Welcome reader to my blog - a mixture of this and that. Now that we are living in a retirement community in downtown Columbia, MD my personal gardening activities are somewhat curtailed. I still enjoy visiting gardens, reading, watching wildlife on my walks, traveling, and occasional food commentary. Please leave a comment if you feel inspired to do so. I read every one of them.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Scotland - A Sunday Walk

The second Sunday we were in Scotland we took a walk from Dunblane to Bridge of Allan, the next town to the south.  We followed the Darn Road or Darn Walk which is purported to be an old Roman road.

The walk skirts a golf course as it leaves Dunblane then keeps pretty straight along different sorts of fences and walls.  It got quite muddy.

We came upon this exceptional tree.  I had Dan stand there for perspective.

Allan Water was to our right the whole way.

We came upon this sign and cave.

As we approached Bridge of Allan this horse and a pony checked us out.

Though the day dawned with bright sun, after our late morning breakfast the sky had clouded and rain threatened so we took the train back to Dunblane.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Scotland - Dunblane Cathedral

Having Dunblane Cathedral in the town where we made our base was such a bonus.  We walked around it and inside it the first afternoon we arrived.  It's an Historic Scotland property but since there's an active church there the admission is free.  The next day we had a tour by a member of the church and learned all the history.  Not sure how much I remember but it was fascinating.

Here's what was included in the Historic Scotland pamphlet:
"One of Scotland's finest medieval churches.  The lower part of the tower is Romanesque but most of the building was built in the 1200s and extensively restored in the 1800s.  The 15th century choir stalls - amongst the oldest now surviving in Scotland - are carved with real and fantastical beasts."

Here are a few photos of the inside of the church.  I'll share more another day.

We attended church there the our first Sunday in Scotland.  We walked to church listening to the change ringers.  We were delighted with the organ, choir and handbells that accompanied the service. The service was well attended and singing the hymns filled the cathedral with music.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Scotland - The Logistics

We did Scotland using Untours and what a wonderful experience that was.  I guess it was almost a year ago we decided to go, we looked at the properties available for just two people and the two week period we wanted to travel.  We then booked it with Untours and other than our finding the flights, they took care of the rest: booking the rental property, reserving the car, arranging for airport to car rental transfer, supplying us with GPS and cellphone, and stocking the kitchen with groceries.  We were pleasantly surprised to find there was an orientation to Scotland the day after we arrived.  Untours has many properties in Sterling and vicinity, but that arrival week we were the only ones so didn't have to share the orientation with anyone.

Our flat was the only one in Dunblane.  Others were in Stirling and Bridge of Allan.  We had a two bedroom here in this old mill building on the Allan Water.

The flat had the three large windows on the far right, first floor in the building below.

There was a lovely walk on both sides of the river.

We met Val, our Untours coordinator at the Dunblane Cathedral that first Thursday and were given a tour by a member of the church.  More on this cathedral in another post but cathedral dates to the 13th century and the lower part of the tower to the 11th century.

When we came out the sun was shining.

Val took us to a local restaurant for coffee/tea and scones where we met Padraic who regaled us with poems about Rob Roy in both English and Gaelic.

We popped in to the Dunblane Museum.  More on that another time.  Tennis champ Andy Murray is from Dunblane.

He's responsible for this mailbox being gold.

We then walked over to the Leighton Library, the oldest private library in Scotland.

Robert leighton (1611-1684) was Bishop of Dunblane and left his collection of books to the town along with funds to build a library.

Our last stop was for tea at Another Tilly's Tea Shop where Val answered all our questions and some we didn't even think to ask.

Much more to come on our trip, but I can't say enough about how wonderful Untours and Val were for us.  After that orientation we felt ready to explore on our own the land of the Scots.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Back from Scotland

We arrived home last evening from a wonderful trip to Scotland.

Today I've been tackling laundry, the mail, bookkeeping, emails, and other items on my to do list.  With the time change from there to here, it was too easy to rise early this morning, but by afternoon I had to have a nap.  Now my body is telling me that it is 11:00 at night, past my bedtime but I will try to stay up or I'll never adjust to the time.

I did manage to download all the photos I took but have done no sorting.  I'll randomly select some to give you an idea of the beauty of Scotland.

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