- What Do I Do When My Love is Away?: UK 2023, Day 01
- Could It Be Anybody?: UK 2023, Day 02
- How Do I Feel At the End of the Day?: UK 2023, Day 03
- Are You Sad Because You’re On Your Own?: UK 2023, Day 04
Long ago we recognized that we have very different travel experiences when we sojourn with others. It’s not exactly rocket science to figure out; if other people are involved in the decision making, different choices are made compared to what we would do on our own. We haven’t had a lot of chances to do it, but we’ve enjoyed it every time. The original plan for this trip actually included four of our friends meeting us as we hiked Hadrian’s Wall. (If you read every post then you’ve heard plenty about this, but ya never know who is dropping in for the first time. . . ) While two of them had to cancel for entirely rational reasons, the other couple was still locked and loaded for a week in Scotland, and today is the day that we begin that part of the trip. They came from the United States, so our plan for day one was to keep it simple while they wallowed in jet lag. How’d we do?
I mean, fine really. The biggest drama of the day was at the very beginning when we picked up the car. We had reserved a car from a category based on the example car on the website, but of course they don’t guarantee specific makes or models in advance, and the actual car we received was significantly more compact (in our opinion natch). We actually tried to get all four of us and our luggage into it, closed the doors, looked around at each other, and said “nope, this ain’t gonna work.” So, 20 minutes later we were swapping ourselves out into a relative rarity – a sedan with a large trunk. American friends, if you haven’t made it over the pond yet then you may not be aware of this but the hatchback rules supreme over here. Yes, there are sedans but they are so so much more rare than in the US. Small cars, big cars, every car in between, the most common option is a hatchback. Anyway, the Audi A5 has a deceptively large boot (heh) and we loaded luggage for 4, plus humans, with no real problem.
(Side note… more side-y than usual… browser plug-ins that offer spell check and grammar check services hate. me. (It’s John at the moment. Hi.) Haaaaaaaate me. I see your blue and red lines, browser plug-in, but you’re not the boss of me!)
As soon as we left the airport, our immediate agenda item was a decent meal. Our friends were fed rather poorly on their flight (hardly news, but seriously they were given dinner at 11:30 PM local time, and then basically nothing but yogurt as they arrived) so Lisa rustled up a quality spot on our route south. The Paper Mill was a tasty family-restaurant-cum-pub with local favorites and plenty of cider; it was a good culinary start to the week.
As mentioned, we kept the agenda easy on their first day but we did want to see something, so we made for Rosslyn Chapel. You may recognize the name if you consumed Dan Brown media in the last 20 years or so, but it was a thing even before then. The thing about Rosslyn is that you can’t take pictures of any kind inside. So, I highly recommend this 360* Virtual Tour to get a sense of what it looks like. That said, I have no idea how they got it to look so . . . glowy. When we were there it was gray and basically “flat,” despite the day being bright and mostly clear. We definitely thought it would be a lot more carved — much (MUCH!!!) is made of the occult symbolism, but there were far fewer than we expected. Clearly, the success of this site owes much to Dan Brown. Here is a list of carvings you might look for (and they give you a map onsite). It’s expensive, and unlike many places is not part of the National Trust, so the monies are kept solely for this site.
After settling into our digs at the Foundry Farm Cottage, we headed out for dinner at the Holly Bush Inn which was one of the best meals we during the week. Truly home cooked food (the landlord was lighting a wood fire as we arrived) from locally-sourced vendors, with an excellent cider selection. We stared with deep fried potato skins, which were like potato chips, but thicker and tastier. Our mains were a Goat’s cheese, red cabbage, apple and pecan salad, Spaghetti with a rocket and pecan pesto, Beer battered cod (with chips), and a chicken burger. All of it was perfectly cooked and consumed completely. And then, having done the Lord’s work and kept our jet-lagged friends up to a decent hour and feeding them well, it was off to bed. Tomorrow would be getting in up to our necks… in history!