Tag - travel

Castles and Abbeys

Did you see the Series Finale of “Downton Abbey” last night?

Everybody gets a happy ending.  Yay.

Then we wake up Monday morning and it’s back to Trump and Hillary, etal.   Yuck.

I thought I recognized the location that was used for “Brancaster Castle” – the sprawling estate that the Granthams visited to meet the mother of Edith’s finance,  Bertie, aka the “Marquess of Hexham.” The location is Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England. I haven’t been there but I did recognize it immediately as a location that also served for some scenes of ‘Hogwarts’ in the first couple of Harry Potter films.

The whole subject reminded me of my travels in the UK and I took a look for the first time in quite a while at the slide show I made of some of the photos from the trip that I took there in 2013 (when I discovered the whole “Portals of Stone” thing).

It’s making me want to go back again in the spring…. <*sigh*>

My First Book Cover !

That’s my friend Beth Richardson, holding a hot-off-the-press copy of her new book:

Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Prayers. (Learn more about the book: http://celticblessingsbook.com/) Through the pages of Beth’s writing, we’re invited to connect with Celtic practices of gratitude and noticing of blessings in our everyday life. Drawing on her own Celtic heritage, Beth weaves personal story and written blessings into a book you’ll want to have ready for life’s ordinary and extraordinary moments.

…and that’s one of my photos on the cover.

The photo was taken at place on the northern tip of the Isle of Skye in Scotland called “The Quirang” – when Ann and I were there in the fall of 2012.  You can see more of the photos of this spectacular location here, and here’s the original photo:

The Quirang – Isle of Skye Scotland – October 2012

The Quirang – Isle of Skye Scotland – October 2012

We Have Found Hell

And people wonder why I am leery of winter travel:

It might not be "hell," but you can sure see it from here...

It might not be “hell,” but you can sure see it from here…

A columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution describes her 18 hour! journey from office to home:

The third gas station does have gas, but there’s no getting near it. Cars jam the driveways and side roads from every direction, inches away from hitting each other. I watch from afar as desperate motorists carry empty water jugs and two-liter Coke bottles to the pumps and fill them with fuel. I never knew gas had a yellow tint.

I turn into Publix, which is serving as another makeshift shelter, and buy water jugs. There, even more people are asleep in the aisles. One man opts to sleep on a shelf. He just moves those Duralogs right out of the way and stretches out like he’s in a bunk bed on a tour bus. Some people huddle around a small TV at a check-out line and watch a movie with Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum.

When I was a sailor in Hawaii back in the 1980s, I came to the conclusion that “the most important thing a sailor ever learns is when not to.”

I think the same could be said for leaving the house in the winter.

Scotland Day 8: Eilean Donan

Returning now to the 10,000+ photos we brought back from Scotland…in October…

Day 8 found us saying goodbye to Castle Stuart after a three night stay.  We then drove down the east shore of Loch Ness – most of the traffic is on the west shore, which we’d explored on Day 6, via three wheeled motorcycle. 

From Loch Ness we headed north and west toward the Isle of Skye, following the road that took us to Eilean Donan Castle.

Yes, Eilean Donan is probably the most recognizable edifice in all of Scotland, and maybe all of Britain next to Big Ben and the Tower of London.  Given its location among the mountains, at the intersection of three lochs, it’s understandable.

What we did not fully realize until we got inside is that Eilean Donan is a restoration.  The castle lay in ruins for nearly 200 years after the Jacobite Rising of 1719.  In 1911, the heirs of the clan MacRae acquired the island and its rubble and proceeded to restore the castle to its former glory – largely following plans drawn from a dream that occurred to the new owner, Lieutenant Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap.  After 20 years and the modern equivalent of some $20-million pounds, Eilean Donan was re-opened in 1932 and has since become one of Scotland’s primary tourist destinations.

We were fortunate to be there at a time of year when there was not much visitor traffic. I shudder to think what it’s like in August…

Anyway, here’s the video; if you want to see the individual images, find them here.