We made it…..sort of…..   6 comments

Well, we finally made it.  We’re in Edinburgh now.   I got up at 2:30 am on Tuesday, the 26th, to finalize things before heading out to the airport and it is now 11:00 pm, the 27th, Edinburgh time…..I’m beat, tired and exhausted.

Valerie dropped Ryan and I off at the San Francisco International Terminal in plenty of time for our “direct flight” to Amsterdam only to discover that our flight had a stop in Minneapolis…therefore not direct, not international and NOT in that terminal…..fortunately we got there early so we had time to walk, take a tram, etc, to finally get where we needed to be to check in.

The flight was uneventful until we got to Minneapolis and hit that huge storm that was going through the Midwest.  They told us that the airport was down to only 1 runway so we had to circle around for awhile until it was our turn to land.  Storm was really bad and winds were gusting up to 50 mph.  Many flights were being delayed in the area.  On the ground we were able to get in touch with Ben.  His flight out of Omaha had been delayed and it turned out that his “direct flight” to Amsterdam was ALSO making a stop in Minneapolis, but that it would be after we had already left.

When it came time to board our flight we ended up having to sit there in the plane at the terminal for about 2 hours.  One of their computers was acting up, they couldn’t fix it and needed a replacement.  Once that was completed we were finally able to taxi out for take off…but they couldn’t find anyone to push our plane out….so we had to wait another half hour for someone to do that.  Eventually we were number 1 in the takeoff spot and ready to go, when the Captain came on the speaker, said their computer was acting up again and that we had to go back to the terminal to get it fixed.  So back we went and there we sat for another hour and a half.  All this while, it was really amazing how this huge plane was being rocked back and forth and buffeted by the winds—while we were still on the ground!!  Pretty soon, the Captain came on again, “Sorry folks we can’t fix the computer, we need to put you on another plane.”  So back into the terminal we went to sit and wait….some more…..

In the meantime, Ben’s delayed flight arrived at Minneapolis and since our plane was only about half full–because of the winds the didn’t want to fill it—we were able to get Delta to transfer him to our flight so we could all be together for the rest of the trip.  THAT was GREAT!!!!

Another hour and a half goes by and finally a new plane pulls up for us to get on.  Woo Hoo!!…..nope….now it turns out that the flight crew had reached their FAA 16 hr limit of on duty time and they had to get us another flight crew.  So we had to wait another hour or so until they could get someone to fly us “across the pond”….

Our flight WAS scheduled to leave at 3:30 pm…..we finally boarded to leave at 11:30 pm……  Then another wonderful surprise….the stewardesses began handing out airsickness bags to everyone.  They said that the first hour and a half was going to be really rough and that they were even going to be strapped in and not allowed out of their seats…….FORTUNATELY that didn’t turn out to be the case.  It was bumpy, but not as bad as what it could have been.

Got to Amsterdam, and of course had to be re-booked because our scheduled flight was long gone.  We were scheduled to have arrived in Edinburgh around 10 am, but arrived after 6 pm.  All week long the weather I was checking on the internet was predicting “Brilliant Sunshine”…..well….it was there….but above the rain clouds…..all we had below those clouds was rain.  No worries, though, we were (are) in Scotland!!!

We got our rental car.  Got printed-out directions to our lodgings and headed out.  Ryan was the “guinea pig” to test out driving on the left side of the road while Ben and I “navigated”……picture being in a strange setting, in the dark, in the rain, disoriented, getting honked at and every couple of miles coming upon these demonic creations called “Round-a-bouts”…….yup, you guessed it….SOMEWHERE we made a wrong turn and got hopelessly lost.  Fortunately we had the “good sense” to get a GPS for the rental car so we decided to pull over, read the directions and try to use that to figure out where we had to go….believe it or not while we were pulled over trying to figure out the GPS unit, someone pulled up next to us to ask for directions!!!!

So why didn’t we use the GPS from the beginning??….ah…well….ah…it’s a “guy thing”—you know the “thrill of the chase”, “we’re not lost–we still got gas”….you know, one of those mysteries of life….

Anyway it turns out that this GPS unit must only take you on the “scenic route”—we were going all through Old Town areas, little neighborhoods, down narrow brick streets barely wide enough for one car.  Finally after a hour or more we suddenly happened upon our place we were going to stay.

It’s been an exhausting couple of days, but quite an adventure.  Plus for me, being in Scotland is literally a dream-come-true.  As far back as I can remember I have been in love with Scotland and have always wished that “some day” I could go visit the place my family came from.  I read everything I can get my hands on about Scotland.  I know it’s history, music and arts as well as I know that of my own country.   Something about it has always drawn me and even though I never really believed I would ever be able to actually GO to Scotland, it still holds this special place in my heart.  Being here is REALLY Big for me, and being able to share it with my boys is even better!!!  I really look forward to seeing all the things I’ve read about, studied and dreamed about.  Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.  I’m going to savor every moment.

Sorry no pictures yet….hope to have some soon. But right now I’ve got to get to bed…I’m REEAALLYYY Tired……….

Aye,

Howie

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Posted October 27, 2010 by Howard George in Edinburgh, General, Scotland

6 responses to “We made it…..sort of…..

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  1. I’m tired just reading about it! What a travel story. Glad you arrived safe and sound. Enjoy!

  2. Welcome to the joys of world travel. Patience is a virtue and so is the ability to go with the flow. Enjoy the adventure!!

    David

    PS, I love Round-Abouts! Yield to those on the right. Tally-Ho!

  3. So glad to hear you made it safely…..Have a great time!

  4. Your post brings a tear to my eye, Howie. What a beautiful dream come true! You really have to pack a lot of patience and determination for overseas flights. What a nightmare. Just back from a similar dream trip to France – I’m so happy for you!

  5. Glad you guys finally made it! If someone handed me an airsickness bag with the promise of turbulence, I would have walked right off the plane and lived in Minneapolis until spring…

  6. I love you and miss you! So happy for you and boys! Praying that you will have an amazing, awesome time together – many adventures – many blessings – treasured memories!! xoxoxo

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