Beyond the Great Glen

March 28, 2018

– Scotland Expedition –

Part 2/2

 

Kyle of Lochalsh is where this next chapter starts.

In the tip of that snipped coastline, where the sea meets the midst of the mountains we ventured towards the ocean. Red Moon Cruise was a dainty little vessel turned into a small cruise with a story of its own. Handmade in late 1945 in the south of England, initially designed as a warship is now a nook of all things delightful.

My little cushy room, with a porthole to the dancing waters of the Scottish Fiords, was an atonement for the soul. From there I saw the cruise take us to the sea of Skye, embrace me in those cozy starry nights and kindle my days with a morning soft light.

 

 

On the upper deck, we toasted the days away with the lovely crew Scott and Mary, over a selection of whiskey and amazing curated local cuisine. Talked about life and politics, laughed over weird expressions and discussed new routes for the following days. At night in the bow, as the wind chilled the bones, I could pinpoint the constellations and imagine all the dreams fulfilled in that twilight.

I took the ship now and then, with the captain’s oversight, and sailed away into the dramatic views of the Islands. We encountered orcas, seals, and eagles, and even manage to find time to visited ashore on a nearby island, just to admire from afar that rolling abode painted in white and red.

It’s insane how life tricks us, narrowing the hours and days, rapidly ending this state of bliss we encountered ourselves in, aboard that small family ship. It’s a monumental expression of freedom, which rapidly became one of the best experiences of this already amazing expedition.

 

 

From then, the north was the only way ahead. We picked up the car once again and dive into the Assynt. Here the land is bare and the civilization scanty and scattered for miles on end. The sheep and hairy cows where now the usual traffic in the highest road of England, and the stags crying out, the music that cradled the air.

The landscape profiled the outline of mountains in a theatrical scenario, and the dramatic fog portrait views one can only dream of. The hours passed in narrow provincial streets, crossing ridges and waterfalls, plains without horizon and cliffs where the sun hid.

We passed Ullapool and found haven in the Summer Isles, in a forlorn part of the land.

It was nice to be in a cottage for a change, with that iron stove drying our shoes after a rainy day. I took my time to read my newly acquired books in Mallaig, that are today, amongst one of my favorites. Winded myself in a typical Scottish blanket, and embraced cheerful dreams and tails of the Highlands.

 

 

When the road couldn’t afford to take us further north, the south was the only way.

A short passage through Inverness, the capital of the Highlands, and then through the Cairngorms National Park to Perth and St. Andrews – that undoubtedly deserves a visit.

Heretofore, the ease of the Highlands was replaced by the hub of city life, with nice pubs and cozy steakhouses. I can’t say I loved the feeling. I’m forever drawn to the wild, to the untouched, where the rivers run copiously throughout the land and the people are born in Gaelic songs.

 

 

Nevertheless, the expedition brought us to Edinburg, our last stop.

Full of history, and splendid views of the castle, Edinburg is made of narrow streets, medieval facades, whiskey, and gin.
The hill glances into the city center and casts a shadow over the monumental town. Divided by an inexistent river, the two shores compete between one another, in style and past. It was the perfect ending to this expedition, slowly taking us back to reality. We spend the next few days, wandering in those streets, visiting antique shops and diving into the culinary scene.

By the time I’m writing this, some months have passed. Some new adventures have been born, and yet, Scotland. If I could go back I would. It’s like my favorite painting, my most possessed treasure, one that I can’t help to smile whenever I think of it.

I still, ever so often, visit that little corner at my parent’s house, to see if the book spine changed colors. If there was an added volume to that small collection of wonders. Who knows what new chapters it may hold. I’m hoping for good ones, ones such as Scotland.

Till then, Soraidh Alba.

 

Explore

  • Oban
  • Glencoe
  • Isle of Mull
  • Skye
  • Torridon
  • Glen Shiel
  • Summer Isles
  • Ullapool
  • Assynt
  • Inverness
  • St. Andrews
  • Perth
  • Edinburgh

Visit

  • Glenfinnan Viaduct (be there a little before 11 am and 3 pm between April and October to see the Jacobite steaming train)
  • Dalwhinnie Distillery
  • Talisker Distillery
  • Fairy Pools
  • The Storr
  • Neist Point
  • Castle Fraser
  • Eileen Donan Castle
  • Donnotter Castle
  • Scone Palace
  • Edinburgh Castle

Travel

  • North Coast 500
  • A87
  • A830
  • A82
  • Pass of the Cattle

Stay

Shop

  • Skye Soap Co.
  • Caramel Fudge Sweets
  • Gin and Whiskey
  • Wool Blankets and Tweed Garments
  • Old books
  • Antiques

Into the Highlands

February 15, 2018

 – Scotland Expedition –

Part 1/2 

 

I remember years ago, sitting on the floor at my parents’ library room and running my fingers through the pages of that travel book. Somehow it always appeared as a favorite of mine, one of a few lost in that myriad of fantasies prone to happen whenever I found myself in that section. It was always a dream, a dream, that both me, my dad and mom shared. Sadly, life got in the way, presented me with loss and alas new ventures into the unknown.

It took me 10 years, since that edition, to embrace the idea of Scotland.

It was on a rainy afternoon, over a cup of coffee that I didn’t drink, that all the bitter-sweetness attached was replaced by the thrilling thought of it and a true journey into the Highlands was born. Bound to be an ensemble of all those imagined reveries, all those years of accumulated stories and references that grows unapologetic in a little girls head. This Scotland expedition was in the making of becoming one of the most glorious experiences that I’ve ever been part of, and I was decisive in making it so.

The plan was clear, we would start in Glasgow, and travel north, to the northern part we could reach. It would be a journey of land, air, and sea, of mountains and prairies, of orcas and dears. I would become a captain, a lady of a manor, an explorer of barren lands and finally, a city dweller in Edinburg. All of that in 10 days. And it was one of the best.

 

 

Forget what you are told about the best time to go, Scotland is a beauty whenever you find yourself. From the wintery cold months of December to the long and glory days of June, I believe you’ll find it different, but with an undeniable charm throughout the year.

Autumn is my favorite season of all, with all those brown and green hues coming to live. That was reason alone for grabbing up my passport in those early days of October.

Picked up a car in Glasgow airport, and headed north. Debated with the wrong side of the road for far too long, before embodying the spirit of Scotland. The people are surprisingly gentle and warm. Their good manners have no parallel while you are struggling to find your best driving skills in a one-way road on a rainy afternoon of all things.

But the views. No words.

The Glengarry castle was a sight in a meadow overseeing the lake. Neighboring local sheep and uncharted woods, it’s the epitome of the Scottish look of what a manor should be like. A crackling fire and a hot cocoa expected us in the library room and welcomed us to what life in the Highlands is about.

 

 

The days were spent roaming the boat on the lake, exploring uncharted roads and forests, taming the midst and the shy drops of rain that from now and then appeared to wash away the longing of home and bound us to the land.

From there, we picked the A87 all the way to Kyle of Lochalsh. Heaven was born on that road, and a part of me was awakened by the beauty of it. It’s one of those memories that are forever enshrined in the back of my mind, that makes me love life. Being there in that ethereal moody weather could make an unfathomable man cry, let alone I.

At the harbor our next adventure awaited.

 

 

Christmas Gift Guide

December 19, 2017

 – 2017 Edition –

 

I had a whole different thing planned this year, but somewhere along the way, I got lost in errands and last minute crisis – what is a full Christmas without one, hum? Alas, I couldn’t help to share with you my Christmas bundle for this holidays.

It has become sort of a tradition, a tradition that I intend on keeping, for as long as this blog lives. Now that I think about it, it’s been 5 years since I brought him to light. It hasn’t seen much activity, but it has grown, slowly, just as I am. It has narrowed its depth and taken accustomed to its quirkiness. I Have come to realize, that as soon as the year approaches, I’m leaning more and more into what this year has meant for me. It has, without a doubt met such lows as highs, but I’m glad that those highs have met part of its form here.

These Christmas gifts are somewhat a collection of my personality because I’m all of the below, I’m the everlasting traveler expedition as well as a kitchen and home roamer, and above all, I prefer to do it with style, even when no one is watching. So, without further ado, let’s have it.

Merry Christmas Everyone.

 

 
1. Duffle bag, from Highland Store . get it here   |   2. Copper Flask, from W&P Design . get it here   |  3. Leather Blanket Carrier, from Pendleton . get it here   |  4. Thornproof dressing, from Barbour . get it here   |  5. Carry On Cocktail Kit, from W&P Design . get it here   |  6. Pencil and Pen case, from Sonium Leather . get it here    |    7. Shower Gel and Body Lotion – Rose 31, from Le Labo . get it here | 8. Wall Hanging Nantai, from Wednesday Weaving . get it here | 9. Natural soap and Washcloth, from Right Soap . get it here  | 10. Pack with sonoma salt, three garnishing salts and olive oil, from Ila . get it here   |  11. Lomelino’s Pies, from Amazon . get it here   |   12. Cast Iron Oval Cocotte, from Staub . get it here    13. Mosebacke Khaki Green, from Stutterheim Raincoats . get it here  |  14.  Lulu Crystal Giraffe, from Komono . get it here    15. Lila – Adjustavle Box Style Leather Backpack and Handbag, from Beara Beara . get it here     16. Classic Cuff, from Daniel Wellington check their website  here  for a special offer and an additional 15% discount using the code GOODOLD  |  17. Grey Sport Shoes, from Pallas . get it here

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