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GreatScot! Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round – 2nd Outlandish Adventure Day 6

So today started a bit earlier today with a threesome for breakfast. During conversation, we decided that since we only had Lu for a bit longer we would spend the day playing tourist in Glasgow city centre. The best way to do that would utilize the Hop on/Hop Off city tour offered. My mom and I often use these kind of tours when we travel to new cities. It’s a great way to get your bearings in an unfamiliar city and figure out what sites to go back and visit. It also provides transportation between the sites.

Breakfast done, we got our discount vouchers from the concierge desk at the hotel and went down to the convenient bus stop to wait for the tour bus which arrived fairly quickly. With a quick glance up at the sky — it was more sunny than cloudy — we decided we would chance sitting upstairs in the uncovered portion of the double-decker bus. Taking our seats, the bus pulled away and we started our circuit.

After zipping past the first few stops such as the Glasgow Transportation Museum, we alighted at the Kelvingrove Art Museum. Entering and making a donation, we wandered through the galleries looking at the treasures within. We admired the works of the Glasgow Boys as well as Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dali. We also listened to a bit of the free organ concert performed on the grand pipe organ in the 2 story atrium.

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I think the Kelvingrove needs to update!

After a quick stop in the Kelvingrove cafe for a cuppa, we made our way back out to the tour bus stop to find that it is now raining. However, sun is visible in the distance, so all is not lost. Back on the bus, I managed to snap some lovely pics of the bowls lawns next to the museum as well as a shot of the Kelvingrove and the University of Glasgow. We also made our way past the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the alma mater of one Sam Heughan.

 

We departed the bus once again at George Square to sneak a peek at another Outlander filming location. Lu and I posed in front of the same archway where Frank and Claire dashed through to get married at the Registry Office. That box ticked, we also made our way to the Glasgow Museum of Modern Art and I took some pics of the statue with the requisite orange cone on its head.

Unfortunately by this time, we needed to get Lu back to the hotel to grab her bag and make her way to the train station for the trip home. After some final hugs and farewells, Lu left and I settled in for a solo night. I passed the time eating dinner in the lounge bar and people watching. My steak and salad were excellent, but all to soon I was sleepy and headed up to bed.

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Stay tuned for tomorrow’s adventures. I have no idea what they will be as I have not planned ahead at all.

Slàn leat an-dràsta!

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GreatScot! Looking for Ghosts – 2nd Outlandish Adventure – Day 5

Slept in a bit this morning but luckily suffered no ill effects from last night’s excesses. ;-) We had Irn Bru just in case, but ended up heading downstairs to eat a good breakfast instead.

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Soon enough we piled into the car to find some adventure. We decided since the weather was not too bad to head up towards Falkland in search of ghost Jamie. After navigating a combination of surface streets, motorways and rural roads, we arrived in Falkland and, wonder of wonders, found a parking place right on the street. Yes, that is right. This girl parallel parked on the wrong side of the road, while driving from the wrong side of the car and only required a little help. ;-)

As we made our way up the sidewalk, we paused to let a car make a turn. Much to our surprise, the driver rolled the window down and asked ‘Are you Outlander ladies?’ We replied in the affirmative. It turns out that she had been at the Outlander Gathering and recognized us. The Outlanderverse is such a small world.

We strolled around the little Falkland town centre and took our photos at the fountain and visited the shopfront used in the series for where Claire looks at the vases. We then decided to stop into Mrs. Baird’s, I mean the Covenanter Hotel, for lunch. All of us enjoyed our jacket potatoes and then I had a scone for pudding, my first since I’ve been here!

After lunch, we felt the need to stretch our legs, so we did so while touring the lovely Falkland Palace. The palace is mostly a late Victorian reconstruction of a dwelling used by Kings and Queens of Scotland for many years. The palace itself is still a Crown possession but the title of Keeper of the Palace and the right to live there is still maintained. The current title holder actually still uses the Keeper’s lodging and we were shown the spot where he usually puts up the tree at Christmas.

As we made our way through the palace, I had my hands full keeping the other girls in line. ;-) Luckily. I have some previous experience with that. ;-)

After finishing the tour of the palace, we headed back up the street to the car when, lo and behold, what did we find but more Outlanders! We spent several minutes hugging and chatting with Karen, Sheila and Deb before bundling back into the car for our next location.

We headed towards Culross, dodging showers the entire way. And after only I little searching (and one stop at the tourist information office) managed to find our way to the West Kirk, also known as Outlander’s Black Kirk. I was rather proud of finding my way back without Miss S. telling me where to turn every step of the way this time. We were fortunate with the weather while we were there and even had some sun! Lu also had the opportunity to fondle yet more stones. These appeared to be Celtic carved grave slabs reused in the building of the later church.

We made it back to the car and headed back to Glasgow just in time as the rain began again. Back at the hotel, we again treated ourselves to some snacks in the lounge, albeit sticking with water this time. :-)

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Well that’s it for today’s adventures.

Slàn leat an-dràsta!

 

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Great Scot! Outlandish Mutual Appreciation Society – 2nd Outlandish Adventure – Day 3

So…I woke up extra early this morning to watch a little TV. Everyone does that at 5 am, right? Luckily all the technology gods smiled on me and I was able to watch Outlander episode 115 – Wentworth with no problems. Hmm, maybe on second thought that wasn’t the best way to start the day. Going back to sleep afterwards wasn’t really an option either. Haven’t completely decided if that was due to the bright sunny skies or Black Jack Randall. Either way it looks like I’ll be facing the day on about 3 hours sleep. Oh well.

Since I was up (and hadn’t had a chance to stock up on any food), I headed out to Crieff bright and early…about 8 am. It was such a beautiful morning that I couldn’t keep from snapping a few pictures of Loch Faskally and the local pet pheasant.

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I headed out towards Crieff and made it through at least two weather changes as I went through Sma’ Glen and by the time I arrive at the Hydro it was raining pretty good. My stomach reminded me that I hadn’t had breakfast yet, so I stopped into the Winter Garden cafe for a pot of tea and a slice of millionaire’s shortbread. So maybe that wasn’t the most nutritious choice, but it sure hit the spot and the view was lovely.

After breakfast, the first item on the agenda for the UK Outlander Gathering was the morning Fayre where many vendors were set up to display and offer for sale goods based on or inspired by Outlander. There were also several areas set up with demonstrations and other goodies. More on that in a bit. The first person I had a chance to speak with was Gillebride MacMillan, otherwise known in the Outlander world as Gwyllin the Bard. I had the opportunity to meet Gillebride last October when I was last in Scotland. I screwed up my courage and greeted him a hearty ‘Ciamar a tha sibh?’ He responded that he was well and then told me that my accent was wonderful, whereupon all the other Gaelic I knew promptly left my head. Probably just as well, I mean why screw up a perfect record?

Next, I spoke with Mr. C. of Acanthus Pies who supplies the lovely meat pies to the Outlander production. We had a great time chatting and looking at the lovely pies he brought. After the Mr. C, I had a chance to talk with the lady who runs the Mary Meander Tours and Outlander Dinner experience in Linlithgow. I’m greatly looking forward to a chance to attend one of their dinners in a week or so with the Outlander Podcast girls and I expect many pics and stories will follow. Lastly, I also got an awesome hug and picture from Ronnie Goodwin who was looking mighty fine in his kilt. Ronnie, whom I had also met last fall, was one of Dougal’s Highland lads in Outlander and many of you may have caught a glimpse of him in the last episode – The Search.

Now on to the different demonstrations going on. There were several different things going on demonstration-wise. First, there was an area set up with a wool waulking table and person teaching Gaelic waulking songs. I somehow neglected to get a picture of this though. :-( I’m sure that was partly because I spent so much time looking at the Outlander Costume area. Terry Dresbach had sent several of her team members to demonstrate and talk about techniques that they used in created costumes for Outlander – including Liz Boulton who many of you likely know from Twitter. Liz talked and showed samples of several of the different embroidery techniques she used in creating costumes.

About this time, I noticed a bit of a stir near the entrance to the room we were in. I couldn’t believe who had walked in. None other than Ron Moore and Terry Dresbach, live and in the flesh. They very graciously spent the next couple of hours mingling with fans — talking, signing autographs and posing for photos. And no sooner did the shock of that wear off than I started noticing other familiar figures including Maril Davis (Co-Executive Producer), Ira Behr (Writer/Co-Producer), Toni Graphia (Writer/Co-Producer), Jon Gary Steele (Production Designer) and Michael O’Halleran (editor). All were speaking with fans and posing for pictures. I even spied a few of the Outlander Drivers as well — Kenny and Davey. I took the opportunity to speak and get a few pictures with most of them. It very much turned into a mutual appreciation society as they warmly expressed how much they appreciated all the support from Outlander Fans.

I have to take a moment a talk just a bit about Terry. As many of you may know, I help admin Terry’s blog and it is something I am very happy to do. It was so wonderful though to finally get a chance to see Terry in person and collect on the big old hug I told her was the only payment I required. As you can see from the pictures below, it was well worth the wait. I was also able to hand off the 7 lbs of stone ground grits I had brought her from the US to her designated carrier (Ron ;-) ).

Eventually, most everyone had a chance to speak and get pictures and then everyone headed upstairs for a casual lunch.  After lunch, we trooped downstairs to hear talks about Jacobite history and some special presentations from Terry, Ron, Maril, Ira and Toni. It was all simply fascinating. Terry even brought some of the costumes for attendees to get an up close and personal look at.

Eventually though, the Outlander production people had to pack up and take their leave. I can say that I was thoroughly impressed not just by their willingness to come to the Gathering and share stories and experiences, but I was all very impressed by the Gathering attendees as well. Everyone one was most polite and mannerly and there was not mobbing or crowding. Everyone waited patiently for their turn for an autograph or picture. I saw Ron tweet after the event that it was the best fan event he had every been to and I have to agree. The UK Outlander Gathering attendees have done a superb job.

The last event on the day’s program was the formal dinner and Ceilidh. After a quick change of clothing for most attendees, everyone reconvened in the main meeting room to find that it had been completely transformed. Lighted candelabra adorned every table and the covered chairs had decorative plaid bows. The effect was simply stunning. Finding our seats via place cards, we enjoyed an excellent meal of Leek and Cheddar tart, Haggis stuffed chicken breast with potato and veg, and a dessert of creme brulee with shortbread cookies. Finally, hot tea and coffee service finished the meal (oh and there just happened to be some tablet on the tray as well).

Finally it was time to burn off some of the calories just consumed. Scottish band Skipinish took to the stage to play a mix of new and traditional tunes and call some Scottish Country Dances for the attendees. At this point though, my coach was most definitely about to turn into a pumpkin, so after a couple of songs, I said my goodbyes and hopped in the car for the trip back to Pitlochry. The trip was luckily uneventful except for an owl that swooped out in front of the car.

Tomorrow the plan is to head back to Glasgow for a few days of fun and mayhem. Stay tuned to see what trouble I can get way way into (and hopefully talk my way out of). ;-)

Slàn leat an-dràsta!

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Great Scot! More than one ‘Clan’ comes together – 2nd Outlandish Adventure Day 2

This blog may be even shorter than yesterday. Much of that may be because I slept like the dead from the time I finished last night’s blog post until almost 10 am this morning. I finally did drag myself out of bed, feeling very much refreshed, just in time to grab breakfast in the hotel restaurant with Deborah. After that, we packed our stuff and checked out.

I dropped Deb off at her car and then headed north to Pitlochry. That will be my home base for the weekend before heading back to Glasgow next week. Sitting down in comfort, I did a quick technology check to make sure all was working for the all important Outlander viewing in the morning. After some fiddling, everything appears to be working but I’ll keep my fingers crossed until morning, just in case.

Tech check done, I performed a quick wardrobe change and headed across the mountain from Pitlochry to Crieff.  It was a lovely drive through misty rain. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to take some pictures and post them. After a 45 minute drive, I arrived at the lovely Crieff Hydro — a Victorian built hotel and spa. I very quickly started running into friends, old and new, all there for the Outlandish UK Gathering.

Pretty soon it was time for dinner, but first, there was a very special pre-dinner entertainment. None other that Outlander world-famous street musicians Clanadonia, fresh from the streets of Glasgow. All the attendees gathered round to watch — and some ended up becoming part of the performance — as the band rocked the venue.  After several rousing numbers, Clanadonia ended with their smash hit ‘Hamsterheid’– a smash hit partly in that it was featured during the chase scene in Episode 101 – Sassenach.

At this point, many of you have probably noticed something missing in this blog post…pictures. I accidentally left my cell phone in the car and didn’t have it to take pictures with this evening. But don’t worry, I’ll have both the phone and my camera to take pics tomorrow. I can’t wait to see what the Outlandish UK Gathering organizers have in store for us. I’m already pretty sure my credit card balance won’t be safe after shopping at the Outlander Fayre!

In the meantime, do enjoy this video I made of Clanadonia that I was able to make with my handy Surface 3. I sure wish the quality was better but you’ll get the feel. :-(

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After a lovely buffet dinner, the Outlander clan settled in for some Outlandish Trivia. 5 rounds later, three tables were engaging in a tie-breaker for the overall win, but alas, my table was not among them. Why couldn’t I remember William Ransom’s FULL name and title. ;-) Knowing I had a bit of a drive and an early call tomorrow morning, I headed out for home.

In the car, I marveled that even so late in the evening it wasn’t quite dark yet. Pretty sure the sun will be up very early tomorrow (as will I). I made my way back across the Sma’ Glen, keeping a sharp eye out for rabbits, deer and other cars. Have to tell you that the rabbits far outnumbered the other 2. Arrived home safe and sound and now ready to catch some sleep before my very early alarm goes off.

More to come tomorrow!

Slàn leat àn-drasta!

 

 

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GreatScot! A Walk Down the Royal Mile and Fits of Giggles at the Lyceum – 2nd Outlandish Adventure Day 1

Hi guys. This blog post is going to be a bit down and dirty. ;-) I’m running on about an hour and a half of sleep in the last two days, compounded with almost 5 miles of walking and bed is calling my name…loudly.

I set off from Atlanta yesterday on my roundabout path to Glasgow. Who is it at airlines who comes up with these itineraries anyway? Part of it was my own fault. I sacrificed a few hours and an extra flight segment in the name of a half off business class frequent flyer ticket. All journeys have to start with the traditional luggage and shoe pics though!

Finally, after 3 flights and  about 18 hours of travel, I arrived in Glasgow to find the day partly sunny and relatively warm. Definitely better weather than I was expecting based on the long-range forecasts I had been perusing from home. I actually made it through immigration and customs with absolutely no waiting and made my first stop in the airport at W H Smith to top up my UK cell phone. For 20 GBP I have 4000 minutes, 4000 texts and 2GB of data to get me through my 18 day trip. Should be plenty provided I don’t get carried away tweeting pics. Then I remember what data cell services is like in the Highlands and I stopped worrying so much. ;-)

Next stop was the Avis rental counter to pick up my chariot for trip. Knowing that the girls from OutlanderPod would be joining me later in the trip, I booked a minivan (or people carrier as they are known in the UK). Unfortunately, their only automatic transmission one came back with a damaged tyre this morning ( I have absolutely NO IDEA how something like that could hapeny. Hush Mom and Vicki. Stop laughing.), so they substituted a station wagon (estate car in UK speak). Not sure I’m crazy about it. I kind of like the way the minivan sits up higher on the road. I have some emails in to Avis to see if I can swap it for something else if one comes in.

Even on little sleep, I had no problem making the short drive from Glasgow to Edinburgh and arrived at the Edinburgh Marriott by 3 pm local time. It looks much the same as it did when Mom and I stayed here on our first trip to Scotland. As a matter of fact, I am sipping a Strathmore water and munching on Walker’s shortbread from the Executive Lounge right now, just like I did on that trip. There was no time then to rest though, I had to be on the Royal Mile very shortly for the first Outlander related gathering of the trip.

I changed my clothes, hopped in a taxi and arrived at the Albanach Bar to meet my fellow Outlanders for a pre-theatre dinner before heading over to the Lyceum Theatre to see Outlander cast member Grant O’Rourke star in The Venetian Twins. I took some time to snap some pics on the way to the Lyceum and even capture some video of a bagpiper playing on the Royal Mile.

We arrived at the Lyceum which is a beautiful theatre. Luckily the play was hysterically funny and I was in no danger of falling asleep once the house lights went down. Afterwards, Grant was very sweet and came out to talk and talk pictures will the 25+ Outlander fans who were in attendance.

After the theater, Deb and I started out with the best intentions of finding the proper bus route to return to the hotel for the night but ended up catching a taxi instead, just as my fitbit was registering my 10,000th step for the day. All told, the step count was at 11,272 by the time I was back in the room.

Well, as usual, I think that was a pretty jam-packed first day and I surely didn’t want to start out behind in posting on the blog! I am headed for a well-earned rest.

Stay tuned tomorrow as I head up to Crieff for the 2nd annual Outlander UK Gathering.

Slàn leat an-dràsta!