Memories of Scotland (Part One)

Around this time last year we had spent a week in Pitlochry, Scotland. The small town lies along the River Tummel about 26 miles (or just under 42 km) north of Perth and is considered the geographical centre of Scotland. The location was beautiful and as its pretty much in the middle of the country it was easy to take a day trip to Edinburgh, which we did. But I’ll save that for another day.

Taken from the front of the Pitlochry Church of Scotland overlooking the town.

We stayed at the Poplars Guest House and the owners, Natalie and Jason, were incredibly welcoming and made sure our stay lacked nothing. Jason’s breakfasts every morning were ridiculously good. Though there was plenty to choose from I became quite the fan of the porridge (with a bit of whisky, of course) as well as the black pudding, haggis, sausage, eggs, and mushrooms. Seriously, it’s worth a visit just for the breakfast.

This was the view when we stepped out the front door of the Poplars Guest House every morning.

It’s mainly a Victorian town and has retained a large number of the stone built buildings of that time. I didn’t manage to get a picture of it but over one side of the main street in town you’ll find a distinctive cast iron canopy.

Arriving in Scotland and driving from Aberdeen to Pitlochry I got such a sense of the familiar. It felt like a mix of Canada and Norway in ways that are hard to put into words. Suffice it to say I think I’d be happy living there. My husband and I joked that we had found our retirement town in Pitlochry. Sadly we never had time to try out the lawn bowling on offer.

Rhododendrons galore.

Beautiful landscaping seemed the norm in a lot of places.

We walked by some beautifully kept gardens in town and what I saw then I can only hope to aspire to with my own little plot of land.

Pitlochry Dam started construction in 1947 and continued to 1951. It’s known for its salmon ladder (314 metres of it) which allows the fish to make their way up to Loch Faskally from the River Tummel. There is an underwater viewing station where, in theory, you can see the salmon as they make their journey. We didn’t catch even a fleeting glimpse of a fish however.

From the Pitlochry Dam looking over the River Tummel.

We only spent a week in Scotland but it’s definitely somewhere I’d revisit in a heartbeat. There’s so much more to explore and next time I’d love to do a castle tour of the country.

I’ll be highlighting our Blair Castle and Edinburgh visits in another post coming soon!

First Glimpse of Norway

Now that it was clear I was well smitten with my Viking it was time to visit Norway and see where he called home. I landed in Oslo in July of 2007. We would spend a few days in the city seeing the sights and then make our way by train to his family’s cabin near Voss. It was overwhelming not only because we were reunited after a two month separation but because of the sheer beauty of the country.

Our hotel was on Bygdøy Allè in Frogner and the location was perfect for getting to all kinds of attractions in the city. We were within walking distance of Vigelandspark with its myriad of sculptures, Karl Johans Gate, the main street in Oslo with Oslo Central Station at one end and the Royal Palace at the other, as well as museums, art galleries, restaurants and shops. It was perfect.

oslo

We strolled around Oslo and some of the buildings were just beautiful. I constantly had my camera at the ready, oohing and ahhing at every corner, every twist of almost every street we walked.

Oslo

Stunning architecture around every corner.

Oslo

 

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This imposing figure in front of the National Theatre is Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, who along with Henrik Ibsen, Jonas Lie, and Alexander Kielland, make up “De Fire Store” or The Four Greats. In the late 19th Century, these four were considered the most influential Norwegian writers. Both Bjørnson and Ibsen flank the entrance to the theatre with Ibsen standing to Bjørnson’s right.

 

 

Frognerparken

 

FrognerparkenWhile Frogner Park and the Vigeland sculptures within can be quite busy with camera toting tourists vying for the best shots there are plenty of quiet corners to take a moment and truly enjoy what’s around you.

The artist responsible for the more than 200 sculptures in the park is Gustav Vigeland (1869 – 1943) who also designed the Nobel Peace Prize. Along with creating the bronze, granite and wrought iron sculptures he also was put in charge of the design and architectural layout of the park.

 

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You’ll notice the famous Angry Boy statue’s left hand is a different colour than the rest of him. That’s because it’s become tradition for those taking a picture with him to hold on to his hand. All that hand holding is wearing away the patina and details on the poor tots hand. No wonder he looks so annoyed.

 

Royal Palace Oslo

The statue of Karl Johan in front of the Royal Palace bears the inscription of his motto “Folkets kjærlighet min belønning” or “The love of the people my reward”.

With our time in Oslo at an end we hopped on a train to take us north to Reime where his family has a cabin. I say cabin but it’s really a century old two story house. Set in the mountains near a roaring river the scenery took my breath away.

Reime

The water is the most amazing mix of teal, turquoise, blue, and emerald.

 

Reime

Reime

It was my first trip to Norway and over the next few years I would return, visiting my future husband, spending time with his family, getting to know this country. I would wait, splitting my time between Norway and Canada, missing one when I was present in the other. Waiting until the day when I would finally call Norway home.