A week from today we will be in Scotland and Ireland will be a memory. A great memory but a memory nonetheless. Our time in Ireland has been magical and it’s going to be tough to leave. Three wonderful months in total.
Our taxi from Courtesy Cabs will pick us up at our guesthouse at 5:45 a.m. to drive us the fifteen minutes to the Stena Ferry Terminal-Belfast (£6.50 GBP). Our ferry departs at 7:30 a.m. for the 2½ hour trip to Cairnryan, Scotland (£26 GBP pp).
We will arrive in Cairnryan at 10 a.m. and then cool our jets for 4¼ hours at the Cairnryan Stena Ferry Terminal to wait for our Citylink bus to leave at 2:15 p.m. for the 2¼ hour ride to Glasgow Buchanan Bus Station arriving in Glasgow, Scotland at 4:35 p.m. (£18.50 GBP pp). Any way you slice it it’s going to be a long travel day with a lot of waiting around and anytime you transit from one country to another it’s stressful—even if it goes smoothly (no two countries handle their borders exactly the same way). Even though we’re technically in the UK we’ll need to get an exit stamp from Ireland and an entry stamp to Scotland.
The currency will stay the same with £ GBP (British Pound Sterling) and not the € EUR (Euro). The current exchange rate is about £1 GBP = $1.40 USD. I still have some € EUR left in my wallet (as well as some $ USD Greenbacks) so I will just keep those bills (and coins) tucked away for later use. This is probably WAY too much information for my average reader but some people use this blog to plan their own trips abroad so I try to include useful information when I can like schedules, lodging, transportation, food and the cost of things. Just skip over this stuff if it’s not relevant to you.
Glasgow is a port city on the River Clyde in Scotland’s western Lowlands. It’s famed for its Victorian and art nouveau architecture, a rich legacy of the city’s 18th–20th-century prosperity due to trade and shipbuilding. Today it’s a national cultural hub, home to institutions including the Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet and National Theatre of Scotland, as well as acclaimed museums and a thriving music scene. It’s home to over ½-Million people as of the 2011 census and the birthplace of Craig Ferguson Scottish comic and former host of the Late Late Show.
We haven’t planned (yet) our complete itinerary for Scotland but Edinburgh will definitely be another place we’ll want to spend some time in. Entering Scotland we’ll need to get our visas sorted out so we’ll know how much time we can spend in the UK. Some say three months and others say six months (depending on country of origin). The length of time allowed and the cost of living will decide how long we can stay—we would like to spend some time in Wales and England before we cross the channel to mainland Europe. We’ll just stay flexible and see what happens.
Leaving Ireland is bittersweet—on the one hand it will be exciting to see and experience Scotland but on the other hand we’ll be sad to leave our new friends in Ireland. I think Joel and I agree that Ireland is probably the friendliest country we’ve visited to date (followed closely by Colombia). And it’s also one of the most beautiful countries we’ve visited. And it’s nice to converse in the English language again though the English the Irish speak is something else again (God only knows what Scotland will be like with their heavy brogue). Like I mentioned in the title: one more week and we’re in Scotland.