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  • From Our Perspective

Retracing Our Roots - Scotland Edition

Updated: Sep 26, 2019


We would like to start off by saying we booked this trip hastily and were really regretting the decision. Since moving back to VA, and me trying to get the business going, this probably was not the best time for us to go. Although when we travel we use our reward points and that covers a large portion of the expenses so when we looked at what to do with the points we were looking at going on a long road trip. If you have noticed on the main welcome post, we have not been to the North East. We looked at using our points to check off VT, NH, ME, RI, back through NY and home again. We would clear four states of the 50 state bucket list we have been working on.


The drag was this trip was the same value (in points) as our two weeks in New Zealand. Bummer. That kind of trip can almost be done in an extended weekend. So the value was not right. Before that we had been looking at Scotland/Europe as a destination and the flights were cost prohibitive. That was until the prices fell through the floor. We decided on impulse to just make it happen, as this would be our last big trip for a while since we no longer accumulate the points we did when Elizabeth was with EA. This was another reason why the NE passage did not seem like a great way to burn those points. But I am glad we are not gaining the points in one way because Elizabeth was gone two weeks a month before and now she is home every night.

So we booked it and September 12th – 22nd 2019 away we go… this trip was a solid city vacation. We did a lot of sightseeing, walking, and eating.


The Motherland -


The main reason for the trip is to walk in the footsteps of our ancestors. Elizabeth’s Grandma is first generation American, and her Gradpa is also of Scottish descent. Granma’s dad is from Glasgow. He moved to the states after WWI after he was injured in France. As the story goes he was bayoneted across the neck and was thought to be dead (there is something to the Scots, more on this later). He was tossed into the dead pile and when he made a noise only then was he rescued. He married an American woman. Elizabeth’s great grandma’s surname is MacKay.


My side of things are a bit more drawn out and suffice it to say Scottish by surname only. Thanks to my dad’s cousin we have found that the McVicker (MacVicar) side of things started before the revolutionary war. So we have some age to us. Nevertheless it counts. The McVicker Sept falls under the MacNaughton Clan. The Septs in the MacNaughtons include the MacKay’s. MacNaughtons castle still stands and is located in the Inveraray area (Dunderave Castle) and we are going to see it.


The downside to the MacNaughtons clan is our tartan. The design was almost as if the seamstress asked what colors they would like included the response was “all of them”. And I am sure she did her best, but you have to be real it is not that pretty. The MacKay tartan on the other hand is quite nice and wearable.


The MacKays have their own clan. Even though they are listed as a Sept under the McNaughtons, they have quite a back history. Several castles are noted here, not all of them still standing. All of E’s castles are very far north and a hike that might not be accessible for us like 10-12 hours round trip from Glasgow.


The main reason for renting the car is to drive out and see the Dunderave castle. Wednesday we loaded up early and tempted fate once again and drove out passed Loch Lomond. We continued on through the country side in not great weather at Loch Fyne (Fine) turning left headed to Castle Dunderave. Once we arrived the trip out was spoiled. Que the “wha wha” sound effect. The castle was purchased by a private family in the 90’s and has been a private house for them since. The tree growth, the peninsula it is built on, and 60MPH two lane road with nowhere to stop made getting a photo impossible. The only way to possibly see it would be pull up to the gate and ring the bell see if they would buzz us in. That was not happening so. The trip was a bust for seeing the castle. I mean you could see pieces of it through the trees. But it was a bust.


So we flipped a bitch and headed home. Along the way back though we got to see our first highland coo (cow) these cute little bastards with their bangs are too much. We snapped a few photos and curried on to Tarbet Tea Room where we had lunch. Elizabeth exclaimed that this “was the best soup I’ve ever had in my life” I had eggys and toast; we split a pot of tea and a Scone. Since the thing to do here is adding milk to the tea, we have tried it a few times since being here. I do not get it,; Just give me the tea. Food was good and was very well priced. They really should think about increasing prices. I do not know how they keep the doors open at £12.50 for Soup/bread/pot tea/eggy toast/scone.



We continued back towards the hotel. Along the way we stopped at Loch Lomond. We walked down to the water’s edge to collect a rock or two. We usually keep a piece of earth from the places we visit. We have a jar full and this trip I stopped at a stream that was running alongside the road. I made my way down to the water and managed to get a real Ironish stone from the MacNaughton lands and one from Loch Lomond. Elizabeth and I took some time strolling along skipping the flat rocks into the lake. I was tempted to put my feets in but the water was quite chilly, and algaeic. Plus there were sand spiders everywhere. No thanks. Off we went.



Accommodations/Sights/Sounds/Smells


In order to stretch the points as far as possible, and I as I have mentioned in another episode Elizabeth is one for a discount. She booked us in the low rent district. How do I know this? Deduction. You usually do not see the bail bondsman, lawyers, funeral homes, three strip joints in the same area as the Waldorf Astoria’s. We also noticed that the ambulance/fire station must have been very nearby as we heard an ambulance every 15 min. We actually set our watches to it. BUT the fire trucks here play a cute melody mid siren. Imagine the whoaaaaaaaaa whooaaaaaa sounds of a siren and in the middle there is a break and a cute beep boop plays, and then the siren start again.

To be fair, The Double Tree Hotel’s are usually nicely fitted and the best part they give you cookies at check in. We also stayed in a Double Tree in New Zealand and the front desk guy was sweet on me and gave us cookies every time we came in the hotel. When we arrived though they did not have a room ready just yet, so we dropped the bags and attempted to find some food a few blocks down at Loudons. We took the map and strolled down the street. Ladies and gentlemen as we all know I cannot just forget a smell. While researching “to do Edinburgh” everyone forgot “bring a god damn set of nose plugs”. Or be prepared to stuff tampons up your nose as I nearly resorted too. Edinburgh is often listed as the worst smelling place on the planet. This unflattering description was probably before the brewery was mandated to installed air filters, but the yeasty malty smell is still quite aromatic. Some would say infectious. It was such a thick umami smell. You can feel it in your lungs. At first I thought it was a sewer smell that I was not familiar with and it was almost unbearable. Then when I had the chance to bing® what the smell was, I was slightly relieved that it was a manufactured smell from the brewery. It did not take away how voluminous it was just It was not as repulsive as when I thought it was sewer gas.


Our first meal was a snap back to Euro model surrounding food. In the states we want to be in and out, drinks never empty, good food cheap and to pay the staff next to nothing. Here the staff earns a living wage and tipping is not an expected 20%. Usually meals out are spent with friends and family and you are given time and space to enjoy. This takes a bit of mental adjustments from two people who usually have to remind ourselves to slow down when we eat. Elizabeth and I eat very fast, and together it is a disaster. We try to be mindful but it does not usually work. I think I am the lead here though because I eat stupidly fast. So when the bill had to be asked for, a solid 20 minutes after clearing our plates. It is an adjustment for sure.


Today we had a chance to walk about the city. Europe is an amazing place. The history fights against modern development. The architecture is so beautiful. The grace in which they seem to find a balance in developing new buildings and fitting them into the surrounding area is amazing. I undoubtedly would be labeled a heathen and religion is a topic for another place, but I find churches so weirdly beautiful. Edinburgh is no exception. We strolled down the royal mile where we found so many food places all along the route it was difficult to find a place to eat. Everything seemed so quaint and wonderful. We stumbled across the filming of “Thrice Fast the 3rd times the Furiouser #9” I believe that is the working title for these garbage movies. We seem to find movie sets. This is the 3rd film set we have found by accident. We have been on location for la la land, a Kevin heart and the Rock milk Superbowl commercial, and now filming of fast and furious 9.

We took a walking tour of the city like we usually do in new places. It’s a great way to learn about the history and events of the place you are visiting and they usually are pretty cheap. The one in Edinburgh was free and tip what you think the tour was worth. The one we did in Glasgow was £10 a piece. That is a steal. On the walking tour we were told about the story of Maggie Dickson. "Maggie Dickson lived in the Early Eighteenth century as a fish hawker and would certainly have remained an anonymous figure had she not been the subject of a public hanging.

Her misfortune began when her husband deserted her in 1723 forcing her to leave the city and move further south to Kelso near the Scottish Borders. Here, she worked for an in keeper in return for basic lodgings.

Soon after she started an affair with the Innkeeper’s son which led to her becoming pregnant, not wanting the innkeeper to discover this as it would surely lead to her instant dismissal she concealed her pregnancy as long as possible. However the baby was born prematurely and died within a few days of being born. Still hiding the baby's existence she planned to put the baby into the River Tweed, but couldn't bring herself to and finally left it on the riverbank.

The same day the baby was discovered and traced to Maggie. She was charged under the contravention of the Concealment of Pregnancy Act and she was taken back to Edinburgh for Trial and execution – the latter taking place in public in the Grasssmarket on the 2nd September 1724.


After the hanging she was pronounced dead and her body was bound for Musselburgh where she was to be buried, however the journey was interrupted by a knocking and banging from within the wooden coffin. The lid was lifted to the sight of Maggie, quite alive. The law saw it as God's will and she was freed to live for a further forty years. She became something of a local celebrity and the locals gave her the nickname 'Half Hangit' Maggie.' Some said that she had seduced and manipulated the ropemaker, to engineer a weaker noose.


A pub in the Grassmarket is named Maggie Dickson's after her memory, which means her name and story will be remembered for some time yet." So you see there is something to them Scots.

This already is shaping up to be another trip where we walk a ton. We are averaging over 6 miles a day. Today we walked to the Edinburgh castle and toured inside. This is an amazing place. The oldest part was built in the 12th century and is still kicking about. There is a cool section about the old castle prisons and one of the earliest representations of the American flag was carved into the prison door that an American soldier was being held in. A lot of the prisoners held were sailors and would carve their ships or names etc into the wood. This guy carved his ship flying an early American flag. The whole castle itself sits ominously over the city and the photos do not provide the correct perspective to the beauty and how amazingly it sits and watches over the city below.




The food -


The food here has been hit or miss, and usually just ok. Although I guess the Brits and by order of association, I assume the Scots, have never been known for their amazing palate. The first night we found a ramen place but due to a fire it was closed, so we walked and walked we found a nice Tapas place but the earliest they could fit us was 9pm. It was like 530p. So we kept trying to find a good place but since there are so many food choices literally 7 to 8 a block it is hard to find. We settled on a Thai food restaurant the food was ok except the Veggie Pad Thai. I DO NOT like fish but fish sauce in some Asian dishes really adds a good flavor. Pad Thai sauce usually has fish sauce in it, this was AGGRESSIVE. When it was sat down the smell destroyed me. It was a full on Mike Tyson Punch Out to the snot box. We pushed it aside and ate everything else. We genuinely had one bite from it. When the waitress asked if everything was ok she looked at the Pad Thai. I explained that the fish sauce was like Thor’s hammer. She cleared the plates and I hoped an adjustment would follow. It had not I’m afraid.


We did have a lovely Coffee and Scone lunch at a coffee shop. We had very sweet crepes outside the filming location on FF9. Dinner at the Italian place was very good. Elizabeth had a well made fish and I had fresh in house made pasta. The coffee is not as good as New Zealand was, but UK is really a tea country anyway right? In Glasgow we booked a High Tea at a tea room, quite a posh event for two country bumpkins from Fred. We were served three small sandwiches, two scones with clotted cream (heated milk that is cooled and the fat becomes gelatinous) and jam, and two choices of dessert from the case. We went carrot cake and lemon meringue tart and of course Tea. Elizabeth has had tea in a few places with and without milk. I had my tea without and we do not see what all the fuss is about. I do not see that it adds anything. We have had black tea with milk and it tasted like black tea. We have had Scottish breakfast tea with milk and samesies. Adding milk does not add anything or take anything away. It is kind of a waste in our opinion. Just drink the tea. I had an apple tea with lunch and it was fine as is, the milk take it or leave it.


The Mexican joint we tried in Glasgow was quite a disappointment. They had great reviews. 700+ at over 4.5 stars. That is usually a high charge. We went and the water glasses were disgusting with old food and lip Mark’s on them still. The guac was well over whipped or was from a can. The tap water tasted like river water and the order of corn never arrived. The water was so bad I actually was drinking more of Elizabeth Margarita than the water. What does that tell ya?


Dinner Wednesday night was a continuation of Elizabeth good food day. Since the first fish and chips did not go as expected, we attempted fish and chips again. This time we tried it at “The Butterfly and The Pig” this place was upscale casual. And everything Elizabeth ordered was amazing. The chips were made right not just some frozen from a bag chips that are fried. They made everything from scratch and the fish was battered correctly and crispy not greasy like the first place. I had a bowl of soup that was not as great as Es road side soup from earlier. I had to add salt & pepper and a large tab of butter. Then it was palatable. I also did not know Elizabeth had come prepared with a list of things to eat while here. But she sprung it on me and on it was a dessert called Sticky Toffee Pudding. So we tried it. And it was just ok. Which is on par for here. Nothing has really been bad except the trash water at the Mexican place. But nothing has been amazing at least to me. Elizabeth would say different about her Soup.



TV-


At night back in the hotel room we have WiFi and TV and TV can be quite entertaining in other countries. We tried watching TV when we were in Italy but because of the language barrier it was not nearly as entertaining. But you could still see the differences in American TV and the UK’s. UK TV is very similar to America as most may know we steal a lot of ideas from here. The office and a lot of game shows come to mind. One major difference though is the production level on any American show, even for things you would see on PBS, are better production levels than a lot of the TV we have seen here. As we were lying in bed one evening I happened to notice that they have one of my favorite TV shows still on air here. Supermarket sweep. Buzzer has old reruns from the 90s and I have recently made Elizabeth aware of the show now we catch the old reruns. But here it is still a live show with a very shall we say lively host. We were a bit excited, at least I was. We watched a lot of Supermarket Sweep. Until we grew tired of the way the host talked. I could not bear to hear him say £3.40 (said like “free pound, foooooourrrrttyyyy”)


The other major difference is America is too fucking prude with the human body. Most people are aware of a show on discovery called Naked and afraid, where in, people go to the most remote places on earth. Strip nude and attempt to live without anything for 21/40/60 days. Here in the states we blur everything. As if we are still living in the Victorian era. God forbid we see an ankle. Here on the other hand they have a prime time show called Naked Attraction, in which, two people meet by gauging the bits first. With full on discussion of which parts are too big/too floppy/too hairy/full labia (“I prefer a full labia actually”). Etc. It is an hour long prime time TV show on the equivalent of a “network” channel. America get over yourself.



Glasgow-

Monday: The day of dread. Today we rent a car and drive to Glasgow. We did not have a car yet through the trip, things did not start off well. We arrived and the reservation was for an eight passenger people mover, and they did not have anything else unless we came back later. We ultimately ended up with a Vauxhall mid-sized something-or-other. We were shocked when we got in and it had a 715 mile capacity. BUT… it was Camary sized, and then the ulcers started. As most people know, British territories drive on the opposite side of the car and road. It was so stressful driving through streets that are fookin bonkers back to the hotel with pedestrians traffic everywhere.


We threw our bag in the back and turned right back around to drive back through those same streets and exit the city just to drive right back into another city and do the same thing. Unfortunately we found we could have taken a train straight over and basically gotten off the train right outside our hotel in Glasgow. This would have been perfect except we have one huge road trip that really was the motivation for the entire trip. I do not know how to explain the feeling behind driving here. When you have driven for a long time, you know the way a car moves. You subconsciously lean into turns and expect a car to feel a certain way when you drive is now on it is all upside down. You must concentrate on every turn and every traffic light. It is just like learning how to drive a car all over again. It is nerve wracking to say the least.


Upon arriving in Glasgow the difference from Edinburgh is noticeable. Glasgow is a completely different city than Edinburgh. Glasgow has just as much history for sure but much more of a NYC vibe where Edinburgh is more Quebec feel. Historic but chill vibe, like maybe they are geared more toward tourism dollars. Glasgow is more of a hustle and bustle. We learned on our walking tour in Glasgow that the city was home to some very wealthy tobacco traders and had a very rapid population growth. This is probably why the city has a NYC vibe. It feels like a commercial city. Both though have been lovely places. On our walking tour the highlight was the Statue of Duke Wellington and the Cone upon his head. Which if the story is true it is quite hilarious. Quick version goes, 1980’s drunk guy thought the Duke was missing his hat, saw a traffic cone nearby and put it on his head. Next day it was on news, Glaswegians (really what they are called) found it hilarious. Cops took it down, citizens put it back on. Rinse and Repeat until the city decided to let it stay. Now they decorate it with different cones.


Lower left is the bag pipe players the guy harassed

The low light must then be the embarrassing NJ’ian who in true NJ’ian fashion approached two bag pipe street performers at the Cathedral. He stood in between both all in their personal space began telling them a story about how his local golf course is “Scottish of course” and how a bag piper plays at events and how it such a hoot. How when he heard them play and saw them he had to run over and take a picture with them. Keep in mind this was in front of the crowd that was waiting for them to play. In that greasy slime ball car salesman loud talking all about me kind of way that you would expect from a NJ’ian. The older bag pipe player responded to him “are you serious?” And I do not know if the NJ’er caught that he was talking about his gross violation of space because he said “No, this is great! Good luck to ya’s” and shuffled off in true NJ style. I wanted to run and hide.


Thursday-

Today started off great. After an exhaustive day of walking we slept through until 930a. We got moving pretty quick though because breakfast was calling and before bed we had picked out another porridge place. This one only served breakfast until 1130a. Elizabeth ordered an Americano and it was fucking enormous. Look at it compared to her iphone. She also ordered “The Golden Child Porridge” and I mistakenly ordered a Breakfast Roll with potato scone and scrambled eggs. I say mistakenly because I ordered one at “The Fatty Owl” and it was the same thing, and not that tasty. The porridge was quite good. Today we wanted to explore the west end, which houses one of four free colleges here in Glasgow. We could see this one from our hotel window and have wanted to check it out. After breakfast we knew walking to the west end was going to be a trek (2 miles one way) so we decided to use the world 3rd oldest subway (London 1863, Budapest 1896). It might be 3rd oldest but it is the world’s loudest. It was quick though we got to the west end in 8 min. The subway let’s out right at the Uni and it is spectacular.


The students get to go here for free, because you know ’murica, and it is a beautiful campus. The main building sits in a boxey 8 shape with two courtyards in the middle. We sat in the sun and admired the view and reflected on how nice it is to have a thoughtful government. We walked around Kelvingrove park and admired the bridges and streams. We watched the guy playing fetch with is two labs in the water. We walked down to Kelvingrove Art Museum where we peed and listened to and organist play some music to a bunch of old blue hairs. We strolled along and found a donut shop and grabbed a couple from Tantrum donuts. It was absolutely amazing outside today so we took our donuts to steps of the museum. It was a nice place to enjoy our snack. That is until a bunch of really, really, bad skateboarders showed up and were ollieing around and making a bunch of racket. So we moved along making our way back up to the main drag of the west end. We got back on the subway and headed back home. At this point we had done nearly six miles of walking and went back to take a nap. Could have been the sugar come from the donuts too.


Did I mention the TV here is weird? Elizabeth and I got sucked into watching two dating shows where the guys cook food for the woman and she dates the guy who made her the best meal. Followed up by another dating show where a guy picks a girl based on how well she can pick out an outfit sight unseen. She does not get to meet him, sees a quick 15 sec video and then gets his measurements and there are two rounds of shopping and at the end he picks the best outfit and its corresponding shopper and they go on a date. The best part about that show though is the announcer guy talked mad trash about everyone the entire time. In that dry British wit. So nearing 7pm we headed out for dinner. We strolled along stopping at Mozza Pizza. They fancy themselves a true Neapolitan pizza place. Imported blah blah blah. I will tell ya give me Bridgeport’s tomato pie 100 times out of 100. It was ok. The dough was soft and the cheese was tasty, the sauce was runny and you had to eat it with a knife and fork. It also needed salt. Afterward we checked out a few more blocks up and down trying to walk off the pizza before headed back to the hotel.


Friday–


We have reflected on our choices whilst here and we noticed that we have made a couple of errors. We should have trained over from Edinburgh to Glasgow and we could have saved a few bucks on rental car and parking. Since we are staying in city center the days we have been taking walking tours and such the car is paid for and sitting. We also should have cut Glasgow one day shorter and went to Belfast Ireland. You can take a train over. Since we had a car and time today we decided to take the car about and around the coast. While I am on the subject, I wish a lot of things from here would catch on in the states. One of the things that can totally fuck off though is the speed zones. In the speed zones they warn you of the impending speed trap, and remind you that they are camera monitored. Oh, well, you would just slow down for the camera right? Not so fast, they have two cameras in the zone one in the beginning and one at the end and they pace you. If you speed they send you a ticket in the mail. That shit can fuck right off.


Breakfast this morning was a nice pancake house. I had buttermilk and banana with some of the best maple syrup I have ever had. Elizabeth had a blueberry pancake and it was quite blueberry. So we headed south west from Glasgow to the sea side town of Ayr. We strolled down the boardwalk but got back along the route pretty quickly. We cruised up and around the coast, stopping in a few towns along the way. See the photos and videos below. We made it back to the hotel with only a small scratch on the wheel. We decided for the last night to take one last stroll along the main streets. We noticed the sun was setting on the Clyde and went down to watch the sun fall below the horizon from the foot bridges on the Clyde. We capped off the evening with a 30 block walk from the side of the river up and over to the west side for ice cream before walking back to the hotel and down the 39 steps for the last time.


Saturday -


We would tempt fate one last time today as we must drive from Glasgow back to Edinburgh. We have to return the rental car which means more city center driving and pedestrians. We got better flights by flying in and out of EDI. So we have to make our way back. I cannot stress this enough it is a fucking ulcer inducing situation driving here. When we backed into the rental car place and I knew that stress was 100% done, I felt a real weight come off my shoulders.


After a quick bite to eat, we noticed that the breakfast place was near the two places we had not visited while here the first few days. We decided to take a short walk down to Holyrood Palace. This is the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen of Scotland. It was not a free tour and it was actually quite warm out so we skipped that one and moved along to Calton Hill. It is a perfectly situated hill that gives you great views of the entire area. It also sits opposite of Arthur’s seat. An extinct volcano that towers over everything around and surprisingly gets lost in the cityscape. While hiking up to the top of Calton Hill we stumbled upon another film set for “39 fasts and 7 more Furiouser”. So when that garbage hits the theater make sure you go see it. We might be in the background of a couple of scenes. We made it to the peak and had a look around the observatory. There is also a 300ft tall tower at the top of it which I am sure gave you an unbelievable view all around but they were charging for you to walk up it. That is like paying for cigarettes, why would I pay money to endanger my life?


About this time it had really heated up outside. So we made the 2 mile trek back to the hotel where we relaxed for a while. This stay was part of a free weekend day Hilton gave us for booking this many days. So we were able to pick the hotel we wanted the free night. We picked the Waldorf Astoria. Ohhhh fancy fancy. We got legit chocolates on the bed at turn down service. They have a Nespresso machine in the room. A man came around and hand delivered us bottles of water. The only problem is our air conditioner is not working. We had a guy come by and look at it but it never got cool in our room until we opened the window. But everything else has been lovely.


Elizabeth found a cool place to spend the afternoon before dinner. We went to a little coffee shop that you can sit and play a plethora of board games. We picked the game of life. We had coffee and played a few rounds. It was a great way to cap off the trip. We worked up quite an appetite and made our way off to a pizza place that had good reviews on Calzones. We went and sat down but the DB level was a solid 400 and could not handle it, we had to leave. We did notice the Nacho place we bookmarked was near-isssh. With hungry bellies and no internet to research other options we walked the mile or so to the Nacho place. We inhaled the nachos and bugered off. To this point in the day we had walked about 6+ miles and did not really want to walk the nearly 2 miles back to the hotel. But the area we were in did not have a lot of taxi options so we decided to walk in the direction of the hotel hoping to flag on down on the way. Well we did not manage to flag one down. So we hoofed it all the way back to the hotel finishing the day at 8.74 miles. This means that this trip now eclipses our Quebec/Montreal trip which finished at 55 miles. This trip comes in at a staggering 70.05 miles on the stay.


Summary –


Traveling awakens the senses. Traveling makes you aware of the details and minutiae. Traveling lets you notice the finer things you pass by because of sensory dullness. On this trip we have seen things that are ordinarily over looked in our day to day lives. Things like weird shaped toilets, the brick pavers on the sidewalks. The words on the signs. “Strictly no football colours” Especially when you go somewhere so culturally different. Think about it how similar everything is from town to town. You have to drive hundreds if not thousands of miles to get a different accent. So when you do travel you become alive and alert. It brings you back to our hunter gatherer days. But if you focus that into the amazingly cool and different things you have the time of your life.


On to the trip then, we have been very fortunate but also driven to make this life what it is, and to date we have seen 16 countries and 35 states. After all that I believe I have just now stumbled upon the essence of the travel bug. The travel bug or someone bitten by “the travel bug” has an urge and desire to keep traveling. A little background first. When Elizabeth and I started dating, we were only a few months in when she was graduating college. Like four or five months, and she told me “I’m getting the fuck out of Virginia” this was a bewildering statement. I did not understand why? Looking at Fredericksburg we had an Olive Garden at this point, we had a mall. What else was there? I did not understand what there was to be missed. Elizabeth had at this point backpacked through Europe and been to Mexico and Texas.


She knew. I was into her in a big way so I decided, why not? The olive garden will be here, should we come back. I mention this to give texture to the story, before I did not have worldly ideas or could even conceive a life in which we would have done these things, yet I’m forever grateful Elizabeth wanted to get the fuck out of Virginia. I believe the reason you get bit by the travel bug, is a simple break from the mundane. Think about the town and rut you are in. Can you get from point A, B, C, and D all while scheduling appointments, and making payment, feeding your kids and getting gas while texting and driving? Traveling forces you to slow down, your eyes open to things you have not noticed in a long time. You reconnect with your significant other. If you travel far enough or wide enough you hear another language or even a different accent. This forces you to pay attention be alert and aware. If breaks the mold. If you allow yourself, you feel alive.


Hope You Have Enjoyed,


Love D&E












Look how enormous and nonsensical. Redic

This is a serious portrait painting in the city hall.

ME: Jesus, when they say "one lump or two" these are gigantic... who takes two?

Elizabeth: "No wonder their fucking teeth are falling out"

ha ha ha ha



ME: What the fuck is the smell in this bed? I think the cleaning lady must have been wearing too much perfume. It is all I smell.

Elizabeth: No, the room and bed was sprayed with a fragrance.

Me: ugh! why? it smells like I shagged an old hag.

Elizabeth: Well you kinda are...


ha ha ha ha


95 Photos in the slideshow below -


25 Photos in this slideshow-


All The Foods-





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© 2008 by Dallas McVicker. All images are from the owner.