A Travellerspoint blog

Isles of Scilly

Pronounced "Silly", I keep thinking this would have been a great Monty Python sketch. ... " and with our hidden cameras we can observe the inhabitants and see why these are called Scilly".

This is about 30 miles off of Land End in Cornwall. These islands have a total population of about 2100. Other than a sub tropical garden on Tresco, there is not a lot here. The seas were rough coming in and the winds were high. Believe it or not, most people treated this as a day at sea.

It was a relaxing day, they had a jazz brunch that was really nice to take it easy!

A little trivia [in case you dont come to the Isles of Scilly]. In 1651 the Netherlands [then Dutch Republic] declared war on Scilly. Not a shot was ever fired, but the 'conflict lasted 335 years, until 1986 when a treaty was signed!

BTW, in yesterday's msg I should have referred to the ceremony for naming a prince as 'inverstature' .... I hope that didn't put anyone off too much!

Denis

Posted by dgreening 18:47 Comments (0)

Croeso i Gymru! [hello from Wales]

We arrived in Holyhead ["Holly head"], the second largest city in N Wales. I think I saw the sun peak out at once today!

We visited Caenarfor castle, one of the forts erected by Edward I to try to contain the Welsh. It is still in remarkable condition. This is where Prince Charles was installed as the Prince of Wales [also where edward VIII (who left for Wallis Simpson) was installed]. This was also the site of a Roman fort many years earlier.

After Edward built the fort, the locals were not very happy with the English presence. When his so [Edward II] was born, he announced to the populace that he was installing a Prince that he thought would be to their liking. The new Prince didn't even speak a single word of English [of course he was an infant and didn't speak a single word of any language!].

While we drove around the area, we drove past the RAF base where Prince William and Kate live.

We also drove through the village with the longest name in the world. No, I did not writ it down, it was a name made up in the 1800s to attract tourists!

All is well.

Denis

Posted by dgreening 18:47 Comments (0)

Hello from Dublin

What an interesting city! This is a very young city [46% of the population is 26 or younger]. The IT boom that hit here 15 years ago brought a lot of young people back to Ireland from the states and other places. This boom was a miracle to the Irish economy. Of course the boom went away and they discovered that much of the money that had come into the country had been squandered by the Govt [sound familiar??] and now they are struggling again.

The country has such a long history of strife; this impacted all facets of life in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. It sounds like things are getting somewhat better. They don't talk about the warfare in N Ireland, it is referred to as "The Troubles".

We toured Dublin. We had a really funny lady serving as our guide. we visited the Cathedral, walked through the grounds of Trinity COllege. We didn't go back to the ship, so we had lunch at a local pub. Then JoAnne went shopping and I went to the library at Trinity COllege. This library has copies of everything published in the British Isles [comic books, Harry Potter ...]. The jewel of the library is the Book of Kells; an illuminated manuscript [of the 4 Gospels] prepared by Irish monks in 8th century. The exhibit discusses the materials and methods used to prepare these manuscripts. The pages are still beautiful after all these years. They have them under glass and turn only 1 page per day.

The weather turned sunny and it was a pleasant day to be outside. When we got back to the ship, people were running around in shorts and T-shirts. Our guide said that this sort of weather is bad for the economy, because everyone takes a holiday [whether it is legal or not!].

Tonight we leave Dublin at midnight to go to Wales.

Take care... Denis

Posted by dgreening 18:47 Comments (0)

Isle of Skye

yesterday we visited the beautiful Isle of Skye in Scotland's western islands. We visited Castle Dunvegan. This is the home of the McLoed clan and has been in their possession for about 800 years. The castle features the stories of the Chieftains from way, over that time there are some great stories and traditions [and at least one pretty bad guy!], The castle is still the residence of the current chieftain [number 30].

The Isle has marker stones similar to those we saw at Kirkwall, and lots of live stock. There are very few trees to be seen at the last few stops, the only real crops are for feeding animals or making Scotch!

We left Scotland last night and have travelled about 400 miles to Dublin [just pulled in about 5 PM]. We will be in Dublin until late tomorrow night.

SOrry for not checking in yesterday, we haven't had internet access for most of the last 24 hours.

Posted by dgreening 18:47 Comments (0)

Invergordon and Kirkwall

We travelled north fromEdinburgh to Invergordon, which is about 200 miles from Edinburgh. We toured Cawdor Castle. This is the castle that William Shakespeare wrote about in Hamlet [the actual Hamlet castle is somewhere else]. Much of this was built in the 17th and 18th centuries. Now the dowager countess lives there in the winter and opens it as a tourist attraction in the summer [very reasonable way to pay the upkeep on a castle with large gardens]. It was very delightful to tour the place, unlike many places, this is full of personal touches, which makes it that much more genuine feeling.

We left Cawdor and drove through the last battle grounds on British territory [Colloden??]. This was such a waste of life and in the aftermath of the battle the victorious British colonel, told his men to go look for Jacobites and do whatever they liked. about 1700 soldiers were killed in the [very short] battle, then about 3000 civilians were killed over the next 3 days! They reassigned the Colonel to a really remote outpost to get him out of public eye.

We drove through the city of Inverness, a picturesque little town.

last night we travelled further north in the Orkney's to Kirkwall. today we visited a Pict village [Skara Brae] from about 5000 years ago. It was amazing to see the state of the technology from that time, they built into the ground, had multiple with cooking and sleeping accommodations [even rudimentary flush toilets]. They figured out how to keep fish inside the house until they were ready to eat them and had a workshop for making pottery, arrow heads and tools]. This was all before the great Pyramids of Giza were built.

On the way back we stopped at the Ring of Brodgar, this looked a lot like a variation of Stone Henge and was also built about 5000 years ago. There are lots of archaeologic excavations going on around the area and you can see burial mounds and marker stones from ancient times.

The Orkneys ad a lot of Norse influence and still today, there is a very close tie between these people and the Norse and Danes.

Kirkwall is the largest town in the Orkney Islands, it is a nice little place to visit.

The people here are great! The other day I was walking back from the Edinburgh Castle and just stopped at a pub, sat outside and talked to some of the local people, wonderful. The only problem I've encountered is the language, 2 people separated by variants of English! The first night we were tired and wanted something quick and easy. We went to the pub near the hotel. The place was a little noisy, but the waitress' accent was hard for me to understand. So between the noise and the accent, I kept asking her to repeat answers to my questions [pretty sure she thought I was either deaf or retarded!].

Everywhere we've gone, the people show up with bag pipes. the other morning we were sleeping in and the bag pipes came blasting up from the pier! I must say that I am just about reaching my limit for bag pipes! There is one exception, as I was walking back from the Royal mile [Edinburgh castle to the palace], I walked through the gardens. There were 3 guys in their 20s playing outside for tips. By the time I arrived, there was a large crowd. There was a drummer, a guitar player and a piper - playing rock music! They had a really good sound, so that might be the way that I could come to appreciate the bag pipes!

I am trying to get some pictures attached to teh messgaes [having some technical difficulties].

Thanks to everyone for your thoughts and kind notes.

Take care ...

Denis

Posted by dgreening 18:47 Comments (0)

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