After a LOOOOONNNG 24 hours in transit, I am now at my hostel in Glasgow. What an adventure it has been already! My morning started out bright and early in Calgary when I woke up at 3 am so that Carell’s husband, Dave, could drive me to the airport. Calgary doesn’t get much darkness this time of year so I felt like I just went to bed when I woke up but I rallied- excited and a bit nervous for my trip. I spanned 4 countries and the Atlantic Ocean in my travel time and I found myself watching a little boy about 4 years old with wonder in his eyes as he exclaimed to his mom, “Look Momma! We are flying above the clouds!” I marveled at the technology humans created to make this possible and wondered if our ancestors ever imagined that it might be possible to make such a voyage in such a short time. Carell’s prediction came true: as soon as I got to the airport in Calgary, a chatty Texan couple engaged me in conversation. Despite it being 4:30 am and all of us looking like we’d just been spat out of a meat grinder, it was a great conversation. They were a retired couple that have traveled all over the world in their motor home. When it broke down in Alaska, they sold it and I met them when they were going back home. It turns out that their grandkids were all home learning and it was interesting that the man guessed that I was a teacher before I even said so. He gave me a knowing smile when I inquired how he knew that but didn’t reveal his secret. I had forgotten how much I loved this part of travel where I get to speak to people who come from different places and in some ways have such different experiences from me. The George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Huston is a wild convergence of cultures! I felt like I was in the heart of the southern US (which I was) with all these other nationalities thrown in- Chinese, Indian, Mexican, you name it! I noticed a HUGE difference in the food available there compared to airports like Calgary, London, and Glasgow. There was a LOT of fast food. . I flew with Continental and I think they must be an American airline because the food reflected the “fast” culture. There was one food place called “Healthy Food” and I walked up skeptically. Although a lot of the things were coated in cheese still, there were Mediterranean options that I chose from. It is fair to say that Heathrow Airport is a mystery to me. Thank goodness for all the people telling me where to go and loading me onto this bus and printing new boarding passes when my gates had changed, etc. It is like its own city and I was traveling without a map! And it was all good. When I reached Glasgow, I was delighted to hear the accents, see the Gothic and Victorian buildings again, and feel the richness of the history here. I am pleased to report that I still understand Glaswegian despite not living here for a while! My taxi driver was lovely and was pleased that I asked him a question he’d never been asked before in 30 years’ of driving: “What is your favourite place in Scotland?” Turns out he is from Paisley nearby Glasgow so guess where he suggested I go. *wink* I am staying, curiously, at the same hostel I first stayed at in Glasgow when I came here to live as an exchange student a decade ago. It is a lovely old Victorian building just off of Kelvingrove Park. I put my back in a locker and went to the park while I waited for 2 pm (registration time) at the hostel. In retrospect, this was a good idea because as I leaned up against a massive old walnut tree, I felt myself become more rejuvenated and the travel fatigue left me. When I got back to the hostel, I crashed on my bed for 4 hours. Sleep never felt so good. When I woke up, I was ready to go and ravenously hungry. I wandered down to Woodland Road and could not believe how many café’s were now to be found in the city. And good coffee!!! What a huge change from a decade ago when an 8 oz cup of Starbucks coffee was 5 pounds per. I had the best moussaka I have ever had in my life at a Mediterranean restaurant run by people that looked Turkish. And after that, I wandered back to my hostel on the cobblestone roads remembering to look right THEN left. It’s been a long day and I am off to bed. It is 9 pm local time. Catch you tomorrow. Got my walkin’ shoes on!
I apologize in advance that my pictures will be either of landscape, other folks, or arm’s length from my face. I may ask folks to take pictures of my in action sometimes; I’ll have to get creative since I am traveling solo….