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Showing posts from 2018

Scotland 2018: Day 10

Day 10
Early morning on the bus, 3:30am!  The hotel provided us with boxed breakfast.  Our tour guide extraordinaire Conor and amazing coach driver Eddie packed all those over stuffed bags into the coach and we headed to Glasgow Airport for our flights to Dublin and home to Boston.  With a final farewell, we leave you with the lyrics to Roberts Burns poem, Auld Lang Syne Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’lltak' a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Scotland 2018: Day 9

Day 9
Today’s journey took us through the Argryll Forest and a stop at the Inveraray Jail.  The rainfall over the past few days made this journey a bit longer as some roads were closed due to landslides.  Our first clue to the vast amount of rain was the water pouring off a set of stairs next to the hotel  But our extrordinaary coach driver Eddie wound his way around the mountansides to Inverary.  Some may say, it’s a dreich day! – Said in reference to the weather, when it’s cold, damp and miserable.
Inveraray Jail is a living museum and visitor attraction where real people portray life in a 19th century prison.  We were encouraged to sit in the restored 1820s courtroom with lifelike models and listen to excerpts from trials of the past before moving on to the prisons below and meeting with Warden Matron and the prison guides, all dressed in period costumes.
Afterward we boarded a boat for a cruise on Loch Lomond, the jewel in Scotland’s first National Park.It was so beautiful.
After our f…

Scotland 2018: Day 8

Day 8The Highlands are magnificent. It rained most of the afternoon, but we got lucky with good weather in the morning. The first stop of the day was the Blair Athol Distillery. We were asked to turn off our phones for safety reasons - seems the fumes can interact with the electronics risking explosions.   At the end of the tour we had a wee dram of the Blair Athol 12 year which was really good. 

Next up on our tour was Wallace Monument. It was built for Sir William Wallace (of “Braveheart” fame) who was hung, drawn and quartered by the English in 1305. There was a breathtaking view from the 67 m high Victorian monument. Each level of The Monument is accessed by a spiral staircase, with 246 steps to the top of the tower. That is a long way up!  And a long way down! 

The final castle visit of the day was Stirling Castle. Stirling Castle is one of Scotland’s most magnificent, built on a rocky outcrop and commanding a view for many miles around. It was built as an almost impregnable forti…

Scotland 2018: Day 7

DAY 7 LOCH NESS ~ AVIEMORE ~ CULLODEN: Sad to say goodbye to Edinburgh but onward to more adventure.Maybe one of us will spot the Loch Ness Monster?!
Another dry day was in front of us.The travelers were greeted first thing by our guide Conor in his traditional Scottish kilt, brogues and jacket.He regaled us with the story behind the kilts and explained there are three types of kilt plaid; traditional, hunting and ancient.It takes 8 yards of fabric to make one kilt for a man.The colors of the plaid are determined by “clan” or family.
During our long bus ride up through Inverness, the capitol of the Anglo Saxon people of Scotland. As we climbed into the highlands we saw many glens or valleys with many a “Bonnie” (beautiful) view!Along the way we learned about the Munroe List of mountain peaks.There are 200 peaks in Scotland.Those over 3,000 feet are Munroe, over 2,500 feet are Corbit and 2,000 feet are Marilyn.Scaling these peaks is quite competitive. Conor again entertained us with is grea…

Scotland 2018: Day 6

Today we traveled to St. Andrews, out along the North Sea.  Across one of the three “century bridges” all crossing the river side by side.  One was built in the 19th century, the next the 20th century and the newest on in the 21st century.   With the sun finally out today the changing colors of the leaves on the trees were in their beautiful fall glory.

Our first stop was at West Sands, the beach where the famous running scene was from Chariots of Fire was filmed.  With the theme song from the movie playing on the bus we approached the spectacular beach area.  Alongside the famous Old Course St Andrews Golf Club.  

Next stop was to visit the ruins of St. Andrew’s Castle, a castle caught in the Protestant Reformation struggle for hearts and minds. St. Andrew’s Castle was a bishop’s palace, a fortress and a state prison during its 450-year history. Then on to St. Andrew’s Cathedral. We explored the remains of Scotland’s largest and most magnificent me…

Scotland 2018: Day 5

Day 5

EDINBURGH: In the morning after a wonderful breakfast we boarded our tour bus to enjoy a panoramic tour of Edinburgh, the inspiring capital of Scotland.

From the historical closes of the Old Town to the large avenues of New Town, we saw an outstanding city of contrasts . Princes Street welcomed us to the most unique sight of Edinburgh Castle, majestically dominating both Old and New Town.  Built out of the volcanic mountainside.  We saw Calton Hill and its National Monument, rightfully giving Edinburgh its nickname: the "Athens of the North".  We drove down many streets lined with quaint shops and internationally known retailers.   

We departed the bus for a morning visit to Edinburgh Castle. Edinburgh’s Castle rock has been a stronghold for over 3000 years. In its dominating position overlooking the capital city, the grandeur and historical significance of Edinburgh Castle has made it a globally famous icon of Scotland and part of the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh Worl…

Scotland 2018: Day 4

DAY 4 ROSSACHS~CALLANDER~EDINBURGH: This morning as we departed Glasgow for Edinburgh, our guide shared with us the popular saying, “Let Glasgow Flurish”.  With a picturesque drive through the Trossachs area. This National Park boasts some of the most stunning scenery in the world from the breathtaking mountains and glens of the Trossachs to the vast tranquil beauty of Loch Lomond, mainland UK’s largest body of water. En-route we stopped at Callander Town. Callander is a bustling town situated on the River Teith, near Stirling, and is often described as the gateway to the Highlands. This pretty town lies immediately south of the Highland Boundary Fault, which is historically a meeting point between the Highlands and the Lowlands. Set dramatically beneath high, wooded crags, there are a number of popular walks in the area for visitors to explore.

The rainy day kept the group from venturing much further than the Scotland Wool Super Store and
the lovely cafes where some of us enjoyed tr…

Scotland 2018: Day 3

Day 3 GLASGOW: Following a traditional Scottish breakfast, we boarded our bus.  First stop, a visit to the “House for an Art Lover.” Originally designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh as an elegant country retreat for a person of taste and culture, today, more than 110 years later, House for an Art Lover exists to stimulate public interest in art, design and architecture. Through its studios, exhibitions, scholarships and access to learning for all ages, it has widened Mackintosh’s original vision to make House for an Art lover a house for everyone.  The design for the house was originally submitted by Mackintosh in a design competition.  He did not win and the building was eventually built after his death through interpretation from other artists.  With a clear influence in Japanese design the house is built with the “male” side of the house facing north.  Dark wood and paneling in the rooms on this side of the house that is lite by the northern more blue light.  Off white wood and pane…

Scotland 2018: Days 1 & 2

Day 1
Scotland here we come!
Many of the travelers began their trip in beautiful Lot 17 on Stonehill College campus!We boarded a bus for Boston’s Logan International Airport where we met up with our remaining group for an early evening departure.

First stop, Dublin International Airport, then changed planes for Glasgow, Scotland. 

Day 2

The flights went smoothly, baggage claim not so much!  Three travelers were missing their luggage.  After filling out claim forms we met up with our guide Conor Delaney and our driver Eddie.  They had 43 very weary travelers to occupy all day. 

First we traveled to the center of Glasgow and on to Glasgow Museum of Religious Life as well as Glasgow Cathedral.  

Many of the travelers enjoyed a cup of coffee or tea at the cafe.  We all enjoyed our first full meal at Charles Rennie MacIntosh's famous Willow Tea room. 

Finally to check into our hotel and enjoy an evening meal together.  Early to bed tonight, most of us have not slept for over 24 hours!