Saturday, June 13, 2009

An Englishman and Scotsman walk into a bar...

And I'm back in Glasgow from my trip down south to England to Yorkshire with my dad.

Overall, it was a most excellent trip. Good company, good views, good food, good beer, good times. It's also the first time -- other than trips to London, which doesn't count -- that I've been back in ENGLAND since moving to Scotland. And it really struck me again just how incredibly different the two countries are. Not that different is bad. Different is just different. And the two are just incredibly different.

Regardless, this is not a platform for me to wax poetic on what makes a Scot a Scot. This is a platform for me to post pictures!

(The rest of which are over at Flickr.)

Our initial climb out of Glasgow, very early Saturday morning.

The first road sign pointing to Pateley Bridge, my childhood hometown! It was a very, very long drive up from Heathrow to North Yorkshire, but seeing this made it all worthwhile.

I'd like to solve the puzzle, Pat.

North Yorkshire. 'nuff said.

More random Yorkshire goodness.

The first sight of the golf balls at Menwith. Some say it's an eyesore, but I love it. Even though we never lived on base, it's still feels like "home" in a way, and where I did my ballet and Brownies as a kid, as well as kindergarten and first grade.

A certain father of mine "borrowed" a beer mat from the pub near base where we stopped to have lunch.

Dad at the top of the Pateley Bridge High Street. We stayed at the Harefield Hall, a lovely little hotel just on the edge of town. Is it wrong that I miss their breakfasts big time right now?

We took a hike to the very top, which is much steeper than the picture makes it look. All in all, the walk from the hotel, through town, up to the top, and back again, was probably pushing five miles. Not bad for a day's work.

All I wanted was a picture with the sheep, but they kept running away from me...

Pateley Bridge from about halfway up the hill. This is the town where I grew up. Not a bad place to spend a childhood.

Dad at Brimham Rocks, a park of natural rock formations in North Yorkshire. It's a stone jungle gym! Though one where you really can die, because there are lots of steep drops and some of the rocks are really, really high.

Me smushed in between two rocks.

The ruins of Jervaulx Abbey, which dates back to the 1100s.

More ruins, but this time inside Middleham Castle.

Up on the wild, wild moors.

Minor roadblock.

In Wensleydale. Home of the cheese and also some spectacular scenery.

Back at Heathrow, sixth in line for takeoff to head back to Glasgow, though in a much, much smaller plane. This will be known as Good 747. Or 747 #1.

We timed our flights perfectly: my quick hop to Glasgow was leaving at 3:15pm, Dad's much longer flight back to Dulles was at 4:20pm, and we were both in Terminal 1, so we got to do some airport shopping and have one last lunch together before parting ways. Lunch was particularly exciting for me: I finally got to see an A380! It was the daily Emirates A380 flight from Dubai, and I've been hoping now for the past four trips to Heathrow to catch a glimpse. Finally, I did, seeing first its reflection in the glass behind me, and me thinking to myself, "No waaaaaay!" and then turning around to see that it was indeed it. Then I proceeded to (rather embarrassingly, looking back on it now) spazz.

I must say, it is a very strange feeling to be with someone in an airport, through security, and not be headed to the same place on the same flight as them. I'm used to tearful goodbyes curbside outside of check-in. Not hugs in front of the second security checkpoint for UK/Ireland domestic flights. It was just... bizarre.

Wheels retract and I spy below us at Terminal 3... Iran Air!!! Not something you get to see every day, or ever in the States. And this is precisely why I adore Heathrow so much. People whine and complain about lines and crowds and inefficiency. But don't see it that way. I love it. Heathrow is a convergence spot for the entire world.

Coming full circle: back to Glasgow on another beautifully sunny day. And our pilot let us know we were back by bringing us down with a very hard, teeth-rattling thump of a landing.

The other 747. Also known as the airport bus back into City Centre. Far less glamorous, though just as loud. The driver stole £1 from me, claiming that the fare into the West End was now £4, instead of the £3 it was raised to over Christmas. I argued and argued, but he wasn't letting me on the bus without forking over the extra coin. The rate has NOT been raised. I am still bitter. SPT owes me money.

And so ends my trip. My feet are still mighty itchy however, so I'm tossing around ideas for where to go in July. Right now, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Spain are coming up cheapest. Or at least cheaper than Tokyo or Cape Town (a girl can dream, can't she?). I hate this feeling of having nothing booked. It is most unsettling.

But overall? An excellent six days down south. Glaswegian pubs just can't hold a candle to their North Yorkshire brethren.



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