Sunday, January 7, 2018

Scotland Part 4 and England

July 9, 2000 (cont.)
From Crannog, we drove to Stirling and started the castle tour in the driving rain.  May not have seen the entire castle but rain tapered off for photos. (we left the video camera in the car because of the rain).  Great visitor's center with a free video.

Went to our B&B Castlerock which was on the castle rock but not in the Old Town but on the back side.  We decided to walk to dinner in the rain.  This doesn't feel like Scotland any more.

B&B Castlerock in left corner

July 10, 2000
Took a walk through Old Town---sy was clearing and we could see the mountains.  The weather on TV showed the rain following us all the way to S.E. England which was pretty much true.  Noticed some differences from the last time we were here.  More European trucks, Euro flag is everywhere.  Scotland displays the Scottish flag (a white X on blue background) and surprisingly seeing more of the English flag (white cross on red background.  Stayed near the airport at Vulcan Lodge a cute B&B with a dog named Woody.

July 11, 2000
Got up and drove to Brighton---very cool for a beach resort.  Enjoyed the Royal Pavilion and the Pavilion Pier. (wish I'd known my ancestor William Reed/Farncombe was from Pyecomb---7 miles away)

Brighton Pier

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Scotland Part 3

On Ranoock Moor
July 8, 2000
Pitlochery---this is more like I expected in Skye and Ft. William.  Beautiful flowere , tourist shops, the town bustling with activity.  On our way there, we stopped at Blair Castle home of the Murrays---Duke Ath-oll (that's how it's pronounced).  We saw a copy of the Covenant, more weapons than I could believe.  The Murrays were among the first to start re-forestation with over 20 million trees planted on the estate---any of which are still living.  Hardly any furniture is earlier than 1600's because the quality of wood wasn't sturdy enough and wood worms attacked it.  I loved the Wedgewood type of plaster painting over the gaudiness of Versailles.  The furniture here was the furniture the family had when the turned over the estate to the Trust.

Blair Castle
July 9, 2000
Hated to leave Pitlochery---such a beautiful town.  We tried the scenic rout but couldn't see anything---too rainy.  We stopped at a lime kiln (saw sheep remains---probably fell into the quarry).

The best was Crannog---Iron Age lake dwellings.  Very interesting video, demonstrations.  From there we drove to Stirling.

Scenery along the way

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Scotland Part Two

July 5, 2000
We went to Mallaig today on the "Road to the Isles".  This was the jumping off point to the Western Isles.  We are more confused than ever about road designations.  An "A" road usually has two marked lanes, but one "A" became one lane with pull out areas.

We saw the place where the mineral strontianite was discovered in 1722.  The element strontium was discovered in it which is used in nuclear power.  A sleepy town but once  the site of mining.  Then we came around Loch Linke and saw Ft. William from across the loch.  I broke down and bought a fleece 19.95 pounds.

July 6, 2000
Left Croft House B & B on Lochview in Ft. William.  40,000 used this port to emigrate to New Worlds.  It had 3 other names including Marysburgh.
Monument to Jacobites

Eilean Donan

Eilean Donan

Road to Skye (bridge in background)

Invergarry is a Victorian planned village of the Ellice family who made money with Hudson Bay Company.  Click here for more information.  A hotel here is the remnants of a castle destroyed by Cumberland because they housed Bonnie Prince Charles before and after Culloden.  Visited Glenfinnan where there is a monument to the Jacobites.

Then, we went to Skye---beautiful scenery and beautiful day.  Stayed at Rosebank B&B in Portree.  Ate at Portree House.  Also saw Eilean Donan in Kyle of Lochalsh---often seen in movies like The Highlander and James Bond.




Kilt Falls Skye

July 7, 2000
We went around the peninsula today---rainy and cold.  Saw Kilt Falls, Dunvegan Castle.  The clouds kept us from seeing a lot of the scenery.  What strikes me is how few people live here.  A village is 2 houses.  Shops advertise they are in Glendale when they are miles apart.  Although they paint the houses (usually white but sometimes pastel), one area painted everything but the exposed rock giving the house an odd polka dot look.  Some of the B&Bs are incredibly remote.  I've decided there are few houses in the Highlands that are not B&Bs.  "No Vacancy" just means they don't want visitors at that time.  The scenery reminds us of the West (USA) but greener.  I wonder if this area is much more populous than when the Vikings were here.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Scotland Part one

July 1, 2000
After arriving in England, we took the Tube to Heathrow where we picked up a rental car and headed to Scotland.  We had intended to spend the night in England but our room was on the other side of the motorway, so we went on to Annandale Water at a lovely motor lodge.

We called Mom to wish her happy birthday and talked to Leah---all is well.  We bought the best gift in Annandale---a Scottish had with ginger hair.  We also bought Nessie beanies!
Port Appin
Ft. William the guy in the sweater was doing a little shuffling jig

July 2
After breakfast (a bit pricey), we hit the road around Glasgow and around Loch Lomond. A82-A85-A81-A811-A81-A85-A82 to Port William---were we going around in circles?  We learned the Grahams were from this region.  The Duke of Montrose is a Graham (I'm a Graham on my father's side) and he's the one who built the pass we took.  We saw long-haired cattle, but they were so close and we were driving too fast to photograph.  The funniest site was driving through that pass and seeing a Bag-piper in the middle of nowhere playing for a tour bus.

Bought a dog playing bagpipes for Grover and a AA atlas

July 3 (cloudy)
Glen Coe---saw a video at the visitor's center and we walked a bit.  We're taking  the Argyle driving tour with lunch at the Argyle Hotel in Inverary.  Learning more about Scottish history helps me learn about my family history and American history.  I know understand why so many Scots explored the Wilderness---it wasn't any more isolated or wild than this is.  After hearing about the Massacre of Glen Coe, I understand more of why so many Scots emigrated to America, Australia and Canada.
Urquhart Castle

Loch Lomond

On a B road (mostly one lane)

July 4 (cool drizzly) Loch Ness
We say Urquhart Castle--just pretty ruins, no real historical significance
Culloden we got more background on the Scottish dispersal.  Then we drove through the Cairgorms on many B roads.  At Culloden saw Ellice---drying to photo family.  Later saw family at Ben Nevis Restaurant (I have no idea what that means 17 years later) "Weather rather cloudy---rain here and there for July 5"

Monday, January 1, 2018


Paris is one of those places that was never on my bucket list, but it probably should have been.  I first went with a group of middle school students, and then went back the following year, I think.  Dave and I were using frequent flyer miles to go to Scotland, but could only schedule a flight into Paris (home through London).  So, we decided to spend a few days in Paris.

I don't have anything against Paris other than I don't speak French.  My first time (with the students), I had my friend, the French teacher, to help out.  I learned then that the French weren't as bad as I had heard, if I attempted to speak French.  I knew basic greetings, polite language, numbers and the Parisians seemed OK with that---maybe amused, but I could live with amused before the famous French sneer.
View from Eiffel Tower

Me and St. Louis

Notre Dame outside

View from hotel window
So, June 27, 2000, Dave and I were off for Scotland Highlands via Paris.  Our hotel (Hotel Monceau Elysees) was very nice.  Small room but clean and convenient to the Metro.  It was in a nice neighborhood with an outdoor cafe nearby.  No one spoke English and we couldn't get them to understand we wanted dinner, so we had salad.  A husky knew Dave was a soft touch.  Dave resisted feeding him, but the dog still stayed at his feet until the plate was carried off.

June 29, 2000 We had 2 rolls for breakfast, very strong coffee, juice and cereal.  We took the Metro to the Eiffel Tower.  There was hardly any line (we were there at 8:45AM---it opened at 9:15).  It was still cloudy but the sun started to come out as we left.  Then we went to Notre Dame and Saint Chapelle, each interesting in its own way.

We had lunch and then went to the Louvre.  We saw all the "biggies" and left around 5:00.  After strolling down Rue Rialto, we came back to the hotel and rested before we headed to the French Quarter for dinner.


Françoise d'Aubigné, Marquise de Maintenon
June 30, 2000  Today we went to Versailles by the RER.  Tickets were 29 francs ($4.25) and Versailles was $12.50 which included an hour and a half guided tour.  The Trianon weren't really worth it.  Ride the tram if you want to see them.  A walk to the restaurant at the Grand Canal would have been nice---there was an outdoor cafe.  We saw Madame d'Aubigne's portrait---she is supposedly related to us.  Her half brother is our ancestor.

Then we went to the Latin Quarter where we ate at an Alsatian restaurant.  I had Wiener Schnitzel---should have had something else (note to self---eat French food in France, German food in Germany).  I was disappointed by Versailles---I'd seen too many German castles fully furnished.  I'd been to Herrenchiemsee castle which was modeled on Versailles.  Now granted, Ludwig's beautiful Bavarian castles are not as old nor were they lived in, but they are so impressive.  So much at Versailles was destroyed by the Revolution that they have to re-purchase items.  One piece was recently purchased from Sothebys for 12 million pounds.

July 1, 2000 We got up at 6 AM to take a cab to Gar d' North where we would board the Eurostar train to go to England through the Chunnel.  The customs were a pain as usual with dogs sniffing us.  I loved the train to England though---very comfortable way to travel.

Yes, I kept a journal---I always keep a travel journal.  The problem this time was finding it.  It was in the same notebook as my bucket list. 

Between Two Worlds

Most of my life, I've considered it fortunate that I was just ahead of the Baby-boom. Generally, the Baby-boomers were born between 1946 and 1964 after the fathers returned from World War II. It was a huge population explosion that has reverberated through American society.

This blog will be part history, part memories, part reflections of a retired teacher, but active "Senior". I have always felt like I straddled two generations forming a bridge. Sometimes I think like a baby-boomer, but sometimes I'm locked into my parents' Depression era thinking. I'm a dichotomy of two eras. But, I'm always ready to try something new---so here I am dipping my toes in the water of Blogworld.