Monday August 11 ~ Road trip in the Scottish countryside!
Now you might think that was a strange title for a post, and wonder why I was so excited about it. But after being away from home for several months now, and being totally dependent upon local and hired transportation, and being just the two of us you may begin to understand why today was such a treat for us.
As much as I love Tim’s company (and I DO love his company, even 24/7), there is still a hole in our lives that can only be filled by sharing moments with friends and family.
We met Lise and Charlie on a Danube River cruise earlier this year. I was unintentionally eavesdropping and overheard Charlie telling another passenger that he and his wife were traveling the world for the entire year. My ears perked up and I knew that I had to meet this couple that were also following their dreams.
It did not take long before our paths crossed and we had a chance to sit down and talk further about our trip. The obvious questions, “Where are you from?” What countries have you already visited?” and “Where are you going next?” filled the first few minutes.
It turns out that they too are from California and our mutual love of travel and adventure gave us much in common. As our Danube River cruise came to an end, we exchanged emails and blog information. We headed off toward another Gate 1 Tour and they turned south toward Italy.
If you are interested in checking out their travel blog, you can find it here.
Not long ago, Lise let me know that our time in Edinburgh would overlap and we decided to get together. Via emails we settled on a time and place to meet up for lunch and to join them for an afternoon of sightseeing.
They have rented a car and have been driving the length of England and now Scotland. How brave to drive on the opposite side of the road (left) and also use the other hand than we are used to, to shift with (also the left).
With Tim’s challenge to stay focused, we decided that this was one adventure we might wish to leave to others – both for our safety and for anyone else on the road at that particular time and place!
How fun it was to see them drive up in a bright yellow miniature Fiat 500. Rental cars seem to be priced by poundage and size, so smaller is not only easier to manipulate down the narrow lanes throughout the countryside, but more economical to rent as well.
After lunch at the Holyrood Palace cafe, all four of us piled into the car for an hours drive through the countryside for our visit to Mellerstain House and Gardens.
Since photography was not permitted inside, I had to be satisfied with a few pictures taken from outside and of the exquisite grounds.
One of the highlights of touring the manor house was having Ford, one of the guides, give us a private explanation of some of the style and noteworthy things we were seeing. The ceilings were of particular interest. Oh how I wish designing and constructing elaborate ceilings was in vogue for us in the states. Here is a picture that I borrowed from the Internet to give you an idea of how lovely the rooms were. From that link, you can arrow through their pictures to see more of the interior.
Sadly our plain, unimaginative, white, boring room toppings back home are quite lacking compared to the amazing variety we have had the privilege of viewing while on this trip.
Knowing that I was keen on taking a picture of the grounds from an elevated position, Ford arranged for another of the guides to kindly open a window for me to shoot from on the third floor.
And another picture taken from down below.
After a delightful afternoon, Charlie expertly steered the small vehicle safely back to Edinburgh where we said our goodbyes already having made tentative plans to meet up again – this time back in the states.
Gratitude Moment: Today I am grateful for the wonderful day we had with our new friends. How enormous this world seems some days, and how very small the next. Both couples living in California, meet on the Danube River and reconnect in Edinburgh Scotland. I love how travel is enhancing our lives and broadening our circle of friends.