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This was the trip that almost wasn’t. Unsure of what time he would be finished with meetings on the final day of the conference, Andy resisted making plans for our last day in Scotland. When he DID get out early enough to think about some kind of grand adventure, we made our way to the nearest rental car office only to be told: “I don’t know what’s going on today, but we’ve had a rush of people wanting to rent cars. We don’t have ANY left.” I started to have visions that the entire city of Glasgow was out of rental cars. But then we met this guy:

This is Warren.Warren made our day. Warren not only had a car for us, he put us in a convertible!

And so began our adventure 2 1/2 hours south to England to see Alnwick Castle. Featured in movies including the first two of the Harry Potter series, ‘Elizabeth’, and ‘Robin Hood Prince of Thieves,’ I was excited to see a castle whose grounds would be familiar. As if the castle weren’t reward enough, the drive itself was breathtaking. We made straight for the castle on the way down, and then took our time picking our way through smaller coastal roads of the North Sea on our way back.

We were treated to views like this:

Our first sighting of the Castle:The infamous site where Harry learned to ride a broomstick and to play Quidditch:

No photos were allowed in the interior of the castle as it is still home six months of the year to the family that has owned it since the 1300’s. I loved that the historical treasures and furnishings of the castle were also scattered with family photos of their children growing up and, most recently, of their eldest daughter’s wedding. On display was also the coach she rode in, specially restored for her wedding day:

There is a children’s area where they can learn to be a knight, complete with a dragon. Naturally, Andy felt right at home in the kid’s section 🙂 The grounds of the castle:

The entrance to Alnwick Gardens: 

The drive home:We stopped in Dunbar, the birthplace of John Muir:I was fascinated by the fishing paraphernalia:Part of what’s left of Dunbar Castle, now home to hundreds of seagulls:This was the coldest we were the entire trip! It was cooler on the coast (50’s) and very windy. A beautiful day from start to finish!