Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I want to walk Scotland.

I just have to find the vacation time to make this happen.

I have been completely absorbed in the Outlander series about a time-traveling British woman from WWII era and her life with a 17th century Scottish highlander. Sensational? Bodice-ripping? Yes and yes. But also really absorbing and quite historically rich. I've learned all of this stuff about 17th century Scottish uprisings and early American colonial history.

Anyway, now I've romanticized the Scottish highlands and want to visit. And then I see this in my Washington Post travel email. I need to go. I need to take 18 days for vacation and walk this. They say walk, not hike. I may not be the most outdoorsy, but I can walk for millions of miles. Just don't ask me to jog or run and I can go forever. AND you don't even have to camp - there are B&Bs, self-service cabins, hostels and inns all across the trails.

Courtesy of the Washington Post - check out the rest of the slideshow (!!!) You'll want to come on this adventure with me.

This reminds me of another incredible book I read quite a while back - It's Not About the Tapas (hm, by the looks of that Amazon link, Ms. Polly Evans writes a whole series of travel books. I will be checking those out...) - that made me want to bike Spain. But walking seems a bit more accessible. The author of the Post piece is a food writer for crying out loud. That makes him like me. If he can do it, so can I. I mean, the hardest bit on the trail only has a two-hiking boot difficulty meter. Out of five. This is doable.

I'll even compromise. the first leg of Brian Yarvin's trip is the long-distance West Highland Way that only takes eight days (or stages), according to my the impressive Scottish walks website.

The West Highland Way was Scotland's first long distance route and remains by far the most popular. Stretching for 150km from Milngavie on the edge of Glasgow to Fort William at the foot of Ben Nevis, the route offers a fabulous introduction to the Scottish Highlands. Those wanting to add an extra days walking could even begin in the heart of Glasgow, reaching Milngavie by following the Kelvin Walkway.
I can take a ten-day vacation. I'm thinking anniversary trip. Thank you, Outlander series, in your historically titillating excessiveness, for reigniting my wanderlust. I'm going to make this happen. Just give me time. And help me figure out how to somehow include a kayak excursion to further pique J's interest in this enterprise...

If you're into this travel fantasy (hey - it'll eventually become a reality!) stuff like I am, this WaPo newsletter had a Europe guide that also featured renting a house in France, cycling through southern Portugal and exploring Ukraine's ancient walled city. I have some more article reading to do :)

Oh! Also - A Town Like Paris. Another travel daydreamer's must-read. The author moves to Paris to work a Parisian government job (sadly, probably not so cushy anymore...) and totally immerses himself in la vie Francais.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Time to roll up those Snuggie sleeves!

I love Airfare Watchdog.

If I recall correctly, I started using the website because it's what our bustling Huntsville International Airport (International - ha!) uses for fare alerts. It's great - I have a ton of alerts set up for fabulous places and three times weekly, I get email pings about especially low fares from Huntsville to a number of my preset, specified locations. New York, San Francisco, Chicago, anyone? Yes, please.

Anyway, like many of the new web-based offerings, the Airfare Watchdog crew are pretty witty writers. I received an email this afternoon that made me want to shut my mini blinds extra tight when I get home tonight.

Hi there Melanie,

Gosh, is it March already? Time to roll up those snuggy sleeves, get off the sofa, and start planning your big spring getaway, if you haven't already. So where will you be thawing out come May? Take a look at our latest finds from the Huntsville area and see what's up for grabs...

Their "insert contact name here" email marketing campaign got me dead on this time. Thanks for calling me out in front of everyone. I'll forgive you this time, low fare finders. I will suffer a lot for you letting me know that there are $138/rt fares from Nashville to Chicago right now.

Maybe it is time to shed the Snuggie and venture out of hibernation.

Charles likes the Snuggie too.