Going on vacation – what to buy and what not to buy

I am going on a trip and I bring along … when I was a child this was the title of a favourite memory game. When I am travelling I try to take as little with me as possible: clothes for a few days, an extra pair of shoes, toiletries, maximum one not too heavy book, all in a hand luggage size suitcase. In my backpack I usually also have a laptop and camera, with all cables as that is apparently what airplane companies like most. I really beat myself this time by only bringing along about six kilograms of luggage on my flight from Amsterdam to Edinburgh. When flying back home I think the weight of my suitcase had almost doubled!

On the first days of my Scotland tour – from 7 to 12 September – I almost bought nothing and only paid for entrance fees, food and drinks and got myself a few postcards. I also bought a nice Pitkin guide about Outlander’s Scotland, saying “follow in the foorsteps of Claire and Jamie and discover a land of love, battles and adventure”. For the people who don’t know: Outlander is a really popular tv-series, based on a series of books by Diana Gabaldon, most of the story taking place in 18th century Scotland (Jacobites!), France and the USA. Thus far there were four seasons, they have started filming a fifth season. I had actually read the books years ago, long before the series became a hit. If you haven’t watched it yet: it is really worth it. On my first full day in Scotland I even took an Outlander bus tour. Two days later I visited the Highlands on another tour. As it was quite windy in Fort Augustus, I bought myself a Scottish tartan scarf, Royal Stewart of course.

However on my last full day in Scotland I managed to buy a few things. When at Craigmillar castle in Edinburgh I noticed a great looking Outlander diary (July 2019-December 2020) with pictures from the fourth season. Naturally when I was at Rosslyn Chapel later that day I bought a small guide written by the Earl of Rossyn himself. Furthermore I couldnt leave without the book “Sheila. Courted by princes, adored by Fleet Street …” by Robert Wainwright. I decided to end my day with a visit to the big bookstore Waterstones at the end of Princes Street. On my list was “Royal Rebel 2” by Carina Axelsson, as I had enjoyed the first book. And I had promised myself I could buy two thrillers.

When paying for my books I had a quick look at some announcements at the wall, just to discover that half an hour later one of my favourite Scottish crime writers, Ian Rankin, was to speak with Canadian crime writer Linwood Barclay in the same shop. I asked and on the second floor managed to enter the event. No food for some more hours, but I really didn’t care. I had quite a lovely evening listening to two men who spoke extensively about Linwood Barclay’s newest book “Elevator Pitch”, but also about writing thrillers, carreer, and all with lots of humor. Not being a huge fan of Linwood Barclay (the book that is) and the book being a heavy hardback, I decided not to buy it, but I did buy Ian Rankins latest thriller from 2018, and of course had it signed.

One confession: at the airport I bought two more thrillers. I’ve only almost finished reading the first one. Luckily the books were all paperbacks, otherwise I wonder if I would ever have made it home with them.

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