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Hotel

sunny 14 °C
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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)

Rūta and Ramunė

sunny 25 °C
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The Ladies

The Ladies

Vilnius was like a second home to me for a few years during the 1990s, to the point where I had an apartment to stay in when I was here rather than using hotels. How much of the expat lifestyle people eschew in favour of living as a local is always a personal choice, and depends on circumstances as well.

In my case the choice was limited, as I would be working all week and then heading off back to the family in Scotland on Friday or Saturday. Only very rarely could I participate in Lithuanian weekends. Partly for this reason the past weekend has had extra interest for me, and Sunday in particular. I spent most of it with Ramunė who was a work colleague in the 90s and became a friend as well.

Her plan for the day was to go to visit Rūta who is the mother of one of her friends. Rūta lost her husband recently, and the friend lives in Munich so she can’t visit as often as she’d like.

Rūta lives near Molėtai, 60km north of the city, and has a holiday home business on Lake Bebrusai.

Easy Drive

Easy Drive

We spent the afternoon sitting admiring the lake, swimming in it, and eating. Well, I did the eating and they talked. Lithuania is a country of lakes and forests, and we were in one of the most beautiful parts.

Nature

Nature

Vilnius almost emptied over the weekend as the locals disappeared into the countryside to enjoy nature and the good weather - to their summer cottages, to visit friends or family at their summer cottages, to go camping or just for a day trip. Fortunately the population is small relative to the size of the country, so apart from a few hotspots (Trakai, for example) it is easy to find quiet places.

Trakai

Trakai

I was impressed with Rūta’s holidays homes - we got to use an empty one to change for swimming - although I have not yet investigated prices. I would certainly think about a week there for next year’s summer holiday.

Attractive

Attractive

My day out had lots of highlights. The swims. The scenery. An insight into a Lithuanian summer Sunday afternoon. The smoked ham. The home made bread. The weather. The special calm you only get when you’re in the middle of a forest.

Peaceful

Peaceful

Another was the look of delight on Rūta’s face when I thanked her for her hospitality in Lithuanian. Two of my 10 words...

Posted by IainT 05:04 Archived in Lithuania Tagged landscapes lakes trees vilnius lithuania trakai molėtai Comments (0)

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