailed on a day
Over the sea to Skye.

Give me again all that was there,
Give me the sun that shone!
Give me the eyes, give me the soul,
Give me the lad that's gone!

Sing me a song of a lad that is gone,
Say, could that lad be I?
Merry of soul he sailed on a day
Over the sea to Skye.

Billow and breeze, islands and seas,
Mountains of rain and sun,
All that was good, all that was fair,
All that was me is gone.

For “The Outlander” fans, you hear these words every episode in the introduction! Interesting! At that time, I did not know when I shared the poem!


I have stories to tell of our wonderful trip and my newfound homeland. So, as you know, traveling with me can be an adventure, so be prepared for some fun-filled tales coming up in my next posts.

Have you ever been to Scotland? Any of the places identified above? Did you love it? Are you an “Outlander” fan?

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Just Another Square Dance Caller: Authorized Biography of Marshall Flippo - Scotland
Grab your iPhone and lounge on the beach with Flippo!

~Get your FREE Fifty minute audio recording of “Highlights of My Conversations with Flippo.” Learn how he started calling, how he recorded “The Auctioneer,” and a bonus: which caller did he sleep with? Click here for easy access!