Thursday, December 3, 2009

Time to Say Good-Bye . . .

Well, it’s hard to believe that today is my last full day here in Scotland and I return home tomorrow morning. First, I would like to take this time to say “Thank You” so much to everyone who took the time to read and leave such kind comments on my blog for the past 3 weeks! I really appreciate it a lot.

Scotland has been a place of great interest for me for a very long time and I am so happy that I finally got to see it. And what a wonderful and memorable experience!

Last year, someone commented on my blog entry I did from Spain that it sounded like I left a part of me in a small town called Ronda. I agreed with him. This year, I am certain that is also true for Scotland. I also believe that Scotland has left a part of itself in me.

In Glasgow, I enjoyed the beauty of art and received my first introduction to Scotland and the Scottish culture. Here in some of their amazing museums, I learned that Scotland is responsible for producing several great inventions, thinkers, literary geniuses and talented artists.

On this trip, I surprised myself for taking the leap and learning to drive on the left side of the road for the first time. But once I conquered my fears I was rewarded with the experience of driving the very beautiful “Road to the Isles” where I passed by several great and meaningful monuments and structures. I saw a quaint white church that brought a beautiful movie called “Local Hero” to life for me (Thank you so much AnnieNC for recommending this wonderful movie). I walked along the silver sands of Morar and enjoyed nightly conversations in the bar/restaurant in this family owned hotel in a small village called Arisaig. I was one of the few tourists there and sat among mostly locals who were there just to eat dinner and play pool. It was popular because of the great food served and because most places have already closed for the winter and my hotel was one of the few with a restaurant that was still open. I then visited the beautiful Isle of Skye with its majestic hills and beautiful Lochs and bays. The life is slow here and the scenery is breathtaking. I had a chance to finally see some very cool Highland Cows (thanks AnnieNC for introducing me to them) and Sheep. And then there was this beautiful deer I saw sitting at the bottom of a waterfall eating, Trudy the rabbit and little Molly the hotel manager’s pet puppy on the Isle of Skye.

I became an expert driving single track roads and sampled some smokey Single Malt Whisky from the Talisker Distillery. I have to say that it has some serious kick to it! I enjoyed the experience a lot. (Thank you so much Sandra for the tour idea). Being inspired by bloggers Candi, Marta and Maya, on this trip I tried to do something a little different and ventured on some short walks and it was awesome. It was cold during my little walks but I still seemed to break a sweat a couple of times, but that was probably mainly due to the “fear”, rather than the heat! :) All kidding aside it was a wonderful and adventurous experience that I would really like to do more of in future trips. I would say that the weather I experienced in the Highlands will also be remembered for years to come. My hair will especially remember it! I basically followed the locals and learned to walk in the rain and wind without running for cover. I actually brought my umbrella but never used it once. I remember seeing a beautiful full rainbow for the very first time and that made me think of all my blogging friend’s blogs like Anne, Barb, Maria, Annie, Leslie, Nancy, Sandra, Flygirl, Girasoli, Candi, Marta, Maya, Cindy, Eden, Sheri, Amy and all of my favorite bloggers who have such beautiful blogs.

I also ate very well (Thanks again Marta for sharing your magazine with me-Not sure if you already left yet for Oahu) and I was able to enjoy several great meals throughout my trip. Salmon, Sole, Haddock, prawns and a nice Scottish breakfast without the bacon and sausage. :) Sorry to say that I was not able to find the vegetarian restaurant to sample that famous Haggis dish. Being a part of a cool cooking group inspired by bloggers like Cindy, Maria, AnnieNC, Candi, Nancy, Jerry, Deborah, Whistlestop Café, Amy, Sheri and all the SSB members I think I have appreciated the food that I was eating much more. BTW, I have enjoyed drinking a lot of hot tea here and even liked it with milk in it which I have never tried before.

I slept at the base of the highest Mountain peak (Ben Nevis) in the UK and yet never actually saw it! :)

And finally, I end my Great Scottish Adventure in the bustling and history packed city of Endinburgh where I climbed to the City’s highest point, I walked the Royal mile from a Castle to a Palace and dined in these cool pubs like “World’s End” (what a name) and Deacon’s Tavern, I visited the smallest chapel (St. Margaret’s Chapel) I have ever seen. It is small yet large in charm and significance. Like the churches in Venice, this chapel will always hold a tender spot in my heart for the rest of my life. I enjoyed the festivities of St. Andrews, Endinburgh Patron Saint and saw this cool Art Car Parade, fireworks and some great entertainment. I sang with a choir and other locals during the blessing of the city’s Nativity Scene in St. Andrews Square. In the final days of my stay, I visited the Museum of Childhood, the Writer’s Museum, I saw a statue of a Skye Terrier dog (Greyfriars Bobby) who was so dedicated to his owner that he sat by his grave site for 14 years before his own death, I shopped at St. James Shopping Center, I walked and walked and walked to admire the amazing architecture of the Old and New,

and finally inspired by Menehune’s recent trip and seeing a play in London, I went to see this dynamic musical called “We Will Rock You” which was playing at the Edinburgh’s Playhouse Theatre. It was totally awesome!

Here’s my quick review of the play/musical “We Will Rock You”. If you are a fan of Freddie Mercury, the band Queen and love a great comedy/musical then this is the play for you! The premise is interesting! In our present day of increasing technology, the plot starts in the future where real instruments and Rock and Roll is banned (AI’s Simon Cowell was even mentioned! :). There is a character called Galileo Figueroa :) who plays the dreamer and he hears these lyrics in his head. And he and the Bohemians (aka the “Resistance”) join forces to try to revive “real” Rock-n-Roll and full fill an ancient promise! They mention rock and roll greats throughout the play and there was even one poignant moment while the song “Only the Good Die Young” when they mention all the great artists of our time who have since passed away. Bob Marley, Elvis, John Lennon, Jimmy Hendrix, Freddie Mercury and I loved how they also included Michael Jackson. By the end of the show, you will find yourself singing along with “We are the Champions” and clapping to the beat of “We Will Rock You”! They are playing here in Edinburgh until January 4, 2010 and then they will be moving on to London.

Back to my trip . . . as always, the people I have met while traveling have been a big part of my travel experience. Locals, hotel staff, shop owners and fellow travelers. It never fails that when I travel, someone shows great generosity and kindness when I most needed it.

Much thanks to Slow Traveler Deborah , the Slow Talk United Kingdom Forum and Pauline Kenny’s travel site, Slow Europe. It was their links to Undiscovered Scotland that led me to the wonderful apartment that I was lucky to find in Edinburgh. If it was not for Pauline creating Slow Travel in the first place and creating such a wonderful community of fellow travelers including some amazing solo travelers, I would not have had the courage to travel solo independently. And now I have so much more confidence as a result and I have learned that nothing is really that impossible to do if you have the passion and desire to do them.

So the question is how does Scotland rate in comparison to Italy and Spain and all the other places I’ve visited. Well, I have finally decided to stop making comparisons. I just think that each and every place has something wonderful and unique to offer and to compare one place to the other seems impossible and unfair.

I was quite pleased with the itinerary I did and have no regrets. The driving, the towns I selected to base myself in and the pace of my trip. I think it provided me the time to get a good look at the wide variety of special things that Scotland has to offer a traveler.

So would I recommend Scotland to someone else? Yes I would! It is a beautiful place to visit and the Scottish people are so generous and friendly! And the Highlands is a must. Even now when I think back to my time there only last week it almost feels like a dream because the peacefulness and visual of the scenery there seem almost perfect. And if I could, I would do it all over again.

Thank you Scotland! It was a fun and memorable experience! Thanks again everyone. And to my blogging friends, I have missed reading everyone’s blogs and I am really looking forward to catching up with all of you when I get home. I hope that you all had a wonderful Holidays and I’ll be talking to you soon!

And for those of you who have already seen “Local Hero” (particularly the end of the movie), you will understand this last photo that I am posting while on the road!

And now, I can’t wait to see where my Dreams will lead me to next . . . :)


  1. Oh my gosh, that red phone box in the last photo is so wonderful! Reminds me so much of Local Hero!

    Kathy, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this summary of your trip. I can tell that so many things truly touched your heart (and isn't that what we travel for, really?). The play sounds fantastic, and so sweet, the statue of the little dog. I love the collages you made too. It amazes me, your ability to blog so well from the road and even include photos.

    I wouldn't fret too much about missing out on the haggis, ha ha!

    Safe travels home and thanks so much for taking us to Scotland with you!

  2. What a beautiful post, Kathy! I loved reading, and I can sense your joy that you visited Scotland this year, and your deep sense of love and admiration to the country and its people. I would love to follow in your footsteps and visit Scotland one day.(Of course, we will have to add golf stops for Bill). Your trip itinerary sounded great and balanced, and I am so glad you challenged yourself to drive in Scotland, I am sure it added a lot to your experience of the beautiful country. And I agree with you, it is unfair to compare countries that are so different from one another, I admit it, I still do it in my head though, and I need to stop that.

    Have a safe trip home, and I am looking forward to post trip thoughts and photos. (I love the photos you shared by the way).

  3. Kathy, thank you so much for your wonderful, fascinating and heartfelt blogs posts all along your trail through Scotland. It has been fantastic to "travel" with you!

    Scotland has risen very high on my list of must-sees, thanks in part to your enthusiasm about your time there.

    Have a safe trip home!

  4. Oh Kathy, what a beautiful, inspired, inspiring, moving post!!! You are so great at capturing the feel of places and describing your experiences and own feelings. What a treat to read your entries on Scotland. I'm so glad you had such a wonderful time, and you've definitely inspired me to move Scotland higher on my own list of potential destinations! (Although it was quite high up to begin with!)

    I agree with not comparing places. Someone asked me if I was disappointed that I only got to go to Newfoundland instead of Italy this year - and I said NO!! Not even remotely disappointed. Nfld is incredible and beautiful, it's just different from Italy, not less wonderful. Also agree about how fantastic it is to have the SlowTrav community, I wouldn't have made my own solo trip last year if not for the forums and my blog friends.

    I will have to try to find a copy of "Local Hero" now! Those red call boxes always remind me of a friend of mine though...he brought several of those over to Canada a few years ago as part of a business venture, and had a leftover one in his living room for the longest time!

  5. What a fabulous trip! I still need to catch up on your last few posts about Edinburgh (will do that tomorrow since it is late here now). I LOVE Queen - it was my very first concert. How cool that you were able to go to this musical. Sounds like it was lots of fun. You must be exhausted. Welcome home! (I hope you made it home safely by now).

  6. loved going on this trip to Scotland with you. as always, your off-the-tourist trek adventures, the historical background on the different sites you visit, the local culture, the food, drink, and people you share your encounters with gives me a sense that I am right there with you.

    i think my favorite part of this trip was the trip through the Highlands, the Art Car Parade and the St. Margaret's Chapel (including the history about this wonderful Queen).

    the food looked great, too but you, know me I like the full-sized Hawaii portions, myself! :)

    Cannot wait to hear what your next Dream trip location will be! I am so glad you had a wonderful time!


  7. "And now, I can’t wait to see where my Dreams will lead me to next .." What a wonderfully enriching life-fulling philosophy to live by. Glad you seem to have enjoyed this chapter and for taking us along with you. Welcome home, menehune

  8. It is me again. I just saw your comment on my blog that you are back, I hope you had an easy flight. I can't wait to see more photos and hear more thoughts and stories about your fabulous trip. I was telling Bill last night about your trip, and he said that he's ready to go back there. (He's been to Scotland before, but all he did was play St Andrews course many times). I am sure he'll want to do that again if we take a trip there. Thanks for taking the time to blog during your trip.

  9. Hi Everyone, I'm back! Thanks so much for all of your comments...

    Annie, isn't that red phone box great! I kept driving by them but couldnt' find a place to park to capture a good photo. Finally on my last day I spotted one and pulled over the side of the road so I could snap a photo of it. It really reminds me so much f Local Hero! The play was totally awesome and that poor little dog. You're right about the haggis...especially now that I've grown fond of the sheep I saw. :)

    Candi, on my entry about walking along the sand and on the sand dunes. While pulling into the parking lot I crashed into a threesome of golfers and while walking along they yelled out to me while they were golfing. they wer funny! The golf course was right across the street and it had the most wonderful view...I can see why Bill would want to golf there. Great course and the views are spectacular. I'll have to admit too that I still compare in my head as well. And I too have to stop it because seeing places by themselves with their own individual merits is much better.

    Sandra, I'm glad you enjoyed my posts and that Scotland has risen higher on your list. I really hope that you get to visit it too someday. You will not regret it.

    Anne, I'm glad that you enjoyed my posts and I really do hope that you and your family will visit Scotland soon too. You will love it! I really try not to compare places with Italy too although in my head I think I sort of do. But the best thing is to see places by themselves without the comparisons. I think if I hadn't of stumbled on to Slow Travel I would be doing group tours and not getting the experiences that I have been getting so I am very grateful. I hope you can get "Loca Hero" because you will really like it. I really should've gotten one of those as a souvenir but I'm really trying to downsize my household so the photos I took will have to do for me. They are really cute though and I was very tempted. I did buy a cute little sheep and cow though.:)

    Girasoli, you would love this play then if you love Queen. How great that you were able to see them perform live in concert, before Freddie passed away. My transition I think so far isn't too bad although yesterday while doing the laudry I took a "nap" and didn't wake up until this morning! :)

    Thanks again everyone for reading my blog during my trip and for leaving such wonderful comments. It was an awesome and fun trip, but I'm so glad to be home and sleeping in my own bed. And now to finish the laundry I started yesterday and get some groceries. I am craving for a home cooked meal! Have a wonderful weekend everyone and I'm glad to be able to catch up with all of you.

  10. Hi sis! Glad you enjoyed my posts. And I think your favorites were mine as well. The food portions were actually very filling (although it may not look like a lot) and it was just enough for me until breakfast that is... :) Looking forward to hopefully seeing you at Christmas! I left you a message on your cell phone, so don't forget to check your voice mail. :)

    Menehune, thank you for following along with me on my trip and for your wonderful comments. It was more fun because you all came along with me...

    Candi, I can see why Bill did a lot of golfing during his visits. From the little that I saw of some of them, they are very beautiful courses. I hope you and Bill get to Scotland in the near future. And if you go to the Highlands you can golf and hike. :)

    Thanks sis, M, and Candi for the welcome home wishes! What a great and fantastic trip. I miss Scotland already and was sad to leave but it is so wonderful to be back home too.

    I'll probably be back into the full swing of things with maybe one more good night's sleep. :) So I might have to miss this week's SSB but I will start up again next weekend and will catch up on the ingredients I missed in the next couple of weeks.

    Have a great weekend everyone!

  11. Dear Kathy, Your posts throughout the trip have been beautiful and so generous. Where did the time go? You planned so well and really were so faithful to all of us here. I don't know how you did it all. I hope someday to visit Scotland and will surely keep the notations you made on all the places not to miss. I know you will be reeling in the days ahead but I hope the memories of the trip will sustain you for years and years to come. Lovely entries all of them.

  12. And absolutely WONDERFUL post, Kathy! Made me wish to go right back again.
    Thanks so much for so generously sharing your experiences here.

  13. Kathy, welcome home!

    Such a wonderful trip - I know you will treasure the memories always.

    And we should thank YOU for letting us tag along with you in Scotland. It was great fun!

    I would love to see the Queen show. I love their music.

  14. Hi Barb, Deborah and Nancy, thanks so much for your kind comments.

    Barb, I'm so glad that you enjoyed my posts. It really was such a wonderful trip, and you are right I think I will remember my experiences there for the rest of my life.

    Deborah, I'm glad you enjoyed my posts. Like you, I would love to return to Scotland again too someday...thanks again for paving the way...

    Nancy, you should see the play if you are a Queen fan. I guarantee that you will be clapping and singing by the middle of the production. I was! :)

    Thanks so much everyone!

  15. Welcome home Kathy! I just had to comment on your new photo of the month -- I love that Highland Cow. Even if she reminds me of the Beatles in the '60s (those bangs -- very Ringo Starr!)

  16. Hi Sandra, thanks so much! LOL on on her bangs. I bet you still want to put a hair barret on her? :)

    Glad to be home again! Have a great evening!

  17. Hi Kathy, I too LOVE the "Ho Ho Ho" Highland Cow. I think the bangs make him look very dashing and mod.

    Hope you are recovering from jet lag and happy to be home!

  18. Hi Annie, yes I think the bang are their best feature :). Glad you like my photo of the month. I had other more Christmasy like photos then this one but I just had to choose this one so i added a christmas design. :)

    i pretty over my jetlag but I'm still getting up at 2:00 which iswhy I'm already at work at 6:39 am:)

    I am really happy to be back at home and catching up with everyone again. I realy missed everyone.

    Thanks So much Annie.hope you have a great day today.

  19. Hey, me again, I LOVE your photo of the month.

  20. Hi Candi, I'm glad that you like my Highland friend! :) It makes me smile everytime I open up my blog! Especially because It brings back memories of me standing in the rain trying hard to get him to pose! :)

  21. Excellent post for the end of your excellent trip. I was very worried that November was not going to be a good time to visit Scotland. Being in the North - it would be cold and wet. That was the glass half empty in me talking. But with your great positive fun loving attitude you had a wonderful trip.

    And I LOVE the red phone booth.

  22. Aloha Marta! I've been enjoying your posts and photos a lot. It sounds like you are having such a great time in paradise...

    It definitely wasn't glass empty thoughts, but trip preparation thoughts and ones I very much appreciated. I learned to accept when it did rain and made adjustments along the way. And because I was prepared, it definitely didn't stop me from just enjoying myself. In fact, you just gave me an idea for a possible blog and youtube post! :)

    Thanks so much for your comments and keep on having a wonderful time in Hawaii!

  23. Oh my stars!

    That is most beautiful and evocative post you have written! Oh my.

    It made me wish I had been there.

    What a fantastic trip!!!!

    And no - of ocurse, no comparisons.

    I had the best holiday ever once on a 10 day trip to Hawaii many years ago.

    And I had a ball this year with Alessandro spending 4 days up at our Gold Coast, here in Australia.

  24. Hi Leslie, thanks so much for your comments. You are too kind...

    That's so cool that memories of your trip to Hawaii are so special. Lucky Marta to be there right now!

    I'm so glad you had so much fun on the gold coast with Alessandro. One day I must get myself to Autralia because it sounds like such a great country!

    I've really enjoyed our posts from your recent trip to Italy too. Made me really miss Itlay this year. I'm thinking it's time for a trip back to Italy next year! :)

    Thanks again Leslie your kind comments and encouragements and wonderful example of an awesome blog for me to follow. Have a wonderful weekend and a very happy holidays!

  25. Sorry to be so late posting a comment, but reading about your Scotland trip was on my "to do" list and I finally got to it. Looks like you had a great trip. I too felt that mastering driving on the left made me more confident about travel in the UK. Thanks for your kind words about SlowTrav and SlowEurope. And it is great to see someone who loves the UK as much as I do.

  26. Hi Pauline, thank you for your comments and especially thank you for creating Slow Travel and Slow Europe. It really changed my life and improved my travel experiences a lot.

    I loved Scotland and I am a big fan of the UK and have been wanting to go back for a long time. I took advantage of the improved rates this year so I could be able to visit and I really loved my experiences. I hope to be able to get back again soon.

    I was very surprised at how fast I adjusted to driving on the left. I'm not sure how I would do in a busy city but once you get used to it, your instincts sort of take over and it begins to feel pretty normal after awhile.

    Thank you so much Pauline.


It's me Trekcapri (aka Kathy). Thanks so much for visiting and leaving a comment.