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Scotland 2015

So after much discussion, we've finally decided what our next big trip back to Europe is going to be! Anyone who knows either one of us knows how irrevocably we both fell in love with Scotland. So we're going back! Originally, we were debating another three week trip across northern Europe (Norway, Denmark, Sweden, etc). But doing a different country every two days is exhausting!

So! We've decided to rent a car and drive ourselves all over Scotland, England, and Wales for 3 weeks! Because really-what's the worst that could happen to two blonde girls from America driving on the wrong side of the road LOL.

Everyone is always asking how we plan out our epic vacations. There's so much planning that goes into them! I'm going to be documenting the entire planning process between now and then right here on my blog.

The hardest part is trying to decide where it is that we want to go-because there's so many places that we haven't been yet, and a few places that we've visited before but would love to do again. Now that we have that settled, we can begin the planning!

I came across this great website called Secret Scotland that specializes in driving itineraries. You select the number of days that you'd like to go for, and the areas that you'd like to visit, and they'll show you complete itineraries. We took the leap and bought the Scenic 12 Day Tour itinerary. It has lots of  time in the Highlands (which we both wanted) and goes to lots of places that we've never been to before.

The itinerary is AMAZING. Its 146 pages long, and extremely thorough. It provides us with driving directions for the entire trip. It offers several itineraries to do on each day. Lots of "off the beaten path" stops, detours, and scenic routes. In other words, lots of options for each day. They also list lots of options for meals (all tested by them), and little shops that we'd never know about. Tips to avoid the "touristy" routes. The best times to see certain attractions.

By purchasing our itinerary through them, we also had the option to purchase an accommodation list, which is full of bed & breakfasts and specific to the route that we're taking. Hotels and restaurants don't have the option to "buy" their way onto these itineraries either, and they've all been tested and visited by Secret Scotland. There are even a few places noted that I've seen that have mentioned "less than stellar" service or staff-and they actually tell you this-but it may be worth the stop for something.

So, for the Scotland leg of our trip, here is a picture of the proposed route:

We'll be flying from Newark Int'l Airport (EWR) into Glasgow to begin. United offers nonstop service for this flight-it's the same flight that we took over there last time. From Glasgow, the highlands begin after about an hour drive. Since neither of us were really fans of Glasgow, I'm thinking that we'll probably just skip it and head north right from the airport. This will also give us an extra day in Edinburgh.

For now, we're both analyzing the itinerary and where it's taking us, and organizing it into stuff that we'd both like to see, places that we want to make a priority.

Vanessa will not leave the country until we make it to the Museum of Fire in Edinburgh. It contains the history of the first municipal fire brigade in Europe. It's so old that they still have the stables on site for the horses that used to pull the trucks.

 I really want to make it out to the Wallace Monument, dedicated to William Wallace-better known as Braveheart. It's located out in Stirling, which we'll be going through. Score!!
Anyway, that's enough for now. Check back soon-I'll be narrowing down routes and choices, trying to figure out what kind of car we can live with (because Vanessa doesn't like driving anything smaller than a Ford Explorer), analyzing the flight prices, and then planning out the rest of our trip after Scotland (England, Wales!). 

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