Go Away With … Caitriona Balfe

Actress Caitriona Balfe says she can relate to her time-traveling character, Claire Randall, in the Starz series “Outlander.” “I’ve lived in Los Angeles and New York for long periods of time,” she says. “And now I’m in Glasgow. It’s not like having different lives in each place, but each is unique. The country is a key character in the series. The Scottish Highlands are incredible. There seems to be magic and poetry everywhere.”

Scotland

Scotland has become almost a caricature of itself in the American media with comics imitating Sean Connery’s brogue and Mike Myers “If it’s not Scottish, it’s crap!” skits on “Saturday Night Live.” Often viewed as less cosmopolitan than England but not pastoral enough to be as pretty as Switzerland, Scotland actually is all that and more. With some fabulous gourmet restaurants, the gorgeous countryside and some of the most amazing castles and ruins — all within a few hours drive — Scotland is a wonderful destination for travelers who want it all without having to learn another language.

Orkney Islands

Refer to any of the 19,000 inhabitants of the Orkney Islands as a Scot, and he or she will politely inform you they are not Scots. They’re Orcadians. They may live just a few miles north of mainland Scotland, but these island dwellers are an entity unto themselves. Yes, they eat haggis and talk with accents as thick as the blood used in black pudding. But unlike residents of cosmopolitan Edinburgh and nouveau-chic Glasgow, Orcadians don’t revel in trendy nightlife or upscale boutiques catering to the rich and bored.