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Scotland – Cathedrals & Red Shoes

Our final full day in the UK was to be a full tour of Britain. “Bright” and early, we arrived to the train station for our trip from Kingussie to London. It was the first train to run for 2 days, and we had no idea of the mayhem ahead of us.

Kingussie to London at 8:30 am. It’s still dark out and we are sorry to be leaving.

We were one of the first stops, so the train was nearly empty when we took our seats in one of the smaller cars.

Settled in for a 9 hour trip through the UK countryside.

Ten stops later was an entirely different story. UK trains will sell more tickets than seats. This meant that people and their luggage were overflowing aisles and exits. The conductor was furious. “People,” he announced on the general intercom, “this is disgusting! There are old people with seat assignments and you are in their seats! Just look at yourselves, people! OLD PEOPLE are standing! Get out of their seats! This is DISGUSTING!”

Tim and I were very fortunate to be in a quiet coach, but the rest of the train was in chaos. Finally after a delay of about 20 minutes, and the arrival of a second train, things were sorted.

Thank goodness for the picnic Gay had made for us though. There was no possible way we could make it to the dining car.

After 9 hours and a few more delays, we finally arrived back in London. We had booked a room just a few blocks from the train station and Gay Christie had treated us to a performance of Red Shoes! We found an incredible pub, The Queen’s Head, for a nibble before the performance.

The Queen’s Head, the quintessential English pub
Champagne at the theater

After the performance, I had one last item on my list of must-sees. When I was in London during college, I had been awestruck by St. Paul’s Cathedral.

So we spent our final evening walking through the City of London to see it once more. It was everything that I remembered.

Christmas at St. Paul’s
St. Paul’s Cathedral

It was truly an unforgettable adventure. Thank you to the Christie family for the incredible graciousness, generosity and tremendous Christmas spirit.

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