A wee trip to Scotland!

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November 22nd 2007
Published: November 24th 2007
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Kellingrove ParkKellingrove ParkKellingrove Park

Thats me with the Kellingrove Museum in Glasgow in the background
So things have actually been pretty busy around Hamburg the last couple of weeks. I have now finished all my MBA apps and interviews, so its time to sit and wait for a few weeks. I am attempting to prepare a Thankgiving dinner for our celebration on Saturday, but it seems every dish is quite a challenge. We'll see how it turns out, but I am very excited about our Fresh Turkey that I ordered for us to enjoy. :-) Today was actually a bit warmer, got up to 10 degrees (about mid 40's) and the sun even came out for a bit, really cheered me up, nice not to put on my hat, gloves, and heavy coat for once. Hopefully it will be a slight trend for a while. But anyways, enough about the daily happenings.

I am fortunate to have been introduced by my family to my Scottish relatives when I was 11 years old. Linda, Jim, and Alison hosted us 13 years ago in Irvine, a town right outside of Glasgow. They were kind enough again to invite me to their home once again! I had an interesting trip up, Ryan Air flies out of the Hamburg
The WEE pubThe WEE pubThe WEE pub

I love it. this means "the small pub on the corner", see I can speak Scottish!
Lubeck airport, which is an hour or so away, but there is a nice bus service that takes you to and from there. I hopped on the 6:45 am bus to get to the airport in time for my 9:20 am flight. The Lubeck airport consists of basically a makeshift building with a couple small shops, and 4 "gates". I was very impressed with the improvements Ryan Air has made in the last few years, last time I flew on one of their planes, the entire inside was falling apart and the plane wasn't even marked. They have come a LONG way. I enjoyed a quick flight to London Stansted, where I was then required to de-board, get my checked bag, go through customs, re-check my bag, and then go through security again. Funny thing about the UK airports, they only let you carry through ONE carry on bag, and this includes purses. So i was desperately stuffing my purse in my bag, went through security, took my boots off, went through again, got all dressed again, then headed out, only to be asked to take my boots off once again for the "shoe check" area. I was relieved to be through all of that and headed to my gate...well what i thought was my gate. I apparently didn't understand the scribbled number on my makeshift boarding pass, and had gone to the wrong area of the airport. SO, I turned around, went all the way back, and headed to the other gates, and thankfully still had a bit of time before my flight boarded. Phew, yes I know the London Stansted airport pretty well know. I saw the phones at some point, where I had called my parents 3 1/2 years ago to tell them i'd left my friend at the US Embassy because he'd lost his passport and I was flying to Coppenhagen with no money, credit cards, and no contact info for Ryan, who was to meet me at the airport. Yeah, thats a fun story if you would ever like to know, just let me know.

So I arrived in Glasgow and met Linda at the baggage claim. I was so glad to see a familiar face. I was quickly reminded that people drive on the other side of the road in Scotland, I accidentally went to the wrong door...whoops, and then we headed off to Irvine. When we arrived Norma and her husband John met us at the house. Norma's 50th birthday was on Saturday, and there was a big party on Friday night for her, but more of that later. We all ate some delicious soup, homeade bread, and caught up on life. Jim arrived home from work a bit later and then we all sat around and enjoyed a glass of wine and talked about anything and everything. Its a lot of fun when you put a few talkers in a room togeher. We lost track of the time a bit, but managed to get out in time to eat at Linda and Jim's favorite local restaurant. I decided it would be great to try the Guinea Foul, since its something I would prob never have at home, and it was fabulous! I enjoyed the evening of great food and great company. It was straight to bed after dinner as I was exhausted and we were waking up early, ok 8 am i know thats not too early, and heading down to Glasgow to meet up with Alison.

Alison is now in her 2nd year at the University of Glasgow studying politics and english. It is hard to believe that we are both getting so old, as the first time we met I was 11 and she was about 7. Time really flies. Jim was nice enough to give me a ride into Glasgow on Friday morning and it was great to see a bit of the countryside. I think thats what I always see in my mind when I think of Scotland, beautiful rolling, green landscape. We met Alison at her and Sean's apartment, although Sean had already left to go to class. It was great to see her after so many years, I think it was 10 years since their trip to Austin. We got to talking, catching up on life, and realized we better head out because she had to turn in a paper that morning. We walked for a ways to the underground which is quite an experience. I believe it is the oldest, if not one of the oldest, undergrounds in the world. It consists of the "inner circle" and the "outer circle" and basically goes in a big round track through the town. The ceilings are very low in the cars to accomodate the small

Alison with her Uni!
tunnels. Quite the experience. Its funny to see when a tall guy gets stuck in the doorway and has to bend over every time the doors shut. So we took the underground over to the University and took a short stroll down the famous little Ashton Lane on the way to the Uni. Alison turned in her paper and then gave me a wonderful tour of the grounds. Some of the doors have the original subject signs over them from hundreds of years ago. I enjoyed the one that said Midwifery, of course I took a picture. We then walked down to the student union where they have bars, a billiards room, and all kinds of things. There was a fire when you first walked in and I'm told as tradition, if a student tells the foreman that he/she wants a fire, then he has to light it. Quite entertaining.

We then walked down into the Kellingrove Park, which was beautiful, and then up to the Kellingrove Museum. It is a gorgeous building from the outside, but even more pretty inside. With a recent grant it received, it was completely rennovated and now is stunning! Also new to Scotland

Would anyone like to find the Midwifery department?
(and England I believe) all museums are now free! You are able to make donations if you choose, but not required. We walked around and checked out all the exhibits about history of Scotland, animals, paintings. Also downstairs they had the temporary Kylie exhibit (in tribute to the back in action, Kylie Minogue). I enjoyed hearing the song "locomotion" especially, I do believe that I did a dance to that when i was about 4. I think everyone did. haha. They had all of her costumes and outfits from music videos and awards ceremonies, she really is a tiny person. After enjoying the exhibit, we headed back over to Ashton Lane to enjoy some lunch and then up to the University to catch the tour bus. We had a live tour guide on our double decker bus and it was a great way to see the sights and hear the history. We were back to Alison's apartment just in time to meet Sean and Jim and head back to Irvine for Norma's 50th Birthday Party! It was a wonderful party, I was able to meet and see many of my relatives! Some I had not seen for 13 years! I
Old TheatreOld TheatreOld Theatre

This is an old outdoors theatre we found in Kellingrove Park.
had a wondeful time catching up with everyone and dancing a bit.

Saturday was the day of the big game! Scotland vs. Italy, for qualification to the 2008 European Cup, in GLASGOW! We set out mid-morning to head to town. They were nice enough to take me downtown to do a little touristy shopping for plaid and such. I found some great stuff, and Alison and I wandered around a little more to check out more of the beautiful shopping street and some more stores. It was a bit rainy, but that didn't dampen the Football (soccer) fans, they were out in full force with kilts, scottish flags, and bagpipes. It was quite the entertainment. Alison and I grabbed a snack on the way home, and met Sean at the apartment just in time to head out to watch the game. The game sold out pretty quickly and only to club members, so the city arranged for a big party tent to be put up in one of the public parks downtown. They sold 7000 tickets to the tent, and it was quite the party. They had big screens set up everywhere showing the game and a huge beer tent as well as food tents. We arrived just in time for kickoff, a bit soaked from the rain outside, but ready to watch the match. You could tell that some of the fans had arrived quite early, the tent opened at 10 am, and they were desperately trying to stand up straight and focus on the game, some failed miserably. I learned very quickly that my accent gave me away as an American, so I tried to just blend a little bit. Its funny being in an English speaking country but still realizing that you are a foreigner. I went to get a beer at one point and this guy kept talking to me, but I had absolutely no idea what he was saying, so I just nodded and smiled, and then....then Scotland scored a goal. It was madness haha, so I jumped around and screamed like everyone else, I must say, I fit in quite well with my Scotland scarf. :-) I did ok till I had to order a beer and well, the lady didn't understand me at all, so I just said, give me what you have, she handed me a beer, and I said, Thank

Look at the gorgeous ceiling
You! haha. Unfortunately Italy scored a goal in the 90th minute of the game and Scotland lost. It was sad to see all the fans so deflated after the game. Some were still trying to rally the troops, but not with much luck. After the game we went back to Alison and Sean's apartment and enjoyed a little Chinese food and fabulous conversation before going to sleep.

Linda and Jim came to pick me up on Sunday morning and I attempted to re-pack my suitcase for the trip home. We had a nice coffee in the airport and then I said goodbye. I headed to the airplane and was sure i'd have enough time to catch my plane in London (I had to buy the tickets seperately, thats how Ryan Air works), but then....they lost some boarding passes. Lovely, they kept saying things like.."would all online check-in passengers, please press the call button" and then you'd see like 25 call buttons light up hahahahaha. So needless to say, we were late getting in to London and then I missed my flight to Hamburg. And, there wasn't another one until the next morning. Here's a fun tip about Ryan Air,
Face ExhibitFace ExhibitFace Exhibit

Are you happy? sad? not sure?
if THEY are late getting you somewhere and you miss another one of THEIR flights, then YOU have to pay a 50 pound change fee...yes. So I made the most of it, it was rainy and FREEZING outside, I checked into the Raddison at the Stansted airport, with a king size bed. Then I went and ate a tasty american steak dinner and grabbed a bucket of ice cubes...i was in heaven. After taking a hot bath and then watching english tv for hours while drinking ICE water, I finally fell asleep.

It was definitely an eventful weekend, I am so glad I had he opportunity to visit everyone again after so many years. Thank you all again, especially Linda, Jim, Alison and Sean for your amazing hospitality!!

Additional photos below
Photos: 21, Displayed: 21


More FacesMore Faces
More Faces

Then you have lots of choices for your decision.

They played a beautiful little concert on this Organ in the museum while we were there!
All dressed up!All dressed up!
All dressed up!

With the Beatties before Norma's Party
Happy FamilyHappy Family
Happy Family

Alison and Sean with Linda and Jim!
Linda's DadLinda's Dad
Linda's Dad

Alison and I wither her Grandfather
Scotland MatchScotland Match
Scotland Match

This is just part of the craziness of the tent full of 7000 people!
At the MatchAt the Match
At the Match

Alison and I ready to watch the game!
Scotland FlagScotland Flag
Scotland Flag

This guy had a scotland flag shaved into the back of his head (unfortunately i didn't get the kilt in the pic too, i had to be strategic)
My King Size BedMy King Size Bed
My King Size Bed

Happy Day in London Stansted.

5th December 2007

Visit to Scotland
Paige it was our great pleasure to have you visit with us for the weekend. We do hope that you will come back to stay again anytime you wish. We will try to get over to see you next May when your Mum visits. Take care and love from your family here in Scotland xxx

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