Monday, July 17, 2017

Encapsulating Scotland

Ha! That's impossible! I've driven through a lot of it now but not enough to call myself an expert at all--not anything like my amazing tour guide Ivor.
My first day, after being retrieved from the airport, Ivor and I picked up his new trainee and my new friend Aga (who is charming and amazing!), we drove to St. Margaret's Parish, where Ivor and his wife were married 50 years ago in Edinburgh. But it was also the place of many formative people in Scotland/Edinburgh/knight's Templar history. Also, the legends behind it are amazing! I have them all written down if you want to know more.
Then we went on to Pentland Cemetery, which is on the most powerful Ley line in the world (also a Knight's Templar location, which are marked with the skull and crossbones. Pirates stole this symbol from them. And from there, we journeyed to Roslyn Chapel and castle, owned by the Sinclair family, of Scottish royalty and a formative family in the country's history. I can't even begin to describe to you exactly how mind blowing this chapel is. Not because of its overwhelming beauty, though it is astounding, but because of the amount of THOUGHT and detail that went into it. Every image and item has a purpose and reason though we don't know them all. The amount of symbolism in that church is just overwhelming! And the castle-you can just imagine the army clattering around on their horses, guarding the bridge.
We had coffee at Rhymer's Cafe (home of Thomas Rhymer) and drove up to Scott's view, Sir Walter Scott's favorite view of Scotland.
Yesterday, we went to the most magical place on earth-the aisle of Skye, home to the McLeod and McDonald clans but more of the faeries! It was quite a drive but so worth it! We drove through Loch Lomond National park; in the highlands, we drove through Glen Coe, passed the location of Hagrid's hut from HP movies, then we arrived in Mallaig where we caught the ferry to Skye. Guys, this is the most spectacular landscape ever. Rolling hills, flat mountains, dangerous moors, curving streams, blue ocean, low clouds, green everywhere, fields of Heather, strong ferns...just amazing! We did a Skye whiskey tasting, Toured Dunvegan castle, frolicked by the Fairy Bridge, and climbed the hills in the fairy glen with the goats to give offerings to the fairies. The glen is honestly indescribable. For the first time in the longest time, I felt irrevocably happy, completely carefree, like a little girl. I ran and laughed and climbed even though it was cold and drizzling. I didn't stop smiling, and I never wanted to leave. Alas...we did :(
But today was wonderful as well! I had the perfect weather to explore Sir Walter Scott's home of Abbotsford. I loved his library but I loved walking down by the River Tweed even more. I could've sat there for hours, but then it was time for my Harry Potter scavenger hunt in Edinburgh. I had Scottish coffee and wrote in The Elephant Housd, where Rowling wrote most of the Harry Potter books. They claim "the birth place of Harry Potter." And that was a dream and took some nerve.but despite all the clamor of people, I could still feel the magic of the place. Or maybe it was just the splash of whiskey...
I moved onto Greyfriar's Graveyard, home to Greyfriar's Bobby (the dog that sat on his owner's grave for years) and several names that inspired HP characters. Like you might recognize a Thomas Riddle...? Then up to Grassmarket, which highly inspired Harry Potter, where you can see the castle, which looks like Hogwartz, and then Maggie Dickinsons Pub, owned by a woman who survived being hung for witchcraft and inspired Nearly Headless Nick. Then up Victoria Street, which was the basis for Diagon Alley. I finished on the Royal Mile, aka tourist circus. It was crazy! I walked around for awhile, seriously considering buying a kilt, listening to bagpipes, watching live statues, before returning to the Elephant House where Ivor and Betty retrieved me. It wasn't enough time to see all of Edinburgh, but definitely a city I need to return to.
And that brings the Scottish portion of this adventure. I ate Haggis, tasted whiskey, danced with fairies, saw a bunch of sheep, and learned how to call people who are horible driver "chucters!" Tomorrow, we head into the Lake District! England here  come! (Please forgive my typos-working off my iPad).


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