When planning a romantic vacation or getaway, what setting comes to mind? A sunny tropical beach, a cozy cabin in the woods, a hotel balcony overlooking an exciting city?
I have had romantic interludes in places such as those, but the most romantic place I ever had the pleasure of visiting was Scotland. Perhaps it was the stunning scenery, the ancient castles, the old-world feel of the towns and cities. Then again, it may have been the lads in kilts.
I had been fascinated with Scotland since puberty, and I really can’t explain why. I do have some Scottish ancestry, but I am not sure that alone is the reason. I recall having friends when I was around eight that were trained in Scottish dance, and the first time I saw them in full costume, performing the
Highland Fling, I was utterly entranced. I just loved those lace-up ghillie shoes, ya know?
The golden age of Romance Novels to me was in the nineties and early two-thousands when Highlanders were the popular novel heroes. I collected them like the sweet treats they were, reading for hours every night. Some favorites were the Highlander novels that Karen Marie Moning wrote (prior to the Darkfever series), and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander novels (soon to be a TV series on Starz).
So when the opportunity came to take my dream vacation – a tour of Scotland- I jumped at it. We took a bus tour from Glasgow to the Isle of Skye, to Loch Ness, on to St. Andrews, then Edinburgh. I loved every minute of it- so much that after ten days, I still did not want to leave. I nearly cried on the plane, watching the islands fade from view, because I knew I may never return. Note: Except for the bonnie lad here, all photos are from my actual trip.
I have traveled to many exotic places since then, but none have affected me so. What makes a “place” resonate so deeply to us? I say that Scotland was “romantic” to me in the sense that I felt a connection to it, and to the culture, for most of my life. Why not some other place?
Tropical beaches, a fireside cabin or a gleaming penthouse suite are definitely great settings for romance. But give me a musty old castle overlooking a shining loch, and I shiver with anticipation. As long as there is a kilted swordsman to rescue me, of course!
What is your favorite romantic setting? Why does that place speak to you?