Monday night’s hotel was something out of a fairy tale. A huge, old building at the edge of the highlands, full of tartan plaids, wool, historic art and weaponry.
The pub was cozy and cute, and the huge dining hall was amazing as were the meals served there! Tuesday was a day of travel as we moved up into the highlands of Scotland. The scenery all along the way was spectacular. Perhaps our favorite part of the day was a “wee walk” through the forest to begin the day. Our wonderful driver is quite the hiker and he took us to a place of waterfalls and beautiful forest floors. The sights and sounds and smells and sheer wonder of this place reminded of words from How Great Thou Art. “When through the woods and forest glades I wander ...” The waterfalls were magnificent. It was a perfect way to begin the day. We continued to travel through the highlands, visiting various sites along the way. At one stop, the National flower, the thistle, was captured with a butterfly resting happily. We arrived in Edinburgh Tuesday evening delighted by a full day’s journey.
Wednesday has been a day of walking.
A trek up the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle and tour there (up even higher as the castle is built on the rock left from an extinct volcano) was followed by coming back down from the castle and stopping at various landmarks along the way. With apologies to our Presbyterian friends, John Knox was not an especially great guy, but he did help the Protestant Church grow in Scotland and a house he lived in, is very near our hotel.
The Scottish words can be a little tricky, but if you look carefully you’ll notice the reminder printed around the trim of the house to love God and neighbor as ourselves.
Also on the agenda today was a tour of Holyrood Palace, the official residence of the Royal family in Scotland. Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to James VI there, also known as James I of England who came into rule in England after Queen Elizabeth I died with no child of her own to name as heir. He’s probably most known to Christians as the one who ordered a translation of the Bible many of us over the age of 50 grew up with...the King James Version. Tomorrow our bus and driver are back with us and we head to St. Andrews for our final day together.