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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Planes, Van, and Ferry: Getting to Colonsay

The worst part about travel is the often the flight there.  I love flying… it’s the airlines I loathe. 

Knowing this, I took a lot of time to research and book our plane tickets to Scotland.  I checked aircraft body types, seat pitch, desirable and undesirable seat locations and so on.  Decided to go with Delta as they fly an Airbus.  What made me pick that is the seat configuration is a 2-4-2.  So we could have 2 seats all to ourselves.  Yes! 

Then I found on the Delta site that they have an economy ‘upgrade’ called “Comfort Economy”.  For $80 more you can get a seat with 4” more leg room and more recline.  I signed us up for that too.

Made our ticket purchase 6 weeks in advance and thought that issue was taken care of.

Fast forward to 22 Sept…

We arrived at the airport feeling pretty good, until…

… we realized the delay of our inbound plane was going to result in it being canceled altogether.  When the announcement was made from the boarding gate with instructions for rebooking, most of the other passengers charged the gate desk making a mile long queue.  I grabbed my travel notebook and headed up to the courtesy phone at the beginning of the concourse.  There were open phones when I arrived and in moments I was on with reservations rebooking.

Had I NOT been being met at the airport AND having to make a ferry that required a 2 hour drive to get there, I would have been a bit more laid back.  But the ticket agent kept laying out options that just were not going to work.  I finally said, “Listen, it’s Delta’s fault… start checking with your code share partners to get me something that works.” 

Amazing how quick after that I had a flight.  I lost my upgrade seating and the new flights were on KLM (one of my ‘no fly’ airlines) but at least I had something that would get us there.

Next issue was to contact Dave (our tour guide for part of the trip) to let him know we were coming in 4 hours later and on a different flight.  With no access to email and having to grab our stuff and run to catch our new flight, I sent a fast SOS to my Mom and to Best Friend (phone connection kept dropping so I wanted to make sure the info got out) with Dave’s email address and the needed information.

And we prayed our bags would really make it to Scotland with us!  (If you are ever in the situation, when you get to your new gate have the desk clerk put in a search for your bags and have them rerouted.  Gets the job done quicker than if you just let it ‘go thru the system’.)

Unfortunately, our seats were terrible (which is why they are available to begin with).  Both Himself and my knees touched the seat in front of us… which were occupied by two jokers who slammed the seats into full recline the moment we hit cruising altitude (and got hissy when they were bumped).  And the joker behind me kept stretching his feet all the way thru under his seat and into my foot area, kicking the back of my calves. 

I was never so happy to get off a plane than I was that one.

Yep… KLM… “Keep Life Miserable”.

However once we arrived in Scotland, everything was wonderful.  We breezed thru Immigration with a cheerful agent welcoming us to Scotland.

And waiting just beyond ‘the door’ was our guide Dave Cameron… looking FINE is his fabulous kilt.  After so many months of planning and emails back and forth, I felt I almost knew Dave and his wife Maureen, so it was great to finally meet him.  I’ll be writing more about Dave in later posts.  He’s a jewel. 

Our first stop in Scotland was to be the island of Colonsay.  The ferry terminal to reach it is a drive of little over 2 hours (heading straight up) from Glasgow.  When Dave said he could take us up, I leaped on the opportunity.
Our bags were collected and headed out to his van, where we quickly loaded and set off for Oban.  Dave asked if we wanted the direct route or the scenic route.  We picked the scenic route.  I’d rather see beautiful countryside than sit in a ferry terminal for several hours! 
And what scenery there was to see!  Even tho the weather was rainy, it is the rain that brings the waterfalls and Highlands mists.
   And moody Glen Coe was full of both. 

Every curve in the road brought an entirely new view. 

Once we had passed thru there, the views did not stop.

There were castles,

 
and castle ruins.

 
There were quiet lochs,

 
and fast moving rivers.

 
We made a stop at a restaurant that specialized in fresh seafood; much of it from the sea loch it was next to.  I can’t remember what Himself had but my meal was fresh (like that morning they had been in the loch) oysters on the half shell and mussels in a white wine sauce.  Ummmmm…

 
Our trip with Dave ended at the Oban ferry terminal, as we boarded the “Lord of the Isles” to make the 2 hour sail to the island of Colonsay.

3 comments:

  1. Teri, yum! Both for the food and the landscape. Did you get to tour any of the castles?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh yes, we toured several castles. I'll be writing about them!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Beautiful pictures. Cant wait to read more. Thanks for sharing.
    Jennifer

    ReplyDelete

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