“I picked up The Hobbit. And I began to read. I was swept off to a green, green Shire in a far, far land, and my soul has never returned. I suppose it never will.”
As with everywhere else Kristen and I visited, I could write so much more on the adventures we encountered in Inverness. Considering how long it’s already taken me to tell this story, however, I think it’s best to move on.
My final parting thought about Inverness would be my remaining confusion surrounding the fact that we didn’t visit the fields of Cullodan while there – tantalizingly close as they were. Instead we took a bus out to a small village of no repute and traipsed up to some anonymous farmer’s field for a picnic and reading session in the grass.
I’ve spent a surprising amount of time in the intervening almost two years thinking about why I didn’t insist on a visit. Finally, two Outlander books later, I think I know why. It’s going to sound strange, maybe even ludicrous to some, but here goes. Continue reading “Jacobite Middle Earth”→
“The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he comes to see.”
– G.K. Chesterton
There are many different ways to travel, an understatement I know. The options may, in fact, be infinite.
Some people prefer to have a strict itinerary with all the Top 10 lists included. Others prefer the complete opposite, choosing instead to wake up in a strange city and wander out the front door of their temporary abode, completely unaware of what or who awaits them.
What about my own travel style? Well, since you asked, I prefer something in the middle. I usually have my must-see sights and sites (always open to discussion) but I prefer not to plan too much. After all, one has no idea what the world has in store at home let alone somewhere comparatively unfamiliar.
“In the hour before sunset, when the rays of the sun lie across the English fields, the old patterns of the earth rise up and the land seems to return to its origins.”
Peter Ackroyd, Foundation
Travelling is always exciting. Whether you’re going a town over or halfway across the world; for a weekend or a month; for work or for play…there’s nothing quite like it. A chance to leave your day-to-day existence and see what else is out there. Spoiler Alert: What’s out there is usually even more incredible than you think it’s going to be, if you know where to look.
“The immensity of Durham Cathedral engulfs the wanderer within a great wilderness of towering stone.”
– Peter Ackroyd, Foundation
When travelling with a loved one, there’s a certain sense of excitement at the chance to share a beloved haunt. This is how I felt about bringing Kristen to Durham Cathedral.
I can still remember the overwhelming sense of awe I felt the first time I visited this beautiful building. I was just me and my Dad, my friend choosing to stay at the hotel for a nap. Spending time alone with my Dad was a treat, one exciting enough to make me want to talk non-stop, but my usual unending stream of senseless conversation was suddenly halted when we turned the corner and I was faced with the soaring stone towers of the cathedral.
Come to think of it, maybe that’s why Dad had suggested the visit in the first place: to earn some peace and quiet for a few moments.
“Time devours everything, but each mortal believes that his own memory can enshrine immortality.”
– Angela Thirkell
There’s always a certain apprehension when returning to somewhere you previously loved. Sure, the first time you visited, it was beautiful and magical and you promised out loud to the chagrin and slight embarrassment of your companions “I’ll be back” in your worst-possible Schwarzenegger voice.
But then the years pass, life goes on, and that city, town, village or dilapidated old ruin gains this sort of unreal aura. It’s forever perfect. It stands in your mind as the most ideal locale on the planet.
And then, miraculously, you have a chance to go back. Your heart starts to pound at the thought, you feel dizzy. You will be going back to a place that truly makes you feel at peace. How brilliant is that?
But what if that fabulous little pub you and your friends found is now a blaring nightclub? What if that darling little hole-in-the-wall book store has gone the way of so many others and finally shut its doors? What if the ruin you so loved has finally lost its centuries-old battle with gravity?
“They say it is the first step that costs the effort. I do not find it so. I am sure I could write unlimited ‘first chapters’. I have indeed written many.”
Wow, I’ve been sitting on this one for a while. I agree with Tolkien… Beginnings are easy, endings on the other hand? And so, for the past few weeks, I’ve written us out of York 5 or 6 times. None of them felt appropriate.
I’ve finally settled on something – it’s a little different from the novellas that were the last few posts. But, well, here goes.
– Latin phrase commonly attributed to Julius Caesar
Photo Credit: Kristen
Well, it took about two months longer to get here than it did in reality but finally…Kristen and I reached the York City Walls.
And a glorious sight they were.
One of the incredible things about the UK, and most of Europe come to think of it, is how extraordinarily interactive their large-scale historical attractions are.
Unless you’re visiting an art museum in which most of the works of art are in constant danger of being damaged beyond repair, the historical enthusiasts and authorities alike across-the-pond are remarkably supportive of proactive exploration.
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
First thing I did upon getting home from the last celebrations of 2013? Read my New Years Resolutions from last year.
New Years resolutions are an interesting concept. Sure, if you think about it, the shift of the calender year seems arbitrary and contrived at best, another holiday we are forced to observe – ever noticed how most parties clear out soon after midnight? And those poor New-Yorkers-For-A-Night having to force their way through an unending sea of humanity just to get to bed before the sun rises… All that trouble to note that another year has come and gone and the world is still here – smaller, perhaps, but still here nonetheless.
Wow this post was a long time coming. I actually started it on the 16th of June if you’ll believe it and suddenly a month had passed and an ocean and half a continent had been crossed before my thoughts returned to the quiet beauty of Wicklow National Park. I’m hoping the fact that I’ve been lucky enough to visit the county 3 times in my life will make writing this from memory easier so lets see how this goes. I have a feeling this will end up a 2-part post.