Subject: Laurie's UK travelogue Part 2
Part 2 of my sister's travelogue

Sunday May 18

Had a nice quiet day today. Went into Newton Stewart to look around and have a drink at a pub. Before that though Gary realized he left his inhaler in his car at the airport so called a doctor and we ended up waiting about 2 hours at the local hospital to get an inhaler. It was a tiny waiting room but it had good magazines.

We also had mid afternoon tea and scones to die for with strawberry jam, fresh warmed scones, with whipped cream and Earl Grey tea. YUMM. I made parmesan chicken for all of us for supper. They really loved that. Visited a bit as well and went for nature walks near cabin.

Monday May 19

Drove to Edinburgh today. It took about 2.5 to 3 hours. Again, gorgeous scenery.

On the way across the moor I saw three sheep on top of three rocks, exactly as olympic medal winners would be when they won first, second and third. It was hilarious! I did not have a film in my camera but it would have been a very funny picture. They were just standing there on each rock... first place sheep, second place sheep and third place. I could almost hear an anthem. Of course we differed on which anthem the first place would have been playing Right? Lol!

Before we even got to Edinburgh, we stopped into Edinburgh Crystal. It was beautiful to see all the intricate crystal. I got a Celtic ring there which was sterling silver and few souvenirs.

Reaching Edinburgh, we first got to Prince's Street which is quite modern according to the look of the interesting people who walked the streets and there is an awesome view of the castle. Took tons of pictures again. Then we went onto the Royal mile. What a contrast too, from modern day Prince's Street to the old Royal Mile.

We walked the Royal Mile, the oldest part of the city. It felt like I stepped back in time. That goes from Holyrood House where Royalty goes to Edinburgh Castle. On the way we took a tour of Mary King's Close which I found very interesting to say the least, walking into that deep dark part of the city that was all blocked up during the bubonic plague of 1645. The smell and the aura was very sad and disturbing. I found as soon as I walked in there I started to shake, not even sure why. I have a tendency to get auras or feelings about certain places or things. I can't even put words to it. but I wasn't scared. It was just...different. The tour was about an hour long maybe a bit more and very, very fascinating.

Mary King's Close history:

The castle was amazing and a lot bigger than I even realized. The history behind it is interesting and the view was even more fantastic from on top of the world, it felt like. After viewing this for a while, we headed off to supper in a pub. My feet and legs were absolutely killing me! Silly me not having the room to pack sneakers and wore flat shoes and that was my problem. I have walked miles in Disneyland in sneakers and yeah, got a bit of a sore back there but nothing like this. I was in torturous pain! I wasn't sure I could even walk back to the car. We did walk many miles that day which was very good for me for sure but after an awesome meal and a rest at this pub, my legs managed the rest of the way back. Barely.

Tuesday May 20

Today was a chill-out day as we were fairly sore from walking all day yesterday, and basically exhausted. Took walks through the woods and saw a few thumpers that basically we scared more than they scared us. Ok, I take that back. One jumped out of nowhere and my scream stuck in my throat! Visited Roger and Susan again and I cooked a chicken casserole too. This was the day we tried to do laundry but it didn't work. Hung thong underwear and other unmentionables and towels and whatever we had out on the deer skull and porch railing! hahah - looked kind of funny. I should have taken picture but I didn't think of it. Talk about hanging out your dirty laundry!

One thing we did do today was visit the ruins of an old abbey, GlenLuce Abbey. Just basically went for a drive down the other end of the moors and came upon this. It was beautiful! A lot of it was still there which made me think... how DID they destroy the abbeys? Probably cannon or something like that. Anyhow, to walk through the kitchen. and other areas that were labeled and knowing this was about 800 years old.! The ambiance was very serene especially when Gary and I went into the chapel where the architecture was amazing. And the acoustics!! We were alerted to these magnificent acoustics by the man in the little tourist shop there. He said there was no one there at the moment so let er rip! It was all echoey and angelic like as if every time you talked you could just hear an angelic choir from on high singing hehehe. At one point Gary was at the other side of the chapel and I was in another corner and I started to sing Amazing Grace. Gary joined in and with the acoustics and the harmonization-like sound we sort of made, both of us knowing only the first verse, well it was so beautiful it brought out goosebumps on my arms. When we finished that verse the sounds hung in the air. It was a really unique moment and very moving. Kinda wanted to start up with Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody then thought that would be cool but I could see others were starting to tour the abbey and thought. ooops, might scare them HAHAHA.

Glenluce Abbey:

This night we tried to have a chocolate fondue. Ok, we didn't have a fondue pot but usually melting chocolate in a double boiler thing works. Except it didn't, not really. It didn't melt smoothly and was starting to burn so had to turn it down. But it was turned down too far so we turned it up. Anyhow, it ended up looking like crap, literally though it TASTED GOOD I have to admit. but um. really didn't look so good!. So our chocolate fix was not satisfied really. But you can imagine the jokes!!

Wednesday May 21

Had to leave Scotland today. Sigh! Before we did though, we took a scenic route along the coast and stopped in a little place called Girvin. for lunch. Very windy day but the sun had broken out and it was warm. After lunch in a small cafe we just drove around the corner to see closer up the big island stuck out in the ocean, Ilsa Craig. Was quite impressive! It looked like an iceberg, it was soo high up from sea level, naw, looked like a dome really. I had gotten out of the car to take a few pics and the wind took my coat and skirt up over my hips. I could not get them down very well as I was holding my camera in one hand and was afraid I'd drop it and my purse in my other hand. The wind was just taking my skirt left, right and centre. I would get the coat down but only on half of me and the skirt was still way up. I turned to the side kinda screaming this high pitched frustrated scream and saw an old man in the car next to us laughing his butt off. I think I made his day. *blush*

Flew back to Stansted airport in nasty turbulence, the worst I had ever been through. I felt if this goes on much longer I am gonna puke! Just when Gary got his drink of Diet Coke we hit the turbulence and he had to hold his hand over the can, because believe me it would have been all over the ceiling!!

Decided to go to Moby Dick for supper. It is a carvery type restaurant. We would call it a buffet here. There was roast turkey and beef and ham to be carved up. It wasn't an All you can eat type restaurant but the meal was EXCELLENT and we finally had our fondue! It was awesome! The grapes didn't seem to quite suit it but the strawberries and the terrific marshmallows and even waffles were wonderful! Oh it was to die for! Just needed cherries I thought. Gary's best friend Paul came by for a 3 hour visit. It was a laugh and a half. Another terrific person.

Thursday May 22

This was the day Gary and I went to London. Ann had to work but even so she had been there done that kind of thing but I think she would have gone if she could have.

This was such a wonderful day! The weather was a bit iffy but got better over time.

We took the above ground train at Chadwell Heath which is a 5 min. walk from their house and then took the tube to Tower Bridge. I have always loved the Tower bridge and only went over it in a tour bus before but this time we actually went up in it and saw the gorgeous view of the Thames River. More pics later, *rolling my eyes* I wonder how many film's I've used now?

Went over to Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus, great bustling metropolis areas and lots going on. We had a caricature done which was quite funny but well done and then just continued to look around that area of London. Wrestled with the idea of seeing a show like a Phantom of the Opera but decided, naw, too much to see really. We didn't want to be stuck indoors on such a beautiful day.

Had lunch and walked the Thames River front a bit and saw a few swans. I wondered where the hell they came from really?? Then a nasty thunderstorm hit really quick and down poured, just like in Florida but it passed within a half hour and we continued, off to find a tube to get to the London Eye, the Millenium wheel. It had these pods things and I felt very safe and secure. It slowly went up, took about a half hour for the whole ride and the view was fantastic! I got bunch of pictures in between the raindrops but what a beautiful way to see London really.

One of the nicest things was strolling the Thames River walkway on the South Bank. It was a really sunny day at that point, lots of people. We stopped for a Red Bull break because my feet were killing me. It was just SO peaceful and nice. No worries, no work, no jobs/housework/stress, Just total relaxation and listening to a few street musicians, a fiddler and a classical guitarist. playing beautifully under a bridge.

We walked the millenium bridge over to St. Paul's Cathedral where Princess Di got married. I was in that before, and it is just as impressive as it was 4 years ago. We continued onto the tube to go back to Tower Bridge and have supper then back to the tube. Now at this point I was in more pain than in Edinburgh. Gary's back was bothering him too at one point the up escalator was not working so believe me when I say we had to walk up an infinite number of escalator stairs and these were practically vertical. I was damn near dead and out of breath, when I got to the top. And THEN more and more and more damn stairs to go up from this platform to that platform. ARGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

By the time we got back to their home we were both knackered! I laid down at 8:30 and slept for an hour then was up the rest of the night late talking and chatting. Only got about 3 hours sleep until I had to get to the airport the next day.

What normally would have taken an hour to drive to Heathrow took 2 because of Friday morning traffic. Next time maybe I try to fly into Gatwick.

Ok I think that is about it for this trip. Next installment. . .Spring 2003!!!!


Posted by Diane Johnston Travelogue and a few photos