on Princes Street
Hero and I love the UK and Ireland. Twice we have been on tours to Scotland, and loved both times. Of course, we'd love to return there anytime.
My favorite place in Scotland was Edinburgh. The last time there, we stayed in a fancy-schmancy hotel that we wouldn’t have been able to afford without the tour rate. It was only two blocks off Princes Street (The Royal Mile and the main tourist street that runs beside the castle) in a converted luxury townhouse. The hotel faced a small private park, just like the one in the movie “Notting Hill.” The only sign this was a hotel was a small brass plaque beside the door and red carpet on the steps. Otherwise, it looked like a private home--unless you went around to the back and saw the building's extension and the tour bus.
|Businesses on |
|Edinburgh Castle sits|
on a massive stone hill
One could spend an entire vacation in this city and never see all the sights. Whenever you ask directions, you’ll be told, “It’s not far, just a good stretch of the legs.” Hero and I had to buy an additional suitcase on our last trip. Following those directions, we walked until I was ready to drop. After we bought the suitcase, we took a bus the several miles back to our hotel. Good stretch of the legs, my eye!
|Hero and I |
at Loch Ness
And to Loch Lomand for a boat ride and my first taste of Bailey’s Irish Cream. We thought it funny that Irish liquor was served instead of whisky. But we’d already toured a distillery and sampled whisky there.
|Scots cottage in the Higlands|
|What remains of Urquart Castle,|
see catapult and wall in right foreground
One of the saddest places we visited was Glen Coe, which is where the Campbell clan betrayed the McDonalds, from whom I am descended. The tour guide said, “And you yanks eat their soup!” But the second time we were there, the cast of “Monarch of the Glen” were filming and staying at the same hotel as our tour. I’d never heard of the show then, but watched it several times after we returned home.
We were fortunate on one trip to see the heather blooming. On another, the gorse was full. We barely missed being caught in an early snowstorm in the Highlands. Both trips were in September because that and May are our favorite times to travel and miss the crowds.
|Lock Ness, home of Nessie|
A piper in a kilt plays near Loch Ness’ Castle Urquart and apparently has become a tradition.
The first time we were there, a group were building catapults as a test of medieval battle techniques. Later, we saw the episode on the Discovery channel.
On each trip and trips to England, we've tried to visit Hadrian's Wall. Some event always prevents us seeing that site. That means we have to go back, right?
This concludes our brief tour for today. I’ll do another country in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, if you haven’t been to Scotland, I recommend it!