This was a week ago at the start of my Outer Hebrides adventure. I'm still in the Outer Hebrides wending my way North covering a lot of ground in a short time meeting some of the friendliest people and seeing some of the most wondrous Machair. The Machair is unique to the Outer Hebrides and is absolutely stunning. That is the reason why I'm here. There are fields and fields of Machair everywhere. There are wild flowers everywhere and beautiful scenery, beaches, rock outcrops and wild life. This was taken at Barra airport a week ago.
This was my hostel yesterday, at first sight, a very dismal and dumpy place but I had the best time here. I stayed a night here. I was alone, then I was joined by Steve, a bicyclist and mush later Alan, another bicyclist. All three of us talked the night away. I didn't know Howmore was so small. It had no shops, cafes or anything. I had a bar of chocolate with me. I told myself, half of it is for lunch and the other half for dinner. But when Steve arrived, he boiled some pasta left over by another party and there was half a can of canned tomatoes left in the fridge. With that I made a sauce and had enough for lunch and dinner. This trip was all about serendipity. The hostel was right smack in the middle of a mach air and I had the best time of my life living on such minimal of things. There was of course no Internet and I was off the grid for 24 hours.
Home is Southern California, home is Los Angeles, home is Hollywood, home is the Pacific ocean! While I love to be home, I love to wander also. I'm going wandering in a few days and be away for a few weeks. But I can't wait to get home and to entertain again. I wander the whole world over looking for wild flowers and going next week to do exactly that, look for wild flowers. In March this year, I didn't have to wander far, just 30 miles away, to the hills and to this magical canyon which was ablaze with the wondrous sight ever, wild flowers everywhere in them hills. I've never seen Southern California so glorious. I love you, California!
While everyone in my dorm were still sleeping, I'm out and about at 6.30am and am heading for the train station at Paddington. I'm on the 8.15am train to Swindon and right on time the train pulls out of Paddington station. I spot the spirea in bloom. Emma Bridgewater wrote in a recent book that the best way to see wild flowers in England is from a moving car or in my case from a moving train. We passed the numerous varieties of wild flower species that dot the sides of the motorway or train tracks. I'm in England on the trail of snakehead fritillaries. What? I know, I know, few people have even heard of them. While roses and peonies are in such abundance, the habitat of snakehead fritillaries is already very limited and is getting smaller. They like their feet kind of wet so a marshy field is ideal. There are only a few areas where they are found in any large quantities. Magdalen field in Oxford is one and the other is Cricklade's North meadow. So I'm on my way to Cricklade. Upon arrival at Swindon, I went to the bus station and boarded a bus for Cricklade. No one knew what I was looking for but the tourism office in Cricklade knew and pointed the way to North meadow. Cricklade is so small, there is only one street and if you walked it to the end, you can't miss North meadow. The display of snakehead fritillaries was spectacular, a wide and expansive field colored purple with snakehead fritillaries. This is the motherlode! Every year in the month of April, they appear and is so magnificent. Few people venture this far to see them but those who do is rewarded tremendously. Mind you I live in Los Angeles and made the effort to track them down. It was a wonderful experience bar none!
I traveled for 3 months in Scandinavia in the summer of 2015. Something had just happened in my life that left me devastated. I was fired from a job I had for some 30 years. My license was placed on probation. Its easier to talk about it now but not at that time. I could not speak about it without breaking down. I've never revealed this publicly though family and close friends all know about it. Not that it has any bearing on my travels. Correction, it does, I had time on my hands and I could just go and stop only when I felt like it. I did, going all over Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and also to England. I wasn't sure how my finances could hold up but after 2 years of the incident (I never went back to work, I didn't need to) and after seeing that my finances was fine and I could weather being unemployed for the rest of my life, did I relax and enjoy my freedom. The 3 months was very liberating, very cathartic, I regained my self respect and could face any challenge thrown at me. Today I just sit, read, write and plan future escapes. Be watching for future escapes.
I spent 3 months in the summer of 2015 in Scandinavia. One of my most favorite places is Christiania in Copenhagen, a little hippie community that is so lovely in summer. I went here twice because it was that lovely. I'd go again if I'm in Copenhagen again!