Bonnie Scotland…

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Our trip to Scotland wasn’t exactly what I’d call a vacation, but it was however, a very interesting trip…

As our plane reached cruising altitude and the captain was about to give his customary announcement on weather conditions and flight time, I heard something odd. He started the announcement saying, Your Royal Highness, ladies and gentlemen.

Hmmm… Could I have heard wrong? No one else seemed to notice, not even my husband or son. I took a quick look around and saw the whole first row was empty except for one man, sitting next to the window, on the other side of the plane. Behind him, in the second row there were just two men sitting in the isle seats. By now my mind was racing (out loud) and my husband had to tell me to calm down, but I couldn’t. I finally asked the flight attendant, right out… Is there a royal onboard this plane?

Sure enough,Β Kong Harold, the King of Norway was sitting fifteen seats in front of me and it turns out he always flies commercial.

The King was the first one off the plane where a car was waiting for him. I took this picture from inside the plane, it's the closest I've ever been to a king!

The King was the first one off the plane where a car was waiting for him. I took this picture from inside the plane, that’s him getting into the car. It’s the closest I’ve ever been to a king!

When my son came to me last summer and said he wanted to learn how to play the bagpipes, I thought it was a joke. Turns out he was serious and has worked diligently this past year learning to play the chanter, which is the part of the pipe with the finger holes. The next step is getting the actual bagpipes, which is what brought us to Scotland. We spent five (cool and drizzly) days in Glasgow, where we stayed and my son attended a piping course at the National Piping Centre. He got his pipes and his kilt should arrive in about six weeks (it had to be custom ordered).

This is the tartan my son chose for his kilt

This is the tartan my son chose for his kilt

Because he had four classes a day with a lunch break of two hours in the middle of them, it was impossible for us to get out and do very much. All the sightseeing points of interest closed at five, which is when his last class ended. I did however, manage to get in a wee bit of shopping on Buchanan Street. We took evening strolls in Kelvingrove ParkΒ and the Necropolis Cemetery next to the Glasgow Cathedral. I know it sounds weird to stroll around a cemetery but the gothic-style mausoleums and giant headstones are quite a sight.

The headstones almost look like giant chess pieces.

The headstones almost look like giant chess pieces.

The other thing I did, was drink tea. It’s one of my favorite things to do in the UK. I’m always in search of a tea shop and I found some nice ones in Glasgow. Among them, Bradford’s, The Willow Tea Rooms, which were designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh in 1903, and my favorite, Cup Tea Lounge. Where I had the most amazing cup of White Jasmine Tea imaginable!Β And the cupcakes weren’t bad either πŸ™‚

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I’ll leave you with this:

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Words to live by…

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About maggiemyklebust

I grew up on the Jersey Shore and now live in Norway. I have also lived in Houston and the Netherlands. I have written a memoir called Fly Away Home.

Posted on July 6, 2013, in all things Norsk, Family stuff, Photos, travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. Maggie I would have loved a trip ’round the cemetery with you followed by a cuppa

  2. Awesome that you flew with a King! Brave & humble of him to fly commercial. I hope your son had an amazing time of fun and learning. Music is so good for the soul. It’s what kept me out of trouble when I was a kiddo.

    Love the pics….awesome “TEA” quote ~ β™₯

  3. Thank you for this lovely post. As an army man I have have a special attachment to the marching tune Scotland the brave.

    Thank you and wishing your son all the luck learning to play the bagpipes.

  4. itsallaboutpurple

    awww, you still had fun!! you have amazing perspective on all your images!! persuing a muscial instrument is just wonderful, bag pipes even better. something he will always have and something he can do alone or in a group!!

  5. I love the fact that the King was on the plane with you, Maggie (now you can say. ‘when I was flying to Scotland with the King…’ πŸ˜‰

    I love tea and have a cup every morning (before braving the coffee) – it sounds like you had a wonderful time and you must be so proud of your lovely and talented son πŸ˜€

    • I’ll tell you what Diane, I never felt so safe on an airplane as I did flying with the king!

      And I’m absolutely in awe of my son… He is an autistic, American/Norwegian who taught himself how to play the bagpipes. I think that’s pretty remarkable!
      A woman at the piping Centre told me, “It’s not the man who chooses the pipes, but the pipes that choose the man.” It must be true πŸ˜‰

  6. Jeannette from the CA coast

    Thank you for sharing your “holiday” in Scotland with us! I hope to visit there one day and see the Isle of Mull where my husband’s ancestors came from:) Love the kilt pattern your son picked out and perhaps one day you will be able to add a musical video of his performance on those bagpipes!

    • Yes! I’d love to film him in his kilt playing the bagpipes (if he only lets me)…
      I really do hope you make it to Scotland one day, Jeanette… It’s truly beautiful!

  7. Aww, I am just gutted to have missed you, but I’m sure there will be other opportunities! Bravo to your son for his commitment. I understand the pipes are a real challenge to play well. Good on him. Glad you enjoyed your trip, I hope the sun shone on you at some points.
    Also very cool about being on board with the King!

  8. We took the train from Aberdeen to Glasgow… the country side was beautiful and very green! We had a fine time and the sun did peek out every now and again. Next time we’ll get that cuppa, for sure!

  9. Can you imagine how excited the King would have been to know that you were on the same airplane?!! You are a true bagpiper mom! Now the fun really begins. As I am writing these words, my son is studying for university exam, yet I hear that chanter playing in the next room. So studying interspersed with music – a remarkable combination. Bagpipes will change you son’s life – he will meet extraordinary musicians and become immersed in a tradition that has many historical and location ties. Although I will never understand what it is like to play the bagpipes (I can barely get a squeak from a chanter) it has been a remarkable journey for me. By the way, I once called his kilt a “skirt” by accident. Oh my….!!!! And don’t forget – Scotland Homecoming 2014! πŸ™‚

  10. Thanks for all your kind words and like you I believe the bagpipes are a magical instrument, played only by special people… And you and I are lucky enough to be the mothers of two of these special people πŸ™‚

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