And we're back!

092707 (2) Welcome to Scotland Okay, so truthfully we've been back for a few days but since it takes me forever to recover from jet lag, this is the first day I actually feel like I'm back.

It's a bit of a surprise to me -- and maybe a relief to some readers -- that I didn't chronicle this trip with a detailed account of our travels. Life's a little different when traveling with an eight-year-old; there just isn't a lot of extra time to sit around documenting everything.

That said, I was also blown away by the experience of traveling with my niece Rebecca. As people of the non-parental-variety, Chris and I had some expectations about the week. Considering we'd be logging in long travel hours and sticking her in front of a bunch of grown-ups she didn't know (and probably couldn't understand), we were prepared for at least one or two meltdowns along the way. It seemed reasonable that Rebecca would feel homesick and bored and we'd have to mitigate the circumstances.

100107 (57)

The truth is, Rebecca was a dream travel companion. I'd gladly take her anywhere. She complained far less than I did about traveling for 17 hours on little or no sleep, gladly rolled with the punches, got along swimmingly with all the grown ups and marveled at every new thing she experienced -- whether it was the seemingly minor thrill of riding in the top of a double decker bus or the major experience of Edinburgh Castle.

But besides all that, she was a hell of a lot of fun to be around. It's an amazing experience when this little thing you've known since day one grows into a very cool human being with a terrific sense of humor, a sharp mind and a great perspective on things. I truly enjoyed her company and I don't think the trip could have gone better.

In fact, there was only one set of tears the entire time (okay, two, if you count my accidentally shutting her finger in the airplane bathroom door), and that was on the last night after she said goodbye to her great grandma and her great uncle. "I always knew I had them," she said, through sniffles. "I just didn't know how much I would love them until I met them." I KNOW! Almost too Hallmark, but true. I had to promise her that I would bring her back to see them again sometime.

So while I don't have lengthy descriptions of everything we did, here's a quick glance at our short stay in Scotland:

092807 (13) Meeting Elvis and other wildlife at the Kelvingrove Galleries.

092807 (18) When stuffed animals attack!

092807 (37) Grandma Pringle, Rebecca and Uncle Douglas.

092907 (2) Shopping on bustling Buchanan Street in Glasgow.

092907 (20) Lunch at the Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed Willow Tea Rooms.

093007 (16) A truly magnificent day in in Edinburgh, where Rebecca was romanced by a knight.

093007 (22) Chris and Rebecca at Edinburgh Castle.

092907 (46) Requisite Glasgow dining: chips wrapped in paper and doused with lots and lots of vinegar.

100107 (8) The Glasgow Science Center, with yet ANOTHER new boyfriend.

100107 (38) And a jaunt across the river to check out The Tall Ship.

100107 (59) And a last-night early birthday dinner with Granny P. and Douglas at our little flat.

It all went by way too fast. (Gluttons for punishment can find tons more photos on my Flickr set page.)