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I think this will be my last post in this series, mainly because it’s always sad to get back to real life after such a fabulous cruise.  Actually, I was a little ready to go home.  Being sick on vacation is no fun and I was missing my dogs.  Also, as nice as it is to be coddled, it can get a little tiresome after awhile.  We had plans to get on the coach to the airport in Glasgow.  Thankfully, this time I didn’t end up with norovirus, so I was perfectly ready to get on the coach after a breakfast consisting of oatmeal with a wee dram and some fruit.

Our waiter, Mariusz very kindly said goodbye and I got hugs from Sergei, the bartender, and David, the purser, even though I was sniffling up a storm. I also bonded a bit with Egita, a fabulous waitress from Latvia who was also on our scotch cruise, and Wioleta, a lady from Poland who offered me hors d’oeuvres and laughed at my jokes.  I will miss them all and probably stalk them on Facebook.  Mariusz even seemed to hope we’d come back.  We’re probably among the easier guests he’s dealt with, my mushroom phobia notwithstanding.

We had nice weather in Oban on the morning of disembarkation, so the drive back to Glasgow was very pleasant.  I wish I had sat on the other side of the coach.  I could have gotten some more photos of the beautiful scenery on the way back.  As it was, Bryan continued advising us of points of interest and when we stopped for a potty break, they broke out the tea, coffee, and biscuits for us.  While we were stopped, we talked to another passenger who was on our first cruise.  She said this was her 26th time on Hebridean Princess since 2002 and she had never cruised on another vessel.  Yes, I’d say that little ship has her fans and we are among them.

Nice morning!
 

We stopped by Loch Lomond for a potty break and some coffee and tea.

 

We arrived at the airport in Glasgow at about noon, which was two hours before check in at the Glasgow Airport Holiday Inn.  After we said goodbye to those who were on the bus and headed for the train station, we picked up our bags and walked to our next hotel.

The Holiday Inn at the Glasgow Airport is super convenient.  You can easily walk to it, which is a blessing when you have four heavy bags and a purse to carry.  There is also a Holiday Inn Express at the airport that is a little further away.  I am left with the conclusion that both properties are a bit mediocre, especially after a week on Hebridean Princess.

There weren’t any rooms open when we arrived at the hotel, so we sat in the lobby and surfed the net. We had lunch… I had a cheeseburger and Bill had a sandwich of some sort.  We both had beers.  Once we were finished, we were able to check in.  I had booked an “executive room” and it wasn’t cheap.  However, I can’t say that the executive rooms at the Holiday Inn at the Glasgow Airport bring to mind an executive class.  The room was tiny… smaller than our room on the ship.  And the bathroom floors had cracks in the tile.  I couldn’t even get the shower to work, although Bill managed to after fiddling with it a bit.

The bed, which was adequate.

A chair Bill couldn’t sit in because I really needed a nap and every time he moved, it squeaked and made a terrible racket.

The bathroom floor.

The shower was the same kind we had on the ship, but I never could get the water out of the sprayer.  I took a bath.  Bill got it going later.

And the real kicker…  the minibar, which we couldn’t use if we wanted to, because we couldn’t get the damn thing to open.  I don’t know if it had a key or what, but it wouldn’t open for us.  We did get two bottles of water (one sparkling, one still) and a Mars Bar with the room.  That was nice.

After I took a two hour nap, we went to the airport for dinner because the Holiday Inn’s restaurant was packed.  The airport had a few other options besides what the Holiday Inn had, as well as a few different beers.  I will say that their breakfast was impressive and run by a very cheerful lady named Pat who made me smile.  She was probably my favorite part of the whole experience.  I think next time, we’ll just get a cab and stay in Glasgow or go to Edinburgh for a couple of days.

I did leave a somewhat negative first impression on Expedia.com and the general manager responded promptly.  I believe they are going to renovate the Holiday Inn, which is good news.  It badly needs renovation.  At least the WiFi worked well and we could watch TV.  I think the inn has a good staff, but it needs to be brought into this century.  But if you need a hotel close to the airport, it’s definitely an option.

Bright and early Wednesday morning, we checked into British Airways and went directly to the lounge at the Glasgow Airport, which was the nicest of the three we tried.  It was bigger than the one in Stuttgart, but a whole lot less chaotic and obnoxious than the one in London at Heathrow.

A couple of shots of the Glasgow British Airways lounge.  It was a lot less crowded and annoying than the one at Heathrow.

We had a good flight to Heathrow and went to the lounge, which was marginally less zoolike than it was on September 9th.  We spent a couple of hours there, got on our flight to Stuttgart, and landed safely at about 6:30pm.  Fortunately, we told Max that we’d get the dogs on Thursday morning.  There is no way we could have gotten them before he closes at 7:00pm, even though he’s close to the airport.  It took forever to get the car.  Once we got back home, the driveway was torn up because our landlords decided to redo the bricks.  The work is done now and it looks really good.

Ah well.  We had a very good trip.  I am now eyeing future cruises on Hebridean Princess and we’re also looking at barge cruises in France on French Country Waterways.  We’ll see where life takes us.  For now, I’m here to say we had yet another wonderful time in Scotland and Northern Ireland and it’s largely due to a great, underrated cruise line.  I hope it won’t be long until we’re back onboard lovely Hebridean Princess again.

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