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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fifty Shades of Green

My "bug" has struck again.

Two weeks ago, some friends and I took a trip to Scotland and Ireland.  It was billed as a Taste of Scotland and Ireland.  And it was.

We arrived in Glasgow in the morning and the next day we were off on a tour of the Scottish Highlands with a view of Loch Lomond and a cruise on Loch Ness.

I tried, but I never saw "Nessie". 

The Highlands are beautiful.  The area is very rugged and hilly.  We saw many sheep grazing on the hills, but our guide said that their wool was too coarse to be used for anything but mattress stuffing.

We spent a day in Edinburgh and visited the castle.  It's quite impressive and in very good shape.

I thought this shot would  give the impression of a good mystery story.

We stopped in Belfast at the Titanic museum.  Luckily, we got there before this violin and its case were taken and put up for auction.  I just heard that someone paid 1.5 million for it.  It is the violin of one of the orchestra members who played.  As the ship was going down, he put his violin in its case, strapped it to his body and then went down with the ship.  His body was found a week or so later with the violin.

We stopped at Blarney Castle and no, I didn't kiss the stone.  As soon as I heard what was involved, I decided that wasn't for me.  First you had to walk up 80 uneven stone steps, then you would lay on your back while two people held your feet and legs, then you would slide to the stone.  If you can see the hole in the next picture, you can see where the stone is.  Some of the people on the tour were brave enough to do it.

 We spent a lot of time just driving around the country.  Our tour guide/driver was wonderful.  He knew all the history of the area and included some humor in his stories.  That made it all the more interesting.

The area is as green as everyone says, and there are many shades - at least 50.

We had a medieval dinner in a castle.  I've always wanted to visit a castle.  I'm very happy that I saw so many castles in various conditions.  Some of the hotels where we stayed were old estates that had been turned into hotels.

 It was truly a taste of those countries and I saw many places that I would love to see again.  If I were younger, I'd love to go back.   It would be a perfect road trip if only they didn't drive on the wrong side of the road.

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