Scotland, you don’t go there for the weather. Puffins, castles, sailboats and Scotch. June 12-19, 2017

Our week long stay in Scotland was, for the most part,  wet.  We still managed to see some sights and drove the Scottish  backroads near Kilmartin , Scotland, where we stayed.  What made the visit special, though, was our host at Mheall Cottage, our ABnB.   James genuinely cares about his guests.  He gave excellent advice on places to visit and was interested in what you were interested in learning as well as teaching you about the immediate area.  He took time to get to know you and he allowed you to get to know him.

The highlights of our stay in Scotland was an excursion to the Isle of Lunga in the Inner Hebrides off the coast of Scotland.  It required an hour drive to the ferry launch in Oban, a 40 minute ferry ride to the Isle of Mull, an 1 hour 20 minute bus drive to the other end of the island and 50 minute ferry to the Isle of Lunga.  Lunga is a  bird sanctuary and nesting area for Puffins and other birds.  Limited visitors are allowed at one time.  Puffins don’t fear humans and actually come out in the open because human presence keeps their primary predators , sea eagles and gulls, away.  I’m glad we don’t have to process film anymore.

We made it to the Oban Scotch distillery for a tour and drove many backroads in the rain.  Managed to catch some bike acrobatics at the Killin balls and visited a couple of castles and small but interesting churches.

Scotland is a country we would definitely like to return to.  The weather forced us to look a little deeper into the history and beauty of Scotland and see some things we other wise might not have seen.

Images from the backroads of Scotland near Kilmartin.

 

The visit to Isle of Lunga and Puffins.

 

Images of St. Conan’s Kirk – an architecturally interesting church with an equally interesting history.  Check it out at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Conan’s_Kirk . Also a couple of images from the Carlisle horse races we stopped at.  Bet on one race- our horses took first and second.

A week in York and along the east coast of the UK. June 4-11, 2017

We spent a week in York in one of the nicest AirBnB’s we’ve been in.  A self contained little apartment with a fully outfitted kitchen, nice sized bedroom and bathroom and a nice little ‘living room’ with two comfortable chairs a TV and a view to a small garden in the back.  Had the weather been nicer, we would have sat outside at the end of the day. It was a short walk to the bus that took us to town center of York.  The owners lived in the attached house and we only saw them at check in/out and occasionally walking the dog.

From there we spent 3 days exploring York and two days driving to the east coast of the UK.  It was a 20 minute bus ride from the apartment to the city center.  York is a lovely small city with parts of a  remaining medieval wall surrounding old town and a significant Church, the Minster.  Lots of historical things to see and do and a wonderful Rail Museum that has refurbished trains dating back to the beginning of rail service in England.

We took two days and traveled to the east coast.  One day in Staithes and Whitby which are small fishing villages and tourist centers.  Staithes is less touristy and has a more laid back feel compared to Whitby’s tourists.  The drive there took us through the North York Moors National Park.  Beautiful rolling hills mostly devoid of trees and inhabited by free ranging sheep.

The second drive was to the town of Hull which is also on the coast.  A slightly larger town that is making a transition from being a whaling/fishing/shipping town to tourism.  We took a little train/tour ride that essentially took us through the industrial/shipping area and a smallish town center that is getting cleaned up.  Hull is also the location of the Humber Bridge which is an impressive suspension bridge that spans the Humber River that flows into the ocean.  We also visited the Maritime Museum in Hull that had lots of model ships of every kind.  My dad would have loved the place as he built many ship models similar in quality to the ones displayed.

Just a reminder,  the best way to view the images is by blowing them up to their full size.

 

York, UK, and the Minster

Whitby, Staithes and the North York Moors National Park.

On the road through France and across the channel to the UK. A visit to London.

We left Limoux, France on Friday, May 26 and drove to Albi to see the Cathedral.  It is large and ornate with magnificent and emotional paintings and sculptures .  We are not religious by any means but you can’t help but be moved by some of the pieces.

We spent the night in Limoges, France.  When we do 1 or 2 night stays in places while on the road,  we’re trying to stay in small , family owned hotels or B&B’s.  We also try to take in a site or two in each town if time permits. Limoges had a unique train station as well as a beautiful river walk where we were able to capture some good images.

We also visited Oradour-sur-Glane , France.  If you read this post,  take time to read about this Nazi massacre of an entire village.  It was a sobering stop.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oradour-sur-Glane_massacre

From Limoges we stayed in a beautiful B&B near Laval, France.  We wish we could have stayed longer. It was a refurbished stable and mill next to a stream.  Home made bread and yogurt in the morning.

Our final night in France was in a small village outside of Rouen , France.  We stopped in Rouen and visited a few sites before heading to our B&B.

On Monday, May 29, we crossed the channel to the UK.  Switched from driving on the right to the left.  We bought a 3 day ‘London Pass’ which gets you in at a discount to various sites, boat rides and hop on/off bus. Not conducive to photography.

Our last night in London was the night of the terrorist attack on the London Bridge.  We had gone to a show in the West End Theatre district and then out to dinner.  We caught the train back to our BnB by 8pm.  Got the news of the attacks from people texting us from the US.  We had seen, earlier in the day, young Muslims giving food to some of the street people. Their shirts read,  ‘I’m a Muslim , ask me anything.’   We know which Muslims actually practice their faith.

From London we are traveling to York for a week.  Had lunch and a brief tour of Stamford by a couple, Gareth and Jan, whom we had met in France.  Making friends has been one of the best parts of the trip.

Albi, France   Sainte-Cecile

Limoges France

Remember Oradour-sur-Glane , France.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oradour-sur-Glane_massacre

Images from London