Friday, April 27, 2018

Glasgow to Ballachulish, Scotland

We drove through some beautiful countryside on a cloudy and drizzly day. Our first stop was Loch Lomand for a boat ride. Yes, it was chilly and windy but we stood at the front of the boat and enjoyed being on the water.

Jerry, at the bar, getting some hot chocolate with whiskey.

Continuing our bus ride, passing beautiful countryside and castles.

 We reached the village of Inveraray in time for lunch. We wandered a bit, had soup, tea and scones at a little tea shop, and then a tour of Inveraray Castle.

We entered the castle through a greenhouse walkway filled with beautiful flowers.

This was the armory room. On the left, the semicircle is made with muskets. On the right, is a combination of muskets and what looks like long handled hatchets.

Beautiful gardens

Very chilly out but still lots of flowers in bloom.

Finishing our day with driving through more beautiful countryside. Loved the Highlands, rain, clouds and all!

View from our hotel window.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Touring Glasgow, Scotland With CIE Tours

The following day we boarded a bus for our tour of Glasgow and our visit to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.  We passed through areas with some interesting architecture

and that looked nice enough to wander around.

Our stop for the day was Kelvingrove. This is a very interesting museum with a little bit of any and everything in it. There definitely was something for everyone.

But based on what we saw and did in the two days we were in Glasgow, that was enough time there. Not a particularly interesting city.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

On Our Own in Glasgow, Scotland

We arrived a day before our official tour was supposed to start. We do this regularly, allowing for the possibility of flight issues. We took a taxi from the airport to the hotel in our paperwork, only to find out they didn't have a reservation for us. The manager kindly called CIE and found that we had been moved to a different hotel. We were put into a taxi, paid for by the hotel, and transferred to the other hotel. Glasgow is a small city and the ride wasn't more than 10 minutes. Check in went fine.

Of course, this made all the information I had researched about the area we were supposed to be in null and void.

The tour was supposed to officially start the next day with dinner. Plan for the day on our own was a visit to the Riverside Museum, formerly the Transport Museum. I had information on how to get there using public transportation but that was from the other hotel. A bit of research on my tablet gave me the information I needed from the new hotel and off we went. With help from the ticket agent at the subway station, we got our round trip tickets and headed off.

We really enjoyed this museum and recommend it to anyone looking for something different to do in Glasgow.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Please reread Review post

A very good friend pointed out that I  had writen Scotland twice instead of Ireland in my Review post. I have corrected it.

So if you received the post via email, please go to the blog to reread it. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Review of CIE Tours

We took the CIE 16 Day Scottish & Irish Gold tour in the spring of 2017.

Our Scottish portion of the tour was excellent. We had a guide who obviously had many years experience and was a fountain of information that she loved sharing with us. She made herself available to us at our hotel stays, setting times she would be in the lobby for questions. She filled our morning bus rides with information on history, legends, etc. Afternoons, she played a soft CD of Scottish music, knowing that most would be tired and might nap. Overall, an excellent tour.

It began to fall apart when we moved to our Irish tour. We had an incredibly long drive from Edinburgh to Dublin, with a stop in Belfast to visit the Titanic Museum. All of us doing the two tours back to back (about 15 of us) were exhausted by the time we reached our Dublin hotel.

We had a brief meeting in Dublin with the tour companions we were picking up in Ireland and our guide at our hotel. This was about 8 pm after a long bus ride and we were tired and hungry.

Getting past that, we started our Ireland tour. We learned that our guide, a retired police officer, had only been doing this for about one year. He mentioned how he had applied for a job at CIE on Friday and was leading a tour on Monday. That tells you something about the training he received.

Our bus rides were filled with silence. No information about history. No tales of the areas we were driving through. I had more information on the papers I had printed out than we received on the Ireland  portion of our trip. I know for a fact that he gave us wrong information in one city. Overall, very unhappy with the guide.

I called CIE when I returned, commenting that for the ireland portion I could have just bought a guidebook or two, and taken public buses from town to town and seen and done the same for a lot less money. I asked for compensation and received none. The agent I spoke with commiserated with me and said she would send me something. Never received anything.

That said, our accommodations and included meals were excellent. We stayed in some very interesting hotels out in the countryside. We enjoyed the basic itinerary. I don't know if the influence of the guide had anything to do with it but we enjoyed Scotland more than Ireland. We found the countryside more scenic and the history very interesting.

Going To Get Back To Blogging

Yes, it's been over a year since I posted.

Not that we've stopped traveling.

I've just been so busy with so many other things.

But I have decided it is time to get back into it and will pick up where I left off.

After our cruise on the Grand we did a land tour to Scotland and Ireland, then a Mediterranian cruise on the Royal Princess.

I'll be adding posts here, I hope, daily.