I'm off again, this time to the United Kingdom - about a week in Scotland and a week and a half in Cambridge. Mike isn't traveling with me this trip but gave me a lovely send off stay at McMenamin's Edgefield - good food, beautiful landscaping, an awesome surpentine soaking pool, and more quirky artwork than you can shake a stick at.
I just read that PDX has been recognized as the #1 airport in the US for the 3rd year in a row - no surprise to me! Mike dropped me off at 4:30 am and - thanks to Precheck - I was at my gate in less than 15 minutes with a bagel sandwich from Roses's in hand. Awesome artwork as usual and more new carpet.
And then I was winging my way east over the beautiful Pacific NW - Mt. Adams (foreground) and Mt. Rainier...
...the Columbia River and agricultural art.
I flew overnight from NY to London; not much success at sleeping, sad to say, but I did see a lovely sunset and 'The Giver' with dinner and a lovely sunrise and 'The Box Trolls' with breakfast - such a novelty to be served meals on planes!
I landed around 7am. 1st steps were to get cash, pick up an Oyster Underground Transport card, and install a UK sim card in my iPhone, then I headed to Euston Station where I left my carryon bag with a luggage service, hopped on the Underground again, and walked half a dozen blocks to the British Museum. In the 70s when I was studying in London, the mummies there were a favorite exhibit. Before leaving the states I booked a ticket for this outstanding temporary exhibit which delved into the lives, preservation, and hidden secrets of 8 individuals using amazing technology, both in the research and the presentation. I had time for a quick snack of crisps and a custard tart before my 10am entry time (no photos allowed in the exhibit).
After the exhibit I spent another hour and a half exploring the museum including seeing the Rosetta Stone and these very cool chess pieces, part of a large cache that were discovered on the Isle of Lewis.
I enjoyed the walk to the nearest Underground station
and when I arrived at my next destination, Covent Garden, thought to take the stairs up to ground level until I read this sign. There were about 30 of us on the elevator and I could plainly isolate at least 6 languages not counting English (which I did not hear).
I enjoyed an hour or so exploring the famous Apple (craft) Market at Covent Garden, shopped at a toy shop sporting an ancestral surname on Mike's side, and had lunch at a local crepe shop.
Next up was a wonderful performance of the musical 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' at the old Drury Lane Theatre. The whole show was amazing and the kids playing Charlie and the other golden ticket holders were spectacular.
I discovered as I headed back on the Underground to Euston Station that I beat an Underground workers strike by only 5 minutes that caused chaos that evening and all the next day.
I grabbed dinner at a pasty shop and enjoyed the people watching as I waiting for my train.
After a busy few days without much sleep I was so very happy to board the beautiful Caldonian Sleeper train and make the acquaintance of my little room.
I had a wonderful, restful night's sleep and awakened around 5am as the train passed through Edinburgh; it was another 4 or 5 hours to Fort William and the views were breathtaking. You see things from trains you don't see from the roadways - such a treat.
Around 10am we arrived in Fort William where I spent a few minutes exploring the town and then headed north on foot up The Great Glen Way, a hike that took me through beautiful countryside and the Old Inverlochy Castle, and to Neptune’s Staircase, a series of locks on the Caledonian Canal.
That's Ben Nevis, the highest peak in Great Britain, rising above the hills.
I enjoyed fish and chips for lunch at a local pub before heading back to Fort William on the top of a double decker bus, ready for my next rail adventure.
You can find the complete photo collections for this trip HERE.