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Staying on Track

I was on this very track.

From Montreal to Quebec City. From Lamy to Santa Fe. From Atlanta to Washington, DC. From London to Edinburgh. From Denver to Omaha. From Paris to Chartres. From Inverness to London.

This very track took me past slums and office parks — over rivers and through the desert.
Into the dark of night and still on after dawn.

theTrack

A train ride is a very selfish way to see the country. Someone else drives. Someone serves up the food and drinks. Someone makes the berths for us to sleep in. We are pampered and looked after as we watch the world go by outside the windows. It’s heavenly.

I once rode a good distance across Canada with my nose pressed against the train window to see a moose. In Scotland, I tried to see into the pre-dawn blackness for a view of the train crossing the Culloden Viaduct (in vain). In France, I rode through the most magnificent tulip and lavender fields. In New Mexico, I searched the chamisa clumps for Indians or Outlaws.  On the trip to Washington, DC, I slept blissfully while the train clattered along its historic route all night. On the track to Edinburgh, I saw a castle built more than 1200 years ago — and too many golf courses to count!  All across Scotland there were fields and fields of “paintball sheep” with colored rumps. From Denver, our train meandered along the Platt River past historic forts and the remains of wagon trails west.

I can’t wait for the next adventure on the rails.
Perhaps Ireland again … from Dublin to Shannon.

Haunting Relics

raf

One gets a much better sense of geography when on the ground in a foreign country. Sailing east from England and Scotland, there’s a clear shot to the Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Tiny roads that hug the coastline are dotted with old bunkers and abandoned airfields of the WWI/WWII vintage. Their locations seem so remote and lonely. It’s easy to slip back into the frames of an old movie with the Home Guard pedaling these small roads on their bicycles, watching for enemy intruders … remembering the crackle of radio communications, the buzz of small planes, and (always) the patriotic music of the times.

My bird collection from Scotland

chimneySitters

Fat gulls enjoy singularly these little perches in the chimney pots.

pheasants

Roadside fields are heavily populated with pheasant feeding. This one was awarded a blue ribbon?

cormoronts

These are cormorants drying themselves on the beach where the Lossie River meets the North Sea in Moray, Scotland. They have been enjoying a Sunday morning fishing expedition.

Churchyard in the mist

churchyard

Near Kildrummy Castle in the Highlands of Scotland.

Boat of Garten

BoatOfGarten

A small loch at Boat of Garten, adjacent to the mighty River Spey in the Cairngorms National Park, Highlands, Scotland. There’s an Osprey Center at this village (in the Abernethey Forest) — but at this loch, we saw pairs of swans and friendly ducks (who were partial to crumbs from strawberry shortbread).