Rick Steves’ Scotland

By Nili Olay
This item appears on page 27 of the November 2016 issue.
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Edinburgh Castle. Photo by Nili Olay

My husband, Jerry, and I were booked on a Baltic cruise out of Southampton, England, starting July 25, 2015. I wanted to extend our time abroad and Scotland seemed an obvious choice, since we had never been there. We had been very happy with a fall 2014 tour of Slovenia and Croatia with Rick Steves’ Europe (Edmonds, WA; 425/771-8303,  ), so we checked out their Scotland tours.

The “Best of Scotland in 10 Days Tour,” July 13-22, worked out very nicely for our schedule, allowing us a couple of days in London after the tour and before the cruise. We tacked on an extra day in Edinburgh at the start of the trip at the tour’s hotel, The Bonham (35 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh; www.townhousecompany.com/the
bonham)
.

From Edinburgh, the tour went to Pitlochry, Inverness, Oban and places in between. Except for the last night in Edinburgh, we stayed two nights at each hotel. The company chooses small hotels well located for sightseeing. For instance, The Bonham was across from a private park and only a 10-minute walk from Princes Street and the Princes Street Garden.

The tour did not disappoint. Our days were energetic and interesting. Our guide, Nigel, was very knowledgeable and added a great deal to our understanding of the clan system, the wars and the tragedies that make up Scottish history.

We visited many castles, including Edinburgh and Sterling castles. We walked through the Culloden battlefield and learned about its sad history. We drove through beautiful countryside and took a boat on Loch Ness. We also had a bagpipe demonstration and were allowed to try the instrument, if we wished to. (Jerry did, but I didn’t.)

With a $100 previous-traveler discount and a 2.5% discount for paying by check rather than credit card, the tour cost $5,958 for both of us, including nine nights’ hotels, all breakfasts and half the lunches and dinners.

We weren’t allowed to tip the guides, bus drivers or hotel staff. Also, Rick Steves tour participants are expected to be on time and to porter their own bags from the bus to their hotel rooms.

NILI OLAY

New York, NY

Please login or subscribe to ITN to read the entire post.
Edinburgh Castle. Photo by Nili Olay

My husband, Jerry, and I were booked on a Baltic cruise out of Southampton, England, starting July 25, 2015. I wanted to extend our time abroad and Scotland seemed an obvious choice, since we had never been there. We had been very happy with a fall 2014 tour of Slovenia and Croatia with Rick Steves’ Europe (Edmonds, WA; 425/771-8303,  ), so we checked out their Scotland tours.

The “Best of Scotland in 10 Days Tour,” July 13-22, worked out very nicely for our schedule, allowing us a couple of days in London after the tour and before the cruise. We tacked on an extra day in Edinburgh at the start of the trip at the tour’s hotel, The Bonham (35 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh; www.townhousecompany.com/the
bonham)
.

From Edinburgh, the tour went to Pitlochry, Inverness, Oban and places in between. Except for the last night in Edinburgh, we stayed two nights at each hotel. The company chooses small hotels well located for sightseeing. For instance, The Bonham was across from a private park and only a 10-minute walk from Princes Street and the Princes Street Garden.

The tour did not disappoint. Our days were energetic and interesting. Our guide, Nigel, was very knowledgeable and added a great deal to our understanding of the clan system, the wars and the tragedies that make up Scottish history.

We visited many castles, including Edinburgh and Sterling castles. We walked through the Culloden battlefield and learned about its sad history. We drove through beautiful countryside and took a boat on Loch Ness. We also had a bagpipe demonstration and were allowed to try the instrument, if we wished to. (Jerry did, but I didn’t.)

With a $100 previous-traveler discount and a 2.5% discount for paying by check rather than credit card, the tour cost $5,958 for both of us, including nine nights’ hotels, all breakfasts and half the lunches and dinners.

We weren’t allowed to tip the guides, bus drivers or hotel staff. Also, Rick Steves tour participants are expected to be on time and to porter their own bags from the bus to their hotel rooms.

NILI OLAY

New York, NY