a tribute to outlander

Leave a comment Standard
Memorial Wall at Culloden Moor

I’d love the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon if it was pure fiction. Her storytelling takes hold of me and won’t let go until I’ve finished each book, which I’ve now done a few times. The fact that the series is based on real events and many real characters, and the lengths to which she has gone to make it as historically accurate as possible—except perhaps for the whole time travel thing—makes me love it even more. This really hit home when we visited Scotland in 2013.

If you’re an Outlander fan or a history buff, get yourself to the Highlands someday. The story of the final battle of the Jacobite rebellion on April 16, 1746, comes to life at the Culloden Moor Visitor Center. There’s an interesting and educational museum inside, but the battlefield itself touched me the most. You can walk a loop around it and find markers for each clan. Reg flags mark the front line for the government, blue flags for the Highlanders.

Spend some time in Edinburgh, Nairn and Inverness as well. There are tours tailored to Outlander fans; ours was not, but fortunately these stops were included. We stayed at the Newton Hotel in Nairn, which was built in the 17th century. Stay there if you can. It was once frequented by Charlie Chaplin and his family, and stands in 21 acres of mature parkland and gardens. It was there that we learned that if you give us enough alcohol, we’ll eat haggis. Let us never speak of that again.

If you haven’t read the books, start now. Then catch up on the Starz series. Books first, though. Thanks for reading Tales From the Empty Nest!

 

 

Advertisements

30 things I learned while traveling abroad

Comments 3 Standard
We learned that, given enough alcohol, we will eat haggis.

We learned that, given enough alcohol, we will eat haggis.

Our trip to Ireland and Scotland was very educational. I learned some things about myself. Scott and I learned some things about each other. And I definitely learned some things about traveling in these countries. Here are 30 things I picked up, in no particular order.

  1. We are not good with maps. We got lost. A lot.
  2. The Irish are quite possibly the friendliest people on Earth, until they get behind the wheel of a car. Then they’re crazy.
  3. Even after touring the beautiful Blair Athol Distillery in Pitlochry, Scotland, and seeing all of the care and skill that goes into making some of the finest Scotch in the world, I still don’t like it.
  4. Given enough alcohol, we will eat haggis. Continue reading

14 beds in 36 days

Comments 2 Standard
The Newton Hotel in Nairn, Ireland.

The Newton Hotel in Nairn, Scotland.

I’m not sure why it works out this way, but it seems that our travel plans are always feast or famine. This fall was definitely a feast. Here’s how we slept in 14 beds in 36 days:

View from the Newton Hotel in Nairn.

View from the Newton Hotel in Nairn.

1. Glasgow, Scotland — We kicked off our two-week dream vacation at the Glasgow Thistle Hotel. The first day was a little hazy with jet lag, but we found our way to the West Coast Harley-Davidson Dealership, walked along Sauchiehall Street and enjoyed fish ‘n chips and a pint at Molly Malones. Okay, two pints. The Thistle is very nice and an easy walk from Buchanan Street, which is easily one of the best shopping venues I’ve ever seen.

2. Nairn, Scotland — Heading to the Scottish Highlands via Loch Lomond and Loch Ness along the same route James Bond drove in Skyfall, what was already an incredible day got even better when we arrived at the Newton Hotel. Once frequented by Charlie Chaplin and his family, this 56-suite hotel was originally built as a family home in the 17th century and is set in 21 acres of parkland and gardens. Our suite was very large, comfortable and beautifully appointed with views of the back gardens. It’s just a short drive to the historic Culloden Battlefield, which was our first stop the next morning. Continue reading