Friday, June 22, 2007

Whoa There!

Our trip to Scotland has almost come to an end. Tonight, we drive back to Glasgow, where we're staying in a hotel before catching our early flight back to the US. Today, we're taking it easy (in comparison) and catching anything we might have missed in Inverary since a big chunk of our first day there was spent on our mini-adventure.

Mind you, my definition of adventure is loose. Very loose.

Whenever I go to someplace I'm likely not to come back to, I always try to do three things. One, I try to buy myself one small, special item that I can only get there. I'm not inclined to load up on Scotland t-shirts and teddy bears in kilts, etc. I'm very selective. I always buy a magnet for my fridge, an ornament for my Christmas tree, and something special (and usually expensive) just for me. Second, I try to sample the regional foods and drinks, regardless of what my picky palate may have to say about it. I have to at least try it, even if I high tail it back to the Munich McDonald's later that afternoon. Third, I have to do that special thing, regardless of cost or potential cheese factor, that is outside of the norm, outside of my comfort-zone - something I can't do back at home. Hence - adventure of some sort or another.

When I went to Austria, I took the very creepy hillside train up to the Salzburg Fortress and spent a fortune on crystal from the actual Swarovski factory. I ate this horrible white sausage in Munich, knowing full well what was in it and drank beer because that's just what they do. When I went to Alaska, I went kayaking in the ocean and blew big bucks on whale watching and hot stone massages. I ate salmon, although it isn't my favorite, because it should be the best, freshest salmon I'd ever eat. When I went to the Bahamas, I swam with manta rays, drank lots of rum and let little island girls overcharge me to braid a few strands of my hair with beads. If I went to Venice, I'd have to ride in a gondola. In Paris, I'd have to climb to the top of Notre Dame or the Eiffel Tower. You've just got to do it because the chance may never come up again.

In Scotland, I will probably have taken at least one bite of haggis and one sip of Scottish whisky. I'll probably stop there, but I will have done it. (I do reserve the right to change my mind about this, however.) I will have bought myself some beautiful celtic jewelry and maybe a wool or cashmere sweater. As for the adventure - its going to be horseback riding through the Scottish countryside. I know you're thinking that I live in the country and that riding horses is commonplace, but I'll tell you - this city girl hasn't ridden a horse in 20 years. It isn't something I do everyday and it certainly isn't ever going to be through the Scottish hills, even if I took up riding when I came home.

There's several places that ofter "Pony Trekking" through the Inveraray Argyll countryside and the shores of Loch Fyne. The one we're going with is called Brenfield Farms. I've ridden on a horse once. When I was 8. It says the riders do not need to be experienced for the tour we're taking. They'd better mean it. If that horse so much as trots, I'm likely to take a head dive into Loch Fyne, if not a rocky crag. Instigator mentioned something about them not using real saddles - some English thing that means there's little for me to grip to in abject fear. Should be fun! :)

Even if my horse does have a mind of its own and does something crazy, it will be memorable at the very least. A great two page layout in my scrapbook to remember the trip. Then I can say I did something very cool in Scotland that most people haven't done. Hopefully we won't be too saddle sore.

What has been your biggest travel adventure? Have you flown in a helicopter over a Hawaiian volcano? Swam with dolphins? Rode on a donkey to the bottom of the Grand Canyon? If you haven't got a story to share, what is your dream travel adventure? Share your story and one commenter will get a Scotland magnet for their fridge.

P.S. from PM
They're coming home tomorrow! And I won't be here! I guess I'll catch up with them via email over the weekend and in person next week.

Eye of the Beholder

Either I've terribly mis-guestimated my longhand word count or it's not going to take 6000 words to tell this story because I'm nearing the end. Yay! But I like to at least end up around 5000 words because that gives me a check with a nice round number -- provided they buy it that is.

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
3,100 / 6,000


jen said...

Oh, I'd have to say one of my biggest travel adventures was when the DH and I were in Vienna and were taking a self-guided tour of the Palace and whilst looking for the room housing the crown jewels managed to stumble into an international arms summit meeting. We figured out we were in the wrong spot when we were surrounded by soldiers/guards with loaded weapons pointed at us. They, uh, just told us to go away. Guess they thought we were too stupid to be a real threat.

Playground Monitor said...

Didn't you just love Vienna???

My biggest travel adventure was a 7-day 3-continents cruise. We were living in Germany at the time and flew to Athens where we toured for a day. Then we boarded a ship and cruised to Santorini and Crete, then sailed to Egypt where we were bussed into Cairo for the day. We sailed then to Israel and took a bus to Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Back on the ship for a day at sea and the last stop before getting back to Athens was the island of Rhodes.

Egypt and Israel were the highlights. Seeing where Jesus was born, the Garden of Gethsemane, walking the Via Dolorosa and visiting the tomb, praying at the Wailing Wall and seeing the Dome of the Rock were mind-boggling. And riding a camel to the Pyramids -- WOW!


Stacy S said...

PM, wtg on writing!! I don't have any travel adventures good or bad. Just normal.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

LOL, Jen! Love that one. :)

Hmm, biggest travel adventure? Gee, I have to think. I lived in Hawaii for three years, but you couldn't get me in a helicopter over those volcanoes for all the tea in China. Nope, not happening. I've walked across the Kiluaea caldera and peered off the side, but lots of people have done that.

I've done the gondola in Venice, and that was fun. Ooh, and I've taken a cable car down the side of the tallest mountain in Germany. That was a personal best for me because I'm afraid of heights (we took the train up, and most of that was tunnel).

My husband and I took a train across S. Korea by ourselves. No tour guide. We went to a resort town without reservations and found a hotel on our own. Then we proceeded to ride public transportation everywhere, which was a challenge considering you must first convert the Korean letters to our letters and then try to figure out where you are going. Did I mention we were the ONLY westerners in the hotel? The only ones in the town (with the exception of some Aussie businessmen we ran across)? Yep, we stood out like sore thumbs. There are no blonde Koreans, at least not naturally. :)

We also went to the DMZ and went down inside these little tunnels dug by the North Koreans to invade the South. That was with a guided tour, though.

Oh, and I drove across the Alps by myself (through the Brenner Pass) in a tiny rental car. I was traveling from Germany to Italy to meet my husband. I look back and still can't believe I did that.

I love hearing everyone's adventure! It's so exciting to think of all that you can do in this world. :)

robynl said...

what great adventures you all have had; for me the gondola ride to the top of the mountain in Banff, Ab., Canada was the most I pushed myself. I even went back down but when first we arrived at the top I told dh that I was walking back down, thank you. If I had been a drinker I would have headed for the bar straight away. It was indeed an adventure for me seeing I'm afraid of heights.

catslady said...

It has to be the side trip we took while on a cruise - in Haiti. Took an hour drive on dirt "roads" and then got on horses (I never rode before) to go to the top of a mountain where the Citadel is located - fantastic history and a great forte. The problem came on the ride down. All the guides were speaking in their language of course and they insisted on exchanging my horse for one of theirs. I should have known it wasn't a good omen when I saw them laughing. Instead of protecting me from a bad horse it was the other way around and the horse actually fell on the way down. How I didn't go over a cliff is a miracle and I manged to only get a cut in my armpit (and boy was that uncomfortable)!

jenn m said...

no travel stories here, i've never went anywhere. But if i had to dream well i think it would be backpacking though europe or maybe russia. My boyfriend was there once as a child and he brought back beautiful pic.. I could just get lost in them. on second thought maybe just going to stay in a castle in england say for a month would be great too. I might even get luck and and it be haunted or something.

anne said...

I have never travelled but I had an opportunity to travel with my husband to India for a week on business. Definitely an eye opener. Utterly memorable. Especially so the trip from the city where we were staying to visit the Taj Mahal by car. That was an endurance test in itself. NO rules, horns honking constantly, animals on the road and no rhyme nor reason to the speeds, and lines on the road. It was nauseating but we finally made it and it was worth the lengthy drive. But then I knew I would have to endure the drive back.

ellie said...

We had a driver on our trip in Italy. This was exciting and fun. Driving through tunnels at 100 km an hour at night on a very curvy road and just hanging on and hoping for the best. Loved eveyr minute of it.

Cherie J said...

When we went to St. Thomas for our honeymoon hubby and I went on a sailing trip and did some snorkeling. Neither of us had ever tried snorkeling before so it was cool to try something new.

Cherie J said...

Have a safe trip back!

Nini said...

Marilyn...WTG on the writing!!! I have lots of ideas from my vacation, but when i sat down at my computer, i went blank...i'll figure it out later!

As for my adventure...i think it's this past one. Like i've said - DH and I went to Georgia to go panning for gold and gem hunting.

We found some gold, very tiny, very very tiny in a stream bed! I was so excited!!! Not worth a great gazillion amount of money, but...getting me into a stream, that has fish swimming around my ankles, bending over for 4 hours panning for gold is an adventure out of the norm for me. If the Holiday Inn doesn't have room service - i'm camping and i don't camp.

The other thing was sleeping in a floating cabin. I get seasick. I realize that now. The waves on the lake are fed from the river, the Tennessee River, and it rocks. I have a fear of heights. I will take a plane, look out the window and such and have no problem. But put me on a dock that moves, over water i can't figure out how deep and i was scared to death. But i walked it, even in the dark, a few times....i am so proud of myself!

Next year will be Italy and that will be a big adventure!

Nini :)