What I did on my vacation and more

My vacation trip to Scotland began on August 15th with a rather long
flight from LAX to Glasgow, via Newark (where one must go through a very
long security process despite having done this in LA [and the same on the
return trip]). For someone with back problems this long flight is
memorable for the wrong reasons.
In Glasgow a somewhat inexpert Brendan Vacations tour guide came to fetch
the group–she simply seemed too amateurish although not incompetent. (E.
g., she made lots of really silly economic comments mixed in with
description of the sights, so much so that I chose to let her know that,
for example, innovations do not cause unemployment but some changes as to
where people will be employed!) From the start, then, the bus tour seemed
to me a minus, but the hotels in which we stayed where superb–big beds,
good service, nice areas to walk in, etc.
We took the ride from Glasgow to the Scottish Highlands, which were very
picturesque and with weather in August that must be the envy of the rest
of the world. If not for the constant bounce of the bus and the relative
discomfort of the seats, this would have been a good choice (which I made
on my own a bit hastily–a river boat cruise would have been much wiser).
After taking close looks at numerous historical sights–including much
that I have not worked on remembering but took pictures of instead–and
staying the night at a pleasant resort, we stopped next day in Saint
Andrews, which is an appealing coastal university city on the North Sea
with the atmosphere of the best college towns I know. We ended up in
Edinburgh, where we stayed for a couple of days and enjoyed what amounts
to a regular, historically rich old European city (with the usual
idiosyncrasies, such as the Military Tattoo, a nightly celebration at this
time of year, involving all kinds of bands and marching-dance troupes).
This is about all I can report apart from the fact that Scotland lived up
to my expectations and more. From there I flew to one of my favorites
cities, Aix-en-Provence, France, where I took part in the Paul Cezanne
University Summer program held each year (and which I have attended
several times before). Here the weather was very hot and, worse, the
halls didn’t have any ventilation–as if the program took place in the
17th century. On the final day, however, it cooled down and helped me to
forget the heat. I had great dinners with friends and associates and then
flew home yesterday, August 27th, from Marseilles to LAX and took a limo
to my home in OC.
The trip was made possible, in part, with the support of several good
friends who gave it to me as a 70th birthday gift.

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