If it weren’t for my son’s beautiful mind and determination we may not have made this journey to Scotland. He is presently finishing up his Masters program at the University of Edinburgh.
Childbearing does pay off eventually. If it weren’t for my kids and their dreams we may very well still be, well, who knows where and perhaps not seen or experienced all we have. I love my kids and am very proud of all they have accomplished and for what their future holds.
So here are some random photos in Edinburgh and the area around the university…..
Enjoy! Next post will be on one of my FAVORITE places – North Berwick, Scotland – a Day at the Beach.
This next leg of our journey takes place just after Christmas when we had a lovely time as a family and partook of a roasted turkey and fixings to accompany it.
The next mini trip was, again, challenging to my emotions and body. I am still struggling to understand the emotions of this trip. I know it has some to do with my love of this place that stems back to childhood. I think some to do with any ancestral connections of my roots. And some to do with being with our son and his wife. It does the heart of a mom good to see where her children live and their day-to-day lives. All of these, combined with our bodies being subpar, stirred up a jumble of emotions.
All I wanted was to visit my kids and enjoy Scotland, land of faeries and stories and shortbread! I got more than I expected. I’m still processing all my experiences over there. To some of you I may sound bonkers. Please tell me someone out there has experienced the emotions tied to a trip you took!
Anyway, we set off one morning by train to Berwick-upon-Tweedin northern England, just over the Scottish border. The very name, Berwick-upon-Tweed, demands to be thought and spoken in an accent other than American. Another quaint, lovely town with scenery to match.
Here we caught a bus that wound past views of the sea and farms to Northumberland. We got off the bus and began to walk towards the Bamburgh Castle. I am speechless at this point. Just look at the pictures of this castle from the road. I really am speechless. A perfectly in tact castle and live-able. Passed down from generation to generation. I was struck by it’s awesomeness.
Walking up the road to enter the castle was difficult. I was struck by it’s enormous beauty and kept taking pictures. I think I forgot to breathe – LOL – when they say something is breathtaking I can vouch for that first hand. I made it to the top in one piece but had my doubts.
The pictures say the rest. Magnificent and Majestic.
Last year my husband and I came across a movie to stream called “Stone of Destiny“.
We were pleasantly surprised. Not only did it star Charlie Cox – aka: Dare Devil, but the plot was based on the true story of Scotland’s Stone of Sconeand a few university students who actually stole it from England and brought it back to Scotland.
As soon as we found out we were taking a trip to Scotland to visit our kids, my son told us to think of places and things we want to see.
I asked if he knew where the Stone of Destiny was? He, being a history major, knew exactly where it was and it would be easy to see.
So on our journey we went. In my previous posts on MY Scottish Journey, I talked about some of the challenging aspects. All the walking up and down hills and on hard cobblestone surfaces. A bit painful by the time we fell into our bed at night but so worth it.
I wanted to suck all I possibly could from my Scottish heritage and connection to this amazing land. One day, just before Christmas, we set off by train into The Highlands. Be still my heart. The beauty, even in the dead of winter, is surreal. How one small bit of land in this vast world can be so diverse is mind boggling. Or is it? I come from the USA where the difference in terrain goes from frozen tundra to wide vast prairies to rocky shores and sandy beaches on two different oceans and tropical places all along the southern border! But SCOTLAND has more magic, at least to me. A fascination that draws you deep inside of its very heart. And faeries! Don’t forget the fairies. 😉
Here are some images from our train ride into The Highlands taken through the train windows..
Our destination was Fort William. I beautiful and quaint town set into the hills and water – Loch Linnhe, one of Scotland’s longest sea lochs. One of my goals was to walk on beaches. Any kind of beach was wonderful to me. In Fort William there is a beach and that day the tide happened to be out. My son and I set off onto the wet stones that covered the bottom of the inlet along with seaweed. It was a bit slippery but nothing stops me from walking on a beach.
Camera in hand and a smile on my face I walked and snapped images and looked for some wee treasure to take home with me. And there it was. Right before me in the wetness of low tide, MY personal Destiny Stone.
I bent over to pick it up after taking a photo. It was so slippery and I was layered with warm clothing, I just couldn’t get it. I started laughing. My son came over and asked if I needed help. YES! It’s my stone of destiny! He was quite surprised at that “C” on that stone for his mom. He picked it up and I was thrilled. I could go home a happy woman. My gift from Scotland.
Here is a glimpse of Fort William…
After enjoying Fort William and our stay in an Air B&B we boarded a bus the next day and went to Loch Ness and Urquhart Castle. What an enjoyable and beautiful place. I did look for Nessie but she was no where to be seen that day.
From here we bused up to the city of Inverness. Oh Inverness, how I fell in love with you. I promise to spend more time with you in the future. The locals have thick Scottish accents and I love it, even though you have to listen very carefully to understand them. And unicorns…….
From Inverness we hopped onto and train as the sun was setting and ended our trip back in Edinburgh the day before Christmas Eve. A very satisfying and beautiful journey.
Everybody loves food. I do confess that food is not on the top of my list when I travel. I just want sustenance in order to do and see all I can.
I have to say that I did enjoy eating in Scotland. Since we stayed with family, some of our meals were fixed at home or packed up and brought with us. I was delighted. The home cooked meals consisted of leftover Christmas turkey turned into meat pie with puff pastry for the topping. YUM.
We had creamy porridge (oatmeal) for breakfast some mornings. Toast made from the incredible hard crusty loaves that are found unwrapped in grocery stores. Oh the bread is to die for.
Lunches were salami, pepperoni, cheese and rocket sandwiches. Rocket is what we call arugula. There is a description on the bag of its peppery flavor. My husband only ate it once because he swore it had too much peppery flavor for his liking. My son and I just looked at each other before we both insisted it was exactly like the US arugula and that the advertising worked into his head. Anyway, all those ingredients set inside a soft Scottish bun and maybe even a smidgeon of brown sauce or ….. Scottish bun with brown sauce and bacon! Yes, please.
Dinners at home, made by my son, also consisted of curried rice and smoked salmon. And take away gyros or kabobs as they like to call them. So savory and delicious.
Not to mention the shortbread and ginger nut biscuits (cookies). And did I mention puffpastry? It is in abundance in the UK and so much cheaper than in the States! Good grief.
Now let’s talk scones. I’m not a fan of dried or candied fruit. I actually gag at most raisins. I can tolerate raisins in oatmeal cookies or granola but cannot stand them plumped up and cooked.
Anyway, it is hard to find scones in Scotland with zero raisins, currants or peel of some sort. But they are cut up very small so I bucked up and ate them. Of course the fact that they bring you a large bowl of fresh, real whipped cream and a bowl of jam to slather all over them really helped. A lot.
Now, about hose raisins. My son gave me the heads up before flying out there. He warned me several times about raisins being in many things. Like Plum pudding – raisins galore. So when they insisted we try Christmas Pudding, we were fair warned. And I already knew that what those UK people call pudding is not what we call pudding. Sometimes I think we left the UK and came to America to be free from puds and raisins!
Anyway, I could not do the Christmas Pudding. It smelled great. It looked great. But I just couldn’t. I tried to eat the “cake” part around the raisins but that proved impossible. I have to say the brandy cream poured all over it was good and warm.
So not to go on and on with my words…. Let me give you a gallery of great foods…. Enjoy!
But last of all I want to show you the Pasties we ate on our last day in Edinburgh. Those who watch the Great British Baking Show will know the term “Pasty” – well they are just as you would imagine! Deliciously wonderful! I am a fulfilled woman. Pastry filled with a delicious beef stew, of sorts. Wow.