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Entries about skylines

Hotel

sunny 14 °C
View Forres on IainT's travel map.

Knockomie

Knockomie

I have have been to a hotel. Can you imagine?

On Friday afternoon I decided enough was enough, and I had to get away from home. It was just for one night (Saturday) but then it was all very last minute.

The hotel is in Forres, which is 3 hours drive north. It is also where my father was from, so my memories of the place go back as far as I do. Grandmother. Uncle and aunt. Cousins. Summer holidays. Easter visits.

Findhorn Village

Findhorn Village

I have been driving past that hotel as long as it has been there (33 years), and never gone in. To be honest, I never saw it as my kind of place. Full of old people. Old people who think they are a bit posh because they can afford it.

I suppose I am one of them now, but without the posh bit. And the money obviously - a cheap last minute deal.

I enjoyed the drive to get there - the pure novelty of driving for 3 hours after weeks of living under restrictions.

I was perfectly happy with the hotel’s hygiene arrangements. My room was pleasant and quiet. I slept well. They provided an excellent dinner and breakfast.

Aside from the sheer liberation of the escape and staying somewhere which is away from home, I can pick out several highlights. First, an afternoon walk beside the River Findhorn. No sound except the roar of the water.

River Findhorn at Logie

River Findhorn at Logie

Next, an evening walk in Findhorn village. It had a real “end of summer” feel. The village was its usual mixture of busy but quiet, locals and visitors. I chose to go at that time hoping for a typical Findhorn sunset. I chose well.

Findhorn Sunset

Findhorn Sunset

Then my Couch to 5k session at 6am on Sunday. Session 17. I went to the town’s Grant Park, where my father played cricket as a youngster. His old school - Forres Academy - is across the street.

Grant Park, Forres

Grant Park, Forres

Finally, a Sunday morning 3 hour hike in Culbin Forest. For the first 2 hours of my hike I saw no-one. I had geese, butterflies and a seal for company.

Culbin Shore

Culbin Shore

The Forest is fascinating. It was planted to fix the sand dunes now beneath it, to stop them moving. Some are over 20m high. I loved being able to walk in solitude for 2 hours, surrounded by trees, with no noise apart from the geese, the sea occasionally, and my footsteps.

Culbin Forest

Culbin Forest

I wonder if the geese are resident or migrating.

Posted by IainT 23:13 Archived in Scotland Tagged sunsets_and_sunrises beaches skylines trees sky boats scotland life transport Comments (0)

Ouarzazate

sunny 16 °C

Ouarzazate is 255 miles (408 km) south of Casablanca, on the other side of the Atlas Mountains. It is on the edge of the desert and at 3,810 ft (1,160 m) altitude. That’s why it gets cold at night at this time of year. Most people speak Berber.

It has two big claims to fame - first as a big film making centre. The likes of Lawrence of Arabia and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen were filmed here at Atlas Studios. Secondly, a massive solar power project opened here this year.

The town isn’t such an attraction in its own right, but is a good base for exploring the valleys, oases and mountains close by. Certainly it’s a million miles from Scotland at any time, but especially at this time of year.

I’m staying in a riad - and it’s lovely. They gave me a superb breakfast with lots of stuff I’d never have in Scotland - olives, sheep’s cheese, date jam, local pancakes...

Le Petit Riad

Le Petit Riad

The owner prides herself on her Berber cuisine, and so - very unusually for me - I took a half board option. Smart move - dinner was wonderful.
It was cold first thing this morning (1⁰c) and it was only starting to warm up about 11am.

Cool!

Cool!

It was easily warm enough to eat outside by the time lunchtime came along - but only in the sun. Ideal for walking about to explore.

Habous

Habous

I was trying to balance the day between rest and activity, after two busy days on Thursday and Friday. I took a long walk around town - and got my lunch in the main square - stopping to visit the Kasbah Taourirt (a kasbah is a castle).

Kasbah Tarouirt

Kasbah Tarouirt

Originally built in the 19th century, the Kasbah was owned by the el Glaoui clan They controlled the southern caravan route to West Africa and their power made the clan one of the country’s most influential families.

Kasbah - Interior

Kasbah - Interior

Posted by IainT 13:22 Archived in Morocco Tagged skylines morocco ouarzazate Comments (0)

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