For the last six months, we’ve had fun bringing you news from the Six-Monthers, Florence and Mike Lince, as they spent their six months in South America. Now, they’ve moved on for another six months to Scotland, and regale us with the nuts-and-bolts of settling not just in a new country, but a new culture … and a new vocabulary too.
We have finally taken possession of our apartment here in Perth, Scotland, a fully-furnished two-bedroom apartment for £495/month ($750 US). Our place is located on Old High Street here in downtown Perth and is centrally located with everything in easy walking distance: shops, banks, markets, theatres (their spelling, not ours), concert halls, churches, bus stops, and the train station. Perth, population about 50,000, is in the middle of Scotland which makes it the ideal location to travel all over the country. Since we are using public transportation to get around, easy access to trains and buses is essential.
The only utility not included in our rent is electricity. Here in Scotland, they have ‘keys’ attached to the electric boxes inside your units. They are pre-paid and reloadable. You buy more electricity-time at newsstands, of which there are lots in the U.K. Post offices and even many of the grocery stores also provide this service. After getting into our new place and vacuuming and doing two loads of laundry, we had used less than a British pound’s worth of electricity on our ‘key.’ We just monitor how much wattage we use and then keep adding funds on the key as needed to keep the lights on.
We have also purchased ‘dongles’ here in Scotland. They are pre-paid USB devices that get attached to the computer. The cost is £10/month (around $15 US). These handy little devices give us unlimited Wi-Fi internet connections throughout the U.K. There are Wi-Fi hotspots all over the country, in restaurants, hotels, hostels, even on the buses and trains. However, having the dongle means we do not have to deal with hit-or-miss internet connection time.
We also have a Skype business account for making phone calls to the U.S., which is on a subscription basis. That makes it easier to call the U.S. so that we don’t have to use cell phones or smart phones or landlines. Our computer is our phone. We have voicemail through Google Voice which sends us an email in case we are away and miss a phone call. We travel with as few electronic devices as possible and that means one computer and one camera per person.
We are fortunate to have a washer-dryer here in our apartment. It is a European machine, which means it both washes and dries the clothes. We owned one of these when we lived in Washington State. We also have a collapsible laundry basket that folds nicely into our luggage and goes wherever we go.
At last, it’s now home-sweet-home here in Scotland and we look forward to exploring more of this beautiful country over the next six months.
Follow the travels of Florence and Mike online … click here.