The Essence of Scotland
Last offered: Saturday, May 19 – Friday, June 1, 2018

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Scotland is a magical land of castles, vast open moors and stunning mountain scenery. Its kaleidoscopic past is steeped in mystery, fairy tales and dark drama, all still deeply alive within the souls of everyday Scots.

Join us as we discover the essence of this enchanting country, from ancient monuments to a cutting-edge social venture. We’ll walk the cobblestone streets of the Royal Mile in old-town Edinburgh, relax on the sacred Hebridean island of Iona -- known as the jewel of Scotland – and stay two nights in a beautiful 16th-century stone castle. We’ll conclude our visit at The Findhorn Foundation, a thriving ecovillage and holistic learning center, where we'll experience the heart and soul of this unique place, learning about its philosophy and taking part in daily life.

Other trip highlights include:

  • Exploring mysterious stone circles and carved standing stones, some dating back 4000 years
  • Watching traditional Highland Games, with pipers, Highland dancers, and age-old competitions such as the caber toss and hammer throw.
  • Taking a ride on the Jacobite steam train -- called “the greatest railway journey in the world” -- which takes us along beautiful villages, deep lochs, and silvery beaches on the way to the glorious isle of Skye.
  • Cruising the beautiful Loch Ness, home of the legendary Loch Ness monster

And of course no tour of Scotland would be complete without a visit to a distillery of the “waters of life” – single-malt Scotch!

Along the way, we’ll poke our heads into village pubs for some traditional Scottish music and perhaps a wee dram.  We’ll meet the locals, some of whose families have been in Scotland for generations, and hear stories told in their melodious Scottish brogue. You’ll leave with a rich understanding of this captivating country that holds both deep historical roots and a progressive eye to the future.


OAXACA, MEXICO: 
Celebrating Women's Culture and Day of the Dead
Last offered October 25 – November 2, 2017
Next trip: October 2019

Join us for a unique journey into a world of artisans, village chefs, and Mexico's biggest celebration, which, ironically, is a party for the dead! 

Our trip takes us from the 500-year-old colonial city of Oaxaca to 3,000-year-old Zapotec villages still immersed in traditional ways of life. With a focus on women's lives, we will: 

  • Meet talented artisans who turn paper, clay and fabric into works of art for ritual and adornment 
  • Get to know the women of Puente a la Salud, an innovative nonprofit assisting women farmers in amaranth production
  • Learn to cook from a renown Zapotec chef, shopping with her for ingredients at the local morning market
  • Spend a day visiting rural women empowered by microfinance opportunities and learn about their businesses
  • Take part in a natural dyeing workshop, creating your own take-home piece with locally-produced indigo
  • Explore the beautiful, ancient site of Monte Alban, whose great stone pyramids stand as silent reminders of its bustling metropolis 1500 years past

Our travels culminate around the Dia de los Muertos festivities, this grand tradition that honors the souls of the deceased who return each year to feast and celebrate. The graveyards fill with people, candles, flowers, brass bands and food while home altars – literal cornucopias of food and beauty – are built to welcome back the departed. We’ll be there too, building our own altar to remember and celebrate our loved ones, as well as visiting graveyards, masquerade parades and partaking in delicious feasts. 

HERE'S WHAT PAST TRAVELERS HAVE TO SAY:

“It was so much more than I expected. The Dia de Los Muertos was one of the most moving experiences I have had and the chance to visit the people and see how they live their lives in such simplicity and grace was truly a gift. I couldn’t make one suggestion on how to improve this trip!”

“I have traveled much of the world and this trip has to rate near the top for the experiences with the people of Oaxaca.”

“This was one of the best tours I have ever experienced. We felt not only like guests, but like family to the people who opened their homes to us to share their art and skills, their food and their hospitality.”

 

This tour is limited to 13 women, minimum 8 participants.  FOR A DAILY ITINERARY, MORE INFORMATION, or to be contacted when this trip is open for registration in 2019, contact patricia@heartfirejourneys.net or 541-908-0438. Itinerary subject to change.