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    Saturday, April 5, 2014

    ISLE OF ISLAY - THE ISLAND WHERE THE DEVIL HAS NOWHERE TO HIDE

    The round church of Bowmore where the devil has nowhere to hide. 



    Travelling by ferry from Mainland Scotland the Island of Islay is fast approached.

    Whitewashed cottages illuminate the landscape, grey of the mist and rain. Then the orange Coast Guard boat and the dock. 

    Three rams with long and curled horns will probably observe you dragging your luggage up to your B & B.

    After getting rid of your burden, you should walk along the beautiful beach near Bridge End and walk along the road until you reach a church in which the devil just can not hide. You will be in Bowmore.


    Arriving at Islay by ferry.
    The Harbour at Ardberg

    Why the Devil cannot hide in Bowmore Church?

    Very simple: because there is nowhere to hide!

    At the village of Bowmore on the Iland of Islay the church is round and someone has thought of this trick of building a round  church so to deprive the devil of every corner or crevice for refuge. 

    At Bowmore on the Isle of Islay, however, perhaps a round church was not needed, the devil, if really had to get here, definitely would go to hole himself up at the famous Bowmore Whisky Distillery. 

    The Bowmore Distillery was established in 1779 by a local merchant, John P. Simpson, before passing into the ownership of the Mutter family, a family of German descent.

    Today  there are twenty Japanese hidden in the famous Bowmore Distillery.

    The distillery is owned by Morrison Bowmore Distillers Ltd, a holding company owned by Japanese drinks company Suntory. Morrison Bowmore also own the Auchentoshan and Glen Garioch distilleries and produce the McClelland's Single Malt range of bottlings.

    Islay is the southernmost island of the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. Known as "The Queen of the Hebrides".

    Today, Islay has over 3,000 inhabitants and the main commercial activities are agriculture, malt whisky distillation and tourism.

    Islay has eight Malt Whisky Distilleries, most of them located close to Islay's seashore, and they produce some of the finest Malt Whiskies in the world.
    If you leave the church on the hill overlooking the main street of Bowmore that descends to the sea and walk for a while you can reach Port Ellen and it's worth it. 


    Port Ellen on the Island of Islay
    The large Bay at port Ellen
    The beautiful coast of Islay

    Of course with a little 'bit of sunshine all would look even better, but those colored cottages of the little village of Port Ellen on the Island of Islay have their own charm and the White Hart Hotel looks like a nice place to rest for the visitors of this hidden corner of the world. 

    The bay narrows along an imaginary horseshoe. 

    On top of the bay a man of stone, with the Scottish kilt and bonnet, bows his head on his rifle and remember those young men who have left the island and in the battlefields of France and have reached prematurely the immense glory of God.

    It is the monument dedicated to the young men of the island who fought and died during I World War. 

    It stands in front of the open sea.

    No more tears to cry, thirty years later, when even the children of those men have left and have not returned fighting the II World War.


    Port Ellen could not build another stone man. So someone added another list of names at his feet and asked the sea to bring to the dead soldiers a little 'flavor of the Islay whiskeys, which may cancel the war and alleviate his pain! 

    ...click here to continue reading about the Isle of Islay.

    Want to read more about the Scottish Isles?
    Click here to read more about Scotland and the Scottish Isles.



    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

    ST CROSS - A HIDDEN JEWEL NEAR WINCHESTER

    The Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty in Winchester, most amazingly still working today with the exact of organization and in the same way than centuries ago.


    There is one last place that you should not miss if you are visiting Winchester (read the other two posts about the main attractions of Winchester: Visiting Winchester #1 - Visiting Winchester #2).

    St Cross, or using its full name The Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty in Winchester.

    St Cross is for me one of the most inspiring in Winchester.

    It obviously depends a lot for what you are looking for in Winchester.

    Winchester is a beautiful town in the South of England, an hour South of London and , although sometimes forgot, the town of Winchester is so important in the history of England to rightly deserve to be the town of King Arthur's Round Table.

    Winchester was also for a short time the capital of England, during the black death in London.

    If you are looking for the great monuments your first place to would be Winchester Cathedral and after King Arthur's Round Table.


    The Almshouse is a charitable  housing provided to elderly and poor people.

    If instead you are looking for a less famous corner of Winchester, but extremely inspiring and charming the right place is St Cross.

    The Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty is a medieval almshouse founded between 1133 and 1136. It is the oldest charitable institution in the United Kingdom.

    The Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty in Winchester is the oldest and largest almshouse in England and certainly one of the best preserved.

    The Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty in Winchester, most amazingly still working today with the exact of organization and in the same way than centuries ago.

    The Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty in Winchester provides today accommodation for a total of 25 elderly men, called "The Brothers", under the care of "The Master".

    St Cross is just outside Winchester Old Town. One time it could have been easily said it was outside Winchester in the countryside.


    The Almshouse is a charitable  housing provided to elderly and poor people.

    Practically today The Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty  is little more than two miles from Winchester city center, walking South.

    The best you can do if you are visiting Winchester in South of England is to finish your two days tour at The Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty

    If after you have visited the Cathedral you walk at the back of this wonderful church passing near Dean Garnier Gardens you will easily find college street.-

    Walk along College Street and if you have time visit Winchester College and have a look of what is left of Winchester Castle.

    After you have seen the few remaining ruins of the castle take College Walk, keep coming straight in front of you an in twenty minutes you will be at St Cross.

    The building is constructed of stone and surrounds two quadrangles. The smaller Outer Quadrangle to the north consists of: the outer gate (16th century); brew house (14th century).

    The 12th- and 13th-century church in the south-east corner is more like a miniature cathedral than a typical almshouse chapel. The building is stone-vaulted throughout, with transepts and a central tower.


    St Cross, or using its full name The Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty in Winchester.

    What is an almshouse?

    An Almshouse is a typical British institution, at least originally.

    The Almshouse is a charitable  housing provided to elderly and poor people.

    Alms are, in the Christian tradition, money or services donated to support the poor and indigent. Almshouses were established from the 10th century in Britain, to provide a place of residence for poor, old and distressed people.

    If you are so lucky yo be able to visit The Hospital of St Cross and Almshouse of Noble Poverty in Winchester in a spring sunny day you could enjoy all the quiet of the large courtyard.

    The gardens of the Hospital of St Cross when in bloom are a magnificent sight and you would feel back in time in the quiet of these gardens.



    Do you want to read more about Winchester?

    Read The hero of Winchester Cathedral and King Arthur Round Table in Winchester.

    Do you want to read more about England?

    Browse on my page Visit England for many more destinations


    If you are visiting Winchester please leave a comment below about your  visit or some suggestions you would like to make for other visitors.