The Happy Wanderer

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Villa d’Este in Tivoli

I am typing in bed in the dark so expect there are typos. Essentially Fil, George and I spent the day in Tivoli visiting Villa d’Este.

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We had a wonderful vacation. All of it was far too short but we had lots of visiting time with family and friends. A totally amazing trip and so good to be able to catch up with everyone. Thank you all very much from the bottom of our hearts. We couldn’t have done it without your generous hospitality.


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Rome in a day

We have one day in Rome. Fortunately we have been here twice before so already visited the Coliseum, the ruins with the cats and the Trevi Fountain just for starters so my cousin Fil took us on a slightly different walking tour this morning. We did visit a few piazzas and see a few fountains for the third time and passed a few familiar sights on the bus like the Fountain of the Bees and the Egyptian Obelisk but one never gets tired of wandering the streets in Rome. George and I intended on returning downtown this afternoon before dinner but the heavens broke loose with heavy rain and thunder so we stayed in.

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The Fountain of Four Rivers at the Piazza Navona Fil’s favourite piazza, partly because of the memories it has for her.

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Human statues in the Piazza Navona amongst musicians and other street performers.

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Headless man.

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The back of the Pantheon.

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Detail of a column inside the Pantheon.

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Bernini’s elephant statue behind the Pantheon.

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One of many breaks (this one at the elephant statue) for us elderly folk, troopers really, with not so young legs and feet.

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Market at Campo Dei Fiori.

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One of Rome’s mini pick-up trucks.

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Mussolini’s balcony.

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The shopping was good down the narrow cobblestoned streets.

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I need to upload the photos of the Caravaggio paintings at the French Church.

We are now preparing for an evening of food and drink, Italian style, with lots of relatives and I suspect plenty of wine. My only concern about today was I didn’t get to the Trevi Fountain and therefore did not toss in a coin over my shoulder which would ensure I would some day return.


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Transiting to Rome

Flying to Rome seemed pretty cheap until we had to check our bags which were all under the size and weight dimensions – our bags cost more than the flights on Ryan Air! But it was all fun as we had to transit through Stansted with plenty of time to shop for souvenirs and relax which for me means, posting a blurb on my blog.

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Glasgow Airport.

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Stansted Airport – a Licorice Allsort mascot and The Queen. How British is that?

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Purchase of Royal baby mug to go with my haphazard Royal family china collection dating back to Queen Elizabeth’s coronation.

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A 20 minute walk to our gate at Stansted or a short two stop ride on a train. We took the train!

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In between cloud cover we had glimpses of the Alps.

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Streetscape in Rome as we came in for a landing.

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The drive from Ciampino Airport to Termini Metro station which we couldn’t find immediately so took a cab to Fil’s home in the African Quarter.


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Throwback Thursday

Our final day in Scotland. Finn brought out the album with all her old family photos and in the bunch was a copy of the photo of me I had been looking for for years. Our family’s “blue album” disappeared years ago which means one of my sisters took it and it was blamed on me by mum so when I saw the photo I always wanted to get a copy of you can’t imagine how excited I was. There was also another of me I had never seen before. So using my portrait lens, I popped the photos on the floor and took a photo. Its not the best reproduction but all I could do at the time.

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The only picture of me with blonde hair and the one I had been looking for – taken in my grandparents back yard.

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What Finn thought was a more typical photo of me with my dark hair, is on closer examination probably a photo of my sister, Ann, and the reason I don’t remember it.  🙂  I’ll have to ask my mother for clarification.

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Mum with her dog Morag in front of the police station house which was bombed during the war. Her brother’s bedroom was the one boarded up where the bomb hit!  Luckily no one was hurt. I will have to ask mum which town this happened in because I’ve forgotten.

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Colin took us for a “walk” to his favourite childhood spot to relax by the the Kelvin River. Getting there meant driving past their barns, the quarry and through a barley field before clambering up the wooded river bank.

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Our “walk” continued past the wheat field and the oats field with a lesson on identifying the difference between wheat and barley and scaring off dozens of pheasants (hidden in the field) into flight.

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Our return was via the same route, past the quarry and piles of scrap metal and tiles waiting for a recycling buyer. The broken tiles will be used as road foundation.

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And then one last look at the beautiful landscape and their cows returning to home base. This will be our last visit to Inchbelle Farm. Finn and Colin are passing it over to their son who has suggested he will knock it down and rebuild with something new and Colin and Finn have recently bought a new home in town for their retirement.

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They have only owned the home for 3 weeks and already the inside has been gutted and they have blueprints for the sun room and kitchen extension in the back. New beginnings, happy endings. Thanks for your hospitality – see you in Canada soon where we are only too happy to host your stay.

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Wednesday Walkers

We have been lagging a bit with our walking since arriving in Scotland so today we made up for it. We planned a walk in the park in amongst a tourist attraction. So our first stop was Rosslyn Chapel made famous originally for its ornate sand stone carvings and later in the Da Vinci Code in the quest to find the Holy Grail.

The Chapel building was started in 1446 and took 40 years to complete to this stage. It was never completed to the full plans because it was supposed to be a cross shape of which the foundations were found but the chapel was never completed.

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The sandstone carvings both inside and outside the chapel are the real attraction although the Da Vinci Code book did attract significant tourism back in the day.

After a light lunch and a choc 99 we returned to Jane and Graham’s and walked through the park, along the River Almond and through pathways lined with rhododendruns.

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Me with my choc 99.

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The two black sheep “the thugs” – the only ones small enough to get through the fence and venture onto the road.

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Meeting Charlotte as she leaves for her afternoon ride.

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Our walk to the park.

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A shetland pony grazing in the field.

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A horse after its bath in preparation for a highland show or exhibition in the morning.

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The River Almond.

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Meeting up with Charlotte along the walk in the park

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Relaxing on the patio enjoying the River Almond.

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Good bye for now and thanks a million Jane and Graham.


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Turn right at the big tree

Our directions to Jane and Graham’s ended with go down the steep hill to the river and turn right at the big tree. You know we are in paradise! Scotland is incredibly beautiful, no wonder my mother would prefer to live here.

We left Aberdeen by 10:00 am because cars weren’t allowed to be parked on the busy road in Aberdeen between 10 and 4 to prevent the nearby hospital workers and guests filling up the parking spaces for the local residents during the day. But not without incident. Just as we opened the door to leave Sarah noticed George looked concerned. He couldn’t find his keys! We all searched everywhere, unpacking all our bags, looking under chair cushions, pulling out bookcases from the wall, asking the road workers if they had seen any dropped on the road. Finally, Stewart checked his coat pocket and found them…George had inadvertently put them the night before into Stewart’s coat pocket which was hanging on the hooks by the door next to his and just happened to be a similar colour. Phew, keys found! Car rentals don’t come with a spare set and quite frankly its difficult to drive without them.

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The pub where we ate lunch.

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Our first stop was St Andrews to visit Aunt Mary who is now 91, living in her own home and as sharp as a tack which she accounted to her working up to age 82 at which point she was doing Elizabeth’s antique business books and had taught herself how to do them electronically! She said she didn’t use Facebook but she was computer savvy. Since we all had so much to catch up on we stayed later than planned and Rosemary showed up at the end so we got a lovely double visit.

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Our final destination for the next two nights is Jane and Graham’s horse farm. They board a few friend’s horses in their barns as well as keep their own two so there are people coming and going and horses being walked and ridden at all times of the day. Its absolutely perfect Scottish country – a scene from Scottish Field.

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We were greeted with a warm fire and a lovely spring lamb roast dinner.

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Duthie Park

Duthie Park is comprised of 44 acres including the greenhouses called the Winter Garden.

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The Winter Garden has a fern room, Japanese garden, a Victorian garden, a scented corridor, a cactus garden, a tropical garden and probably more.

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George ordered a fish burger and was given battered fish in a bun. I chose the haggis which was absolutely delicious with neeps and potatoes.

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We said goodbye to Hugh this afternoon.

Farewell Aberdeen.