Our bags are packed, we're ready to go....
Simply Shetland, the North American distributor for Jamieson's Shetland yarns, organizes a yearly "Shetland Escape" trip. This was their 7th such trip and my dear friend/neighbour Terry and I signed up last fall to go.
So, it's Sunday, July 16, we're packed and ready to go. Dear Hubby drops us off at Pearson Airport in Toronto. We're on our way!
departing Toronto at 6:15 pm, arriving London, 6:25 am Monday, July 17
it's HOT in London, the airport isn't air conditioned (if it is, it isn't working that well) and of course, we're tired from our overnight flight!
change from Terminal 3 to Terminal 1 - fun bus ride with a lot of other tired, hot travelers
10:40 flight London to Aberdeen -- arriving Aberdeen 12:10 -- we were a bit late leaving London, but a relatively short flight to Aberdeen where we picked up our bags and jumped in a Taxi to go to our hotel in the heart of Aberdeen.
During our taxi ride, one thing jumped out at us! Aberdeen in July is full of ROSES! Roses everywhere! It was gorgeous! Aberdeen is known as "The Granite City" because most (if not all) of the buildings are made out of Granite. It turns out that Aberdeen is also kown as Britain's "Flower Capital " because it has won the "Beautiful Britain in Bloom" title no less than 10 times. For more info on Aberdeen, visit Aberdeen Today.
Arriving at our hotel - the Thistle Aberdeen Caledonian, we checked in, and after a brief nap, we decided to explore a little, and find something to eat. Down Union St. we went -- looking in shop windows and admiring the cleanliness -- no graffiti to be seen anywhere. Union Street is still a bustling shopping district -- even though there is a large indoor mall just a block off of Union.
We found a great place for dinner -- called "The Illicit Still". Terry and I both had huge Yorkshire Puddings full of sausages and french fries -- what a way to start our vacation in the UK!
Aberdeen is a University town, and it has LOADS of pubs -- check them out at Scotiaweb . Presbyterian Churches have been sold by the church, and converted to pubs and eateries -- Soul is one right on Union Street -- I wish I'd taken a photo of it -- amazing stained glass windows, huge bar, leather couches and mirrors -- with subtle lighting and candles in red glass -- amazing!
Tuesday, July 18 -- as we had the morning and early afternoon free, we decided to do the "Hop On - Hop Off" double-decker bus tour. So we were up early, and joined the bus at the first stop which was just a few minutes walk from our hotel. It was hot for Aberdeen, and it looked like rain -- so we sat on the upper deck at the front where it's covered -- here's Terry at the start of our tour! (We didn't have much competition for seats -- there were only 4 of us on this first tour of the day!)
Our tour covered the "old" part of Aberdeen, and we really enjoyed it. It was on the bus that we got our first glimpse of the Northlink ferry that was to be our transport to Shetland, and Tuesday overnight accommodation. After tea at the "Victorian Tea Shop" on Union Street, we went back to our hotel to pick up our luggage. A short taxi ride to the Northlink terminal where we checked in with our hosts at the 3:00 pm.
Our main luggage was stored, and we found our outside cabins, dropped our hand luggage, and headed to the welcome wine and cheese. As the ferry left the harbour, everyone went up to the top deck to wave goodbye to Aberdeen.Later, we had dinner in the Carvery, and adjourned to our cabins for the overnight Ferry trip to Lerwick Shetland. (On my trip to Shetland in 2003, DH and I flew Aberdeen to Sumburgh airport -- so the overnight ferry was a new adventure for me. I'd recommend it!)
Our Shetland Escape had begun!
to be continued.........