|Subject: Special locations in the UK|
Dear Faith and Craig,
In Scotland, don't let your trip go by without taking the ferry to the Orkney Islands. They are desolate, with just a couple of small fishing villages and farms scattered around. The land is windswept and untouched by humans it feels like when you get outside the settled areas. You can take a tour for a small fee to see the Standing Stones of Stenness, Maeshowe (a tomb of some sort with tremendous Viking runes), and Skara Brae, one of Europe's oldest cities (dated at about 5,000 B.C. if I remember correctly).
Also, a trip to the Isle of Skye is quite nice -- be sure to take the ferry, not the bridge. There's not much there, but the landscape is astounding, and I would love to go back and actually backpack the island later.
Canterbury Cathedral is amazing -- a worthy pilgrimage site. The windows and architecture are spellbinding. Durham is a charming college town...I can understand how Durham, NC can be compared to it, just based off of all the colleges there. The cathedral there is massive and I was surprised to stumble upon Venerable Bede's tomb there as well.
I loved going to Cornwall and Land's End. Sure, Land's End is the perfect tourist location, but I enojoyed it immensely. It was even better that there we next to no tourists there the day we went which was surprising, considering we were there in July. The cliffs are marked with Warning, Dangerous Cliffs signs, but youi are not forbidden from climbing on the cliffs. You just do so at your own risk. I have some breathtaking pictures from Land's End. Perhaps one day I can scan them into my computer and set up a web page with them.
Scotland is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever seen. The mountains are rocky, with plush green grass and sheep grazing all over them. Small rivers and streams cut through the rocks and plains creating a most tranquil scene, especially from a seat in a train. The most beautiful stretch of track I saw in Scotland was from Glasgow to Fort William. The most striking thing I noticed (besides the landscape and wonderful accents), was the similarities we noticed between Scotland and its people and the South. The people are so incredibly warm and friendly (we got mixed up on a train and got off at the wrong station one night -- no less than three people offered to take us to the correct station on their way home so that we could make the connection that night). The food is rather similar too...especially breakfast. I felt like I was sitting down to my Mom's table on a Sunday morning -- except we didn't have any grits in Scotland :-P