by Barbara Bettis
Like many people, I love to travel, although I don’t get to do it often enough. But one of my favorite trips a few years ago was to Scotland with overnights in London, coming and going. Our small tour group of five, including me, traveled by rail and did a lot of walking. The rail service is wonderful, but a little confusing for a first-timer. Fortunately. our leaders had visited Scotland many times and everything went smoothly.
Our base camp was Newbattle Abbey, a short distance from Edinburgh. It is absolutely beautiful. The abbey itself is breathtaking, but the grounds are even more magical. I loved roaming among the ancient trees, manicured gardens, and even a small cave across a tiny brook where the monks once kept things cool.
Unfortunately my own photos didn’t do it justice, so I’ve included a couple from the abbey’s website. If you’re planning a trip, I highly recommend it, if not for overnighting, at least for visiting. One of the attendants kindly showed me the only remaining part of the original structure, lengths of stone that are now parts of the flooring. Oh, and the abbey is not too far from Rosslyn Chapel and Rosslyn Castle.
I found everything on that first trip endlessly fascinating. It goes without saying that high on the list of fascinations were the castles. Of course, Edinburgh and Stirling castles with their history and treasures were great, but Linlithgow really caught my fancy. Although it fell victim to a fire in 1746 and is roofless, the rooms remain and tours are conducted. The Palace was the birthplace of James V and Mary Queen of Scots.
On that trip, we were able to see a variety of sights (and sites), but I long to return on my own, to explore to my heart’s content and take in more of the beautiful old castles. The list of must-sees is so long, I may be there for weeks on end.
The next journey, however, will be a longer one to England. All my medieval books are set around Nottingham, so I definitely want to tour that area. And in the interest of research, I must investigate the oldest inns in that city—apparently there are three which vye for that title: Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, Ye Olde Salutation Inn, and the Bell Inn.
Basically, though, I just want to explore and explore… And I welcome any suggestions on places to visit there!