Travel

Curtis in the World: The Eilean Donan Castle

“Can you find the hidden door in this room?” the smiling historian asked as she glanced at Yana’s scavenger hunt check list. Yana shook her head from side to side and started looking around for the hidden door before any of the other children could find it. Julia and I followed behind her, making sure she did not run into any of the artifacts scattered about the room.

We had arrived at Eilean Donnain (or Donan) three hours ago and were still stuck on this children’s scavenger hunt. Of course, I enjoyed running after Yana while deciphering Scottish-English riddles, but I also wanted to take the time and enjoy a couple of minutes of the wonderful castle we had found ourselves in.

After 4 hours and 36 minutes we found the last item on Yana’s scavenger list. We ran through the castle trying to find the historian we had talked to earlier so that we could turn in our findings. Yana was proud of having finally found that hidden door and even though she was the 4th child to turn in the list, she was still smiling. Yana proudly showed the historian all of the items she had found on the list, and the historian excitedly bent down and handed Yana a first place yellow ribbon. “Ich hab gewonnen!” Yana cheered. The historian gave Julia and I a wink as the three of us made our way slowly outside to see the rest of the castle.

Eilean7

A picturesque castle — Eilean Donnain was a breathtaking place and was one of the most memorable scenic locations my family and I were fortunate to visit in Scotland. From the time we entered that castle up until the sun started to set, we were met with friendly people trying to learn about Scottish history and beautiful views that would make you cry and faint. Set in a beautiful and tranquil part of the western part of the Scottish Highlands on Loch Duich, Long and Alsh, Eilean Donnain was the most incredible part of our journey.

If you get a chance to visit the Scottish Highlands, this place should be the first place on your to-do list.

Curtis Albers is a former abused foster care child survivor turned Army Ranger. He enjoys traveling, learning about other cultures, astronomy and generally enjoys interacting with other human beings who are just as optimistic, interesting, creative and passionate as him.

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JoniS
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JoniS

I love travels with Curtis! I would love to visit Scotland. That’s a wonderful idea to give children a scavenger hunt to keep them occupied and interested in what might otherwise be another cold wet castle. You’re an angel to spend 4+ hours with your daughter to find all the items in the list. I think I would have heard the infamous words “We can come back another time.” In parent speak means we are never coming back. Hahaha. Thanks for the beautiful pictures and sharing your travels with us.

Curtis Albers
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Curtis Albers

Joni, thank you! That day was incredible..but long. It took us a few hours from the Isle of Skye and we owed Yana that adventure for being so patient during the trip. She absolutely loved it and we helped her find everything on her list! The castle and surrounding area is breathtaking, and Scotland is just such an amazing place. I honestly felt so connected to the environment and people when we were there….absolutely the nicest people in the entire world. If I ever lived in Scotland or Ireland I would never leave! Actually Joni, I did tell Yana that… Read more »

JoniS
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JoniS

I’ve heard that the people are so very nice and friendly. I’ve also heard my hubs say it was the only people he has come across that speak English but you still need an interpreter to understand what they are saying. 😂😂

Curtis Albers
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Curtis Albers

Thats true! One morning on Skye when we were packing our car to travel to the fairy glen (we got lost and somehow ended up at the Quiraing) an older Scottish gentleman who lived next door came over and shared his life story with us. He and his wife have live don Skye for 40 years and if we ever need fresh tomato’s he insisted we could come on over and pick them from his garden. After those first few words we could not understand anything that he was saying. He spoke more Gaelic than english, so we just smiled… Read more »

Mic-Mac
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Mic-Mac

Sounds like a great time Curtis. It is wonderful that you are able to travel to these beautiful places when your daughter is young and you can all enjoy together. Thank you for sharing your experiences. .

Curtis Albers
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Curtis Albers

Hi Mic, it has always been my dream as a child to visit all of these places and share it with my family. Yana doesn’t understand allot about the cultural uniqueness of the places she gets to visit, but having her experience all of this shapes her into a more worldly person. We are thinking about taking her at some point when she is a couple years old to volunteer more abroad.

homanj1
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homanj1

Curtis-We spent two weeks in Scotland this summer. I have a little Scottish blood. I agree, the people are great and the countryside is beautiful. We ate some fish and chips on the Isle of Skye. Love Glasgow and the Highlands. My wife is about ready to move there. Taxes are high. But maybe worth it.

Curtis Albers
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Curtis Albers

Hey Homanj1, I had some amazing food in Scotland when we visited Inverness. However, the majority of our stay was in a cute little cottage in Ose/Bracadale on the Isle, and we had to drive an hour and 15 minutes to Portree to go grocery shopping. You are so lucky to have some Scottish blood, and your wife is a smart woman to want to move there! It is absolutely worth it to move there even though the taxes are pretty high, but they can’t be as high as they are in Germany! I asked my wife after we came… Read more »

homanj1
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homanj1

Curtis-We did a day trip to Skye. Next time I’d like to spend more time there. We spent two nights in Glasgow, Three nights in Inverness, and 6 nights in Edinburgh. We toured a lot of spots and many locations for the Outlander TV show. In Edinburgh they had a festival called the Fringefestival that made the town overwhelmed with visitors. We took the train to Stirling and North Berwick on day trips and we closed out the trip with the Royal Military Tattoo at the castle which was quite an event. We fell in love with Scotland. I suggested… Read more »

Curtis Albers
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Curtis Albers

Amazing! What did you think of the Skye bridge? I swear traveling to Skype was amazing!

homanj1
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homanj1

Curtis-We want to go back. There is a small mountain range on the way there that has five peaks. Our tour guide Ian told us the story of the legend of five sisters. You probably drove past them. If you didn’t hear the tale, just search legend of five sisters in Scotland. It’s a fun little story to tell Yana. We were fortunate to have Ian along. There were seven family members in his 8 passenger van.

Mason
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Mason

Need to get home some day, the patriarchal side of my family is Scottish. Thanks for these trip write ups!

Curtis Albers
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Curtis Albers

Mason, if you are anywhere other than living in Scotland…you are wrong! I would imagine Scotland is calling you!

Mason
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Mason

ayuh!

susanh
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susanh

That’s beautiful, Curtis. You are a blessed man.

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