i don’t even know where to begin …

ever since we got back from our honeymoon, the lady sparkler has been planning her next trip. then australia fell into our laps, and (once she got back) she began planning her next trip.

to be fair, she was actually more monitoring the currency markets than planning, per say. screw civil liberties, what really got my beloved’s blood boiling was when bush pushed the dollar sink into the commode.

so, when the bottom fell out of the european currencies last summer, the joy on her face was palpable. london. paris. wherever.

now, conveniently, my parents have always wanted to go to scotland (my grandmother was a clan donald lass) and with their 45th anniversary coming up this year and the exchange rate going our way for once, it’s was looking like this could be the year.

never one to pass up a chance to leverage synergies, the lady sparkler suggested that the two should become one. (never argue with a wife who *wants* to travel with her in-laws…)

and so it will be, the last week of this coming April.

we’ll start out with a couple days in Edinburgh (The Castle, Holyrood Park) before renting a car — more wrong side of the road driving! — and heading into the hills. we’ll do a driving tour of Glen Coe (where the noble Donalds were massacred by the dastardly Campbells while they slept).

we’ll take a drive west passing by Loch Ness (Expedition Center, Urquhart Castle) which has fascinated my father and I ever since our first trip to Busch Gardens Europe. finally, we’ll swing through the Isle of Sky — including Armadale Castle, the ancestral home of Clan Donald — before heading back in London for the trip home.

now, London is where things get interesting. we have just about 48 hours to do the whole city, including St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London, London Bridge, Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, Buckingham Gates, the Sherlock Holmes Museum and Parliment. and a partridge in a Pear tree.

oh, and I want to see White Hart Lane (home of Tottenham Hotspur) before the 100+ year old stadium gets torn down next year, and replaced by a 60,000-seat monstrosity.

so, my mother gets the isle of sky, my father gets loch ness, i get london, and my beloved gets … Paris?

as if the british isles weren’t enough, my beloved and I “gave each other” two days in Paris for Christmas this past year (and then gave it to ourselves again for Valentine’s Day once we realized how much it cost).

so, besides the *VERY* palpable guilt of traveling in such horrid economic climates, life is feeling pretty good.