Things have been a bit quiet on the blog because 1) I’ve been writing my brains out on my current novel (which is thiiiis close to being done, at least the first draft of it), and 2) I’m currently on vacation in Scotland.
But before we could leave for Scotland, we had to get through the gigantic queue at Faro Airport. We paid extra for premium boarding and checked in online two days in advance, but when we arrived at the airport we learned that since I hold an American passport, I had to go to the check-in desk anyway. Ryanair does not have a separate desk for people who have paid for extra privileges and already checked in.
Thus, despite doing everything right, and despite giving Ryanair a significant fee on top of our ticket prices, we were rewarded by having to stand in this line for 45 minutes.
This was my first flight with Ryanair. I can now attest that it lives up to its reputation as a low-class airline with terrible customer service.
Fortunately, once we were free of the airports, our vacation started in earnest, and it has been wonderful. The Highlands are achingly familiar to me despite the fact that I’ve never seen them before, because they are essentially the Oregon coast on steroids. I recognize so much of the flora and fauna, and the clouds and rain, and just the general feel of the place. (The left-handed driving has taken some getting used to, though, and Scottish roads put Portuguese roads to shame in terms of narrowness.)
Now we’re just outside the Cairngorms, which is a different kind of familiar — like looking up at the highest Cascade foothills from the Willamette Valley. It can rain and sunshine at the same time, like springtime in Oregon, with the difference that this is August. I’ll have to find out how many days of sunshine various parts of Scotland get per year, but my guess is “not many.” Still, this is why it’s so green, and why there are lochs everywhere, as well as gazillions of streams leaping and falling down all the hills and mountains. It is truly a land of water.
We are of course enjoying the local whisky…as well as what a Scottish friend of mine says are the best shortbreads in the country, Walkers. This packet was waiting for us in our current (and gorgeous) B&B; a sure sign that we’re in a high-class place.
Tomorrow we’re off to tour the Glenlivet distillery, and will then get a little altitude in the Cairngorms. I need a mountain fix before returning home.