Wednesday, May 1, 2013

There have been few times when my fantasies, my vision of things not yet seen, are exceeded by the reality that rolls out in front of me.

Too much reading – too many childhood renditions of castles, hills (moors – even better!), heather in the mist, layers of earth, sky and sea in various shades of turquoise, purple and grey… all that I imagined Scotland to be.
Funny thing… turns out that the reason those images have been become cliché, is because they’re true!

From the moment our plane touched down that first day in Glasgow and we boarded a bus that would take us from the airport to our hotel in Oban… Scotland did NOT disappoint.

Even through the haze of a migraine and motion sickness from the flight from hell, the beauty of the country seeped into my weary bones.

Or maybe it was just a re-awakening of encoded DNA responding to being back in the homeland. (The collective unconsciousness of all those Scots-Irish ancestors of mine who emigrated from Scotland to Canada and down into Wisconsin… now tingling in recognition, like a body part that’s been asleep too long.)

The bus ride from Glasgow made its first stop in Inveraray – a village complete with a distillery (no, we didn’t sample; we were there to get rid of liquids, not add more – if you get my meaning!) and a cross stolen centuries ago from Iona by Clan McLean and brought inland as revenge.

That stop was my first inkling that no matter where you point a camera in Scotland, you can’t help but get a terrific picture.
The road took us past Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park,

through Scotland’s timber region. 
and even through a valley with three lochs (lakes) 
complete with its own charming history 
of being created 
by the footsteps of giants! 
Oban was our overnight stay – with an afternoon and evening in which to explore this charming city, proud of its Gaelic traditions.
Oban is located in the Firth of Lorn – although I have no earthly idea what a Firth actually is – the only Firth I’m interested in is Colin!
The lovely bay is nearly a perfect horseshoe, surrounded by the mountains of Morvan and Ardgour, with the long low islands of Lismore and Mull in the distance.
While some of our group went shopping, I opted for a solitary climb to the top of the city for a bird’s eye view from McCaig’s Tower.
Sunshine, walking and fresh air worked their magic – and by supper, I was infinitely better.
McCaigs Tower was erected between 1897 – 1902 by John McCaig both as a memorial monument to his family and as a way of providing work for stone masons during the long winter months; it's now a popular park although it was blissfully empty on my visit.
Wending my way back down to the hotel on crooked side streets resulted in a treasure trove of charming sights …

I was sorry this artist wasn’t in her studio 
or I suspect a print of her work might have come home with me.

I loved how she combined a unique feature of the town 
and captured the earth, sea and sky.
This image will have to do -
and I certainly can't argue about the price. 
After a 3 course meal 
and another brief walk 
along the street in front of the hotel, 
I was more than ready for sleep!
Thus endeth the first day! 

(Don’t worry; I won’t take you blow by blow through ALL my days… but I’ve never done a travelogue before and I’m trying to find the right pace!)

Besides, what else am I going to do with some of the 900+ pictures I took – if not show them to you?

YOU DO realize these posts cover 
the WHAT and the WHERE; 
the impact of all of it will come later – 
as soon as I finish processing it!

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