BRIDFAS Osnabrueck visits Scotland The Haggis Touch
The ancient prosperous Dutch town of Haarlem was our first port of call on the Bridfas Osnabrück bi-annual trip to the UK in May. Bathed in the late spring sunshine that glittered on the many canals and gilded towers, the town gave us a warm welcome on the start of our long journey.
After the mini-cruise overnight from Rotterdam, the city of Hull greeted us with grey skies and a steady drizzle. However our optimism was not dampened and by the time we reached Haworth in the Pennines the clouds began to disperse. An excellent talk on the life of the Brontes at the parsonage proved to be a very good introduction to the museum. We then had time to explore the quaint, steep, village High Street, practically unchanged since the three famous literary sisters lived there nearly two centuries ago.
We continued our journey northwards through the beautiful scenery of the North Pennines and the Fells of the Lake District before crossing into Scotland and the Lowlands.
Next morning we were rudely awoken at 6 o’clock by the cacophony of the hotel fire alarm. Fortunately it proved to be nothing serious. Nobody was late for breakfast that day.
A ‘real’ Scotsman in kilt and sporran introduced us to the modern architecture of a flourishing Glasgow but also led us through the unique Art Nouveau accomplishments of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. A visit to Pollok House and the extensive Burrell Collection rounded up the day. Back at the hotel at dinner-time a piper heralded the arrival of the traditional haggis – Robbie Burns’ Chieftan o’ the Pudden Race- which went down well with the whisky.
The same knowledgeable guide accompanied us to Edinburgh on Wednesday. We were impressed by the beautiful location, the many historical gems and the grandeur of the Royal Mile. The afternoon was free for everyone to follow their own objectives.
On Friday we left Scotland to travel down the Northumbrian coast and visit the stronghold of Alnwick Castle with its ancient, stark exterior and opulent baroque interior. (Scenes for Downton Abbey and the Harry Potter films were shot there. Surprisingly, nobody wanted to join the class on flying witch-brooms). Some of us managed to visit the famous gardens, but time was short and we had to get to Hull to catch our return ferry.
At our last stop in the attractive Dutch city of Delft many of us took the opportunity to visit the Vermeer Centre, before arriving back in Osnabrück after a long and eventful journey.