As one visitor described it as 'a medieval Pompeii' it was once a thriving city with numerous churches, city walls, and castles. Today only the ruins remain and before they were cleaned up and restored, they were covered with ivy that draped over everyone and made it look totally spooky. The Caetani family because of their connection with the Pope was able to acquire the whole village and turned into their country estate which they restored to the dazzling beauty that it is today. Being dubbed, 'the most romantic garden in the world' it certainly behooves us to visit it at least once in a lifetime.
The garden of Ninfa, just outside of Rome is known as the most romantic garden in the world. I had the joy of visiting it this las April and it is truly marvelous. There's not another garden like it even as I just uploaded my ebook on the garden and its history. Check it out on Amazon Kindle.
The brambles are early this year. They usually don't ripen till mid to late August. The long lane leading up from the main road to the entrance at Scotney castle was lined with brambles. The walk to the entrance was done with another English couple so while we did a little picking we chatted most of the time. I did a lot more foraging on the way back to the main road where the bus dropped us off. I dawdled, picked and ate. It was a childhood dream of mine living in a British colony and reading books about life in England. I must have been 6 when I read this English reader about a little girl and boy who went out picking blackberries with their grandfather. The grandfather used the crook of his cane to reach those blackberries high above their heads. That story has stayed with me for 60 years and I've always wanted to do that. The past years have seen me do a little foraging but not to the extent I did this trip. This memory will stay with me for a very long time.
Trust me, this photo wasn't photo shopped even though it looked like it. For a while now I've seen the evocative pictures of Scotney castle and have it on my iPhone to remind me that I need to visit. Its so easy these days, just google anything and the instructions on how to get there pops up. So armed with the information off I went that morning in London. The train from Charing Cross station took me to Tunbridge Wells. At Tunbridge Wells High street, bus 256 will take me to Lamberhurst and from there a long walk (20 minutes) will lead me to the front entrance of Scotney castle. This is the old castle, 630 years old which the owner has let become a ruin turning it into a romantic folly. The residence is up the hill and was built in 1837. There is a massive moat that surrounds this old castle. I walked its whole perimeter taking pictures from every angle. She doesn't have any bad side at all. She's beautiful and so evocative. If you happen to be in London on days that Scotney castle is opened, make the effort to visit.
I was on a quest, in search of the Machair, those flowery meadows of the Outer Hebrides. I found more, I found those beautiful white sand beaches and icy blue ocean waters that are the beaches of the Outer Hebrides. The Outer Hebrides are those far western island chain of Scotland that borders the Atlantic ocean on one side. It is the Atlantic ocean side that has these kinds of beaches. They are so evocative and exceedingly beautiful. I just came back and already making plans to return.
My Hebridean adventure ends on the Isle of Skye. The Isle of Skye is considered part of the Inner Hebrides. It is also known as the garden of the Hebrides. It is filled with wild flowers that line the roadside and also unused fields. It lacks the drama of the Machair of the Outer Hebrides but is not any less delightful. Portree, the capital of Skye sees a lot of visitors, a lot of Asian visitors. Most visitors to Scotland, besides visiting the biggies like Glasgow and Edinburgh, also visits Inverness, Loch Ness and Skye. So accommodation is really tight in Portree. I'm staying 3 nights, each night in a different place. Last night was at a B&B outside of town. Tonight I'm staying in this 200 year old mansion. Tomorrow I'll be moving to a hostel downtown. That will signal the end of this trip, as I return home to complete the ebook on the Hebrides, both Inner and Outer! I love the wildness of the Outer Hebrides and I find nothing in the city that could compare to it. I see a field of beautiful purple thistles and I want to run through it. Of course that's not advisable, I'll get pricked in the bottom before I could get very far. Its been amazing! Its hard to top this!
This is my last stop, Stornoway, in the Outer Hebrides. I'm leaving from Tarbert tomorrow, taking the bus there and then a ferry will take me to the Isle of Skye. Getting accommodations in Skye was a nightmare. I spent most of yesterday making my onward arrangements but I did 2 places to stay in Skye, one for 2 nights and the other for the 3rd night. It is very expensive too if you can find any rooms. I've been told Skye is very beautiful. I shall miss all the wild flowers. It was planned a year ago to be here in July to see the beautiful wild flower fields called Machair. Its going to be a book on the Hebrides. I was at the Inner Hebrides last year. I want to come back. It is so beautiful and unspoiled and the people are so nice.