July 20 – Arriving in Great Britain

We awoke quite early on the boat, but we had gone to bed early. As usual Lennarth was up first. After showering and getting ready we ate a simple breakfast in the café on the boat. One orange juice and a cheese roll. By 11.00 CET, i.e 10am we docked at Newcastle, it took some time to disembark from the boat.

Alnwick CastleWe chose a fast road out of Newcastle and were quickly on our way towards Alnwick.. We intended to look at the castle (which appears in both Robin Hood and in Harry Potter) but after some discussions we decided that there wouldn’t be enough time and we all wanted to see Rosslyn Chapel (last stop for the day) so we chose to stop in Alnwick, eat a quick lunch and look at the castle from a distance. It cost money to get close up. We gave up the idea to look at Alnwick Gardens, Gun and Lennarth will try to look at other gardens during the trip.

Melrose AbbeyAfter a quick look at the castle we continued towards Melrose Abbey, on the way we drove past two border abbeys, Kelso Abbey and Dryburgh Abbey. Melrose Abbey was a fantastic experience that something so old could still be standing. At Melrose Abbey we paid in order to get a closer look. Patrik borrowed a small tape recorder and if you followed the instructions you had a tour around the church.. We also climbed up in the tower and took some photos of Melrose and the surrounding area.

Rosslyn ChapelAs we were content with the visit we got in the car and drove towards Roslin and Rosslyn Chapel, by Peebles. During this part of the journey both Terese and Patrik’s eyes were becoming quite heavy so we took ourselves fortywinks . We were awakened to help Lennarth find Rosslyn Chapel.

Rosslyn Chapel: Same stairs as in The Da Vinci Code MovieWhen we came to Rosslyn Chapel we were just too late for the last tour of the church, so for half price we got to go in. This visit made it cheaper than Melrose Abbey and a lot more to see so we joined the tour which was very good, many funny comments from the guide. Gun and Lennarth went off to explore on their own. After the round trip the mandatory questions came up for discussion as what did or did not agree with the Da Vinci code. There was no David Star and no rose line either, but the stairs used in the film exists so Patrik posed proudly while Terese took photos.

When we had completed the visit they closed and we went back to the town Roslin and took a coffee-break at a restaurant/hotel/pub which we saw on the way to the church. Lennarth and Gun took a coffee, Patrik took a Guinness and Terese at last got a Magners (Bulmers) that she had been longing for since she had been in Ireland.

First night in ScotlandWhen all the glasses and cups were emptied it was time to look for camping site. We started towards Mortonhall which has a camping site, it was very nice but a little expensive but it was near to Edinburgh. This would be where we pitched our tents for the night.. The girl gave us lots of information about how we could get to Edinburgh by bus the next day. We pitched the tent down in the corner of the camping site where we had been allocated. Out came the cooking utensils as we hadn’t had a proper meal all day. Patrik managed to get connected to internet with his wireless computer, it turned out it was the camping sites connection but you had to have a code to log in. During the trip we discovered that Scotland is full of wireless connection points, approx. 5 per town. During the evening we discussed our itinerary and came to the conclusion that it would have to be changed. We would arrive on Islay on Sunday and not all of the distilleries would be open, this did not please Patrik, so we made the relevant changes so that in the afternoon of day 3 we would not drive to Kennakreig but to Perthshire.

Now we are going to absorb all of todays impressions. It will be Edinburgh tomorrow.