The scenic route or the road less traveled. I took the scenic road this morning. I took the train to Saundersfoot this morning. The train station at Saundersfoot is a mile away from the village, a seaside resort, a smaller version of Tenby. I passed some lovely wildflower meadows and this tunnel of trees. It is a poor imitation of the Dark Hedges but still as beautiful. Saundersfoot is a sweet little seaside resort and is on the Pembrokeshire trail.
I arrived in Tenby yesterday, took the train from Swansea. Tenby is a sweet little resort town. In the daytime, the day trippers fill the streets. At night it is quiet and deserted. I also took the boat over to Caldey island which still has an active Cistercian monastery community. It is a small island where in Spring, seabirds breed here. From the highest point on the island, one can see the sea all around, it is that small. It was a very pleasant outing, long hikes and walks through bluebells in the woods.
At the very end of Gower peninsula is a little village called Rhossili where a little island sits. The island is called worm's head, an incorrect translation of the Welsh 'WURM' which means dragon. Here are found many varieties of birds who use this remote place to breed in the Spring. It makes for a lovely hike along the coast and down to the beach.
Clyne gardens is famous for its Azaleas and Rhododendrons which is in full bloom right now. It is a 20 hectares garden replete with castle. One cannot go anywhere in Wales without bumping into a castle. Clyne castle is a private residence and entry is not permitted. The garden surrounds the castle and is free for the public to meander and wander around. It is an incredibly beautiful garden with woodlands and streams also. The woodland walks are covered at this time of the year with bluebells. What a treat to just walk everywhere in it to enjoy the trees, flowers and other plants. The dogs loved it too, they can run all over with such reckless abandon. The weather today was so lovely. Wales and England are warming up!
I'm still traveling. I'm leaving soon for Swansea, Wales, checking out of my room in Cardiff. A funny thing happened yesterday morning as I was walking towards Cardiff bay. A young fellow on a bicycle stopped me and asked if I remember him. 'Are you talking to me?' Yes, he said and continued 'Greece.' Where in Greece? Delphi! OMG, yes of course! That morning in Delphi, there were 3 of us taking the bus heading towards Kalambaka/Meteora. There was me, him and another guy and we had to change buses 3 times, Delphi to Amfissa, Lamia and Trikala before finally ending in Kalambaka. Here we split up, he and the other guy went to one hotel and I to another. Fancy bumping into him, he was on his way to work. Until a week ago I had no plan to come to Wales.
I left the Outer Hebrides 2 days ago and was in Glasgow for a night. I left Glasgow yesterday and came to Cardiff to traipse through South Wales. It was a full day for me today. The weather is so lovely compared to the Highlands of Scotland. Well, I ate a lot of Welsh cakes already and probably will eat much more before the trip is up. I love the food scene in Cardiff. It is a very understated city.
It is too early, 4-6 weeks too early! I have left the Outer Hebrides, left on the ferry this morning and am chilling out in Portree, the capital of the Isle of Skye. I am going back to Glasgow tomorrow and then onto Wales to see if I can find anything interesting there. But I will come back to the Outer Hebrides next July. I will fix my itinerary early and get all my rooms booked. The Outer Hebrides is getting very busy. It is small and is easily inundated. So if you have any plans to visit, get my eBook 'The Hebrides' and make your plans early. The Machair blooms in late June onwards, July being the best month. Now everyone is going there in July and if there are no rooms available, bring a tent and a sleeping bag. Wild camping is allowed!
Finally I'm here. It took some juggling with buses and ferries to finally get this far. However it is way too early for the Machair. I will stay 2 more days then return to Glasgow and head South to Wales. But I will return next year at the right time. The Hebrides, part 2 will be delayed till 2019.
I took the train to Berwick upon Tweed this morning. It is a seaside market town a half hour by train away in the South East corner and in England at the English/Scottish border. It was just a sleepy little seaside town. I hung around for a few hours, had coffee and a fruit scone and left on the next train back to Edinburgh. This is my last day in Edinburgh and I am sad to leave. I've become quite attached to Edinburgh. I'm leaving to go to Glasgow for a few days as my adventure continues.
Abbotsford was the home of Scotland's premier author, Sir Walter Scott. Even as he travel around Europe, he always come home to Abbotsford to write. It was an hour by train fro Edinburgh to Tweedbank, the village closest to the property. Sometimes a volunteer would drive a shuttle to pick up visitors and send them back to the train station but not today, the day that I went. Today I had to walk an half hour to and from the property. It was a nice walk, it being a cloudy day and not hot at all. The property sits by the bank of the Tweed river and can be seen from the property at the back. It is a lovely place and showed the life that Sir Walter Scott had when he lived there, pouring most of the money he made from his writing into the property.
The very iconic Edinburgh castle, sitting on top of the hill above the city of Edinburgh. It is massive and impressive and served many purposes over the centuries that it existed. Some parts of it served as a prison, first during the war with Napoleon and also during the American revolution when the USA fought for independence from Great Britain. The captured Americans were not considered as prisoners of war but as rebels because there was no independent America yet! In the prison which is now a museum, an old American flag can be seen with 13 stars! History is so fascinating!