We're here! Safely landed. Left Philadelphia in a haze of freeway traffic, summery blue skies, goodbye hugs, then on to Air France, a blast from the past with its bag of goodies for passengers (eye mask, really good earphones, ear plugs), and it wasn't so easy figuring out how to put on the earphones (they hook over your ears). We each had our own little individual TV screens with touch pads and a good sampling of movies – I watched The Proposal (chick flic) and Allen laughed himself silly with The Hangover (guy flic).
Then the good looking, urbane French-speaking steward brought us hot food. Air France gets an A+. We attacked a small appetizer of salmon,goat cheese and coos-coos, moved on to lemon chicken and curried barley with very fresh, crusty French bread, and finished with something that looked like a chocolate torte with tapioca pudding, and, the finale – a nice creamy camenbert-tasting cheese right from Tillamook, Oregon. Switched planes in Paris (too bad, only a 2 hour wait), and have now landed at The Laurels, a small b&b in Edinburgh. Outside, a comfortable soft rain (about 55 F) is falling and tomorrow, we'll begin exploring this Georgian town, small, friendly, and very accessible with many street and place names after King George himself.
Here's our travel plan (Lynda, this is for you!);
September 3-5 Orientation in Edinburgh (pronounced something like Edinburr-eh)
September 6-11 Kirkwall on Orkney (Kirkwall is a capital of these northern islands just off Scotland's mainland)
September 12-13 Lerwick on the Shetland Islands (the farthest north)
September 14-17 Stromness back on Orkney (an important seaport on Orkney for fishing and history of Hudson Bay Company)
September 18-30 Inverness
Then a month back in Edinburgh. I don't know how we did it, but we found an apartment right on the Royal Mile, in central historic Edinburgh.
Time right now, 2:44 am, some 6 hours ahead of whatever time it is back in Philadelphia. The internet is up and running. We had our first pub experience at the Robin's Nest, just half a block down the lane from our bed and breakfast. Yes, the cars run on the opposite side of the street, rather disconcerting when crossing the street. Absolutely delicious roast chicken penne, toasted garlic bread, and "green leaves" on the side (salad!), with some kind of pale ale (Allen couldn't understand what kind of draft we were getting). The atmostphere -- nonsmoking, friendly, tables for dining on one side, brightly lit, lots of people, including a table for poker full up with young men nursing their cards and their beers. On the other side (we peeked in on the way home), the more serious drinkers, maybe beers and bitters.
The internet is up and running (and it wasn't earlier). The little Samsung netbook (2.3 pounds) is working great. Allen's snoring. I can't believe we're really here. All is well.