Adopt a positive attitude. Adapt to changes.
These are truisms we try to keep in mind whenever we travel. Heaven knows we needed every bit of flexibility and patience we could muster during our trip to and from Scotland and Ireland. Again, it wasn’t the being there that was the problem, it was the getting there and back here to the US that were stressful.
We had a wonderful time in both countries. All of us enjoyed the rich history, the breathtaking scenery, the refreshing weather, and the fascinating attractions in all the places we visited. The hotels we stayed in–Doubletree in Edinburgh and Fitzwilliam in Belfast–provided our needs well and were conveniently located. We hope to go back someday, especially to the Highlands, which we didn’t see during this visit. I just wish we could just teleport there and won’t have to go through London’s horrible Heathrow or Chicago’s O’Hell, I mean O’Hare.
It started well enough with the flight from Belfast actually leaving on time. Terminal 5 at Heathrow was so poorly constructed, it was a mad dash again to get to our gate for our flight to Chicago. We didn’t have time to get our tax refund at all. And, naturally we arrived late in the States, thereby missing our connection to San Antonio. It is virtually impossible to go through the immigration and security processes for entering the US within two hours, much less the lone hour we had.
Thanks to British Airways, we had an unplanned extended vacation in Chicago. They sponsored our hotel and meals for the night we had to stay until our morning make-up flight to Texas. We actually appreciated the night’s rest for we were simply exhausted. In hindsight, arriving home at daytime instead of midnight turned out to be a better choice for us.
So, if there are lessons I’d always remember from this adventure, they are:
- Have a sense of humor. Murphy’s Laws are forever at work, there’s no use flipping out when things go wrong.
- It is okay to over-pack. Always keep a fresh set of clothes, especially underwear, in your carry-on bag. Flights will get delayed, luggage will get lost or left behind.
- Carry an extra tote/sack in your bag in case you go over the weight limit. Remember: dirty clothes are heavy.
- Buy an adapter.
Last, smile. And the world will smile with you. Truth.
Photo credits: Confucius quote – quotesvalley.com, universal adapter – Bing search