Monthly Archives: June 2011

Scotland, Day 10: Edinburgh

We watched Rory McIlroy take the most impressive lead in US Open history to win the 2011 title, and when you see these golf superstars making satisfyingly effortless shots, you long for the same kind of feeling that can only come from something as primal as hitting a ball. It’s been years since I held a club in my hand, but I was itching to play and we headed to a driving range, taking it easy on my last day in Scotland.

I’m going home a different person. Not a drastic change, but a refinement of the growth I’ve had in the last year, and a galvanization of the spirit. This trip has taught me that life is full of happiness, and my memories of Europe will be filled with the people and places that have made the last three weeks a rich and wonderful experience.

Barney in the garden

Barney likes to roll around in the grass, and sometimes he comes back in with pieces of foliage in his fur. He even has a shed with a duvet in it that allows him to sleep comfortably outside, even when it’s dark and the temperature drops. The backyard provides a tremendous amount of privacy, thanks to all the lush greenery.

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Scotland, Day 9: Edinburgh

A closer look at Edinburgh, occasionally viewed from the top of a double-decker bus. The road design often doesn’t make any sense, or follow any kind of grid, facts that belie it’s medieval history. Some streets are especially wide, so that horse carriages could make a full turn in them. Keeping these old traditions may add to the character of the city, but I question whether it’s worth the added confusion and frustration when trying to navigate.

One of the interesting things about this city is that it can be divided down the middle into distinct Old Town and New Town sections, where the difference in architectural style is very striking.

bagpipe player

There’s a bagpipe busker on this corner outside the Princes Mall at all times. I think a few of them share shifts; it must be the most lucrative corner in the city.

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Scotland, Day 8: Peebles

Peebles is a town of about 8000 inhabitants, with the River Tweed running through it. It’s easy to see why it was recently ranked as the best town in Scotland, as it’s full of small town charm, and is less than an hour drive from Edinburgh. You can stand at one end and see the other, where the buildings abruptly end and the land goes on as hill and grass. It seems like every other store is a charity shop where people can donate their old clothes, toys, board games, and other sundries.

Peebles bridge and church

 

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Scotland, Day 7: Edinburgh

It’s slow going in the house of mirth. We’ve been exploring parts of Scotland every day, so we decided to take a day off to watch acclaimed British sitcoms and movies. I’m so happy here. It finally feels like I’m on vacation, as Dennis likes to remind me when I say I shouldn’t eat any more ice cream. Where else does someone keep my dishes delightfully warm in the oven before serving me? Luckily, Dennis is also something of an accomplished keyboard player. Jamming with new people, learning their unique strengths and the sound they can get from their instruments, is always more fun than I can describe.

Funny to think that we’d only met once before at Aaron’s wedding five years ago, and kept in touch from across of the pond. Introverts like us never forget those kinds of connections, cause it’s so rare to find a person to whom you can easily talk for hours. He lives the same life I have now, the same life I see myself having many years into the future. Even our cats are alike.

conservatory

Dennis had this conservatory built as a room where he could lounge during the day. The polycarbonate ceiling lets plenty of light through and keeps the space bright and warm and sunny and I’ve decided that I need a room like this.

When the sun sets it can get quite chilly, so then we move to the main room and put the fire on.

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Scotland, Day 6: Inverness to Edinburgh

We left for home the next morning after a heavy meal at the bed and breakfast, where everything was deep fried, including my toast. Our route was circuitous, planned carefully by Dennis so I could see as much of the country as possible.

The thing that strikes me most about the Scottish landscape is that you don’t need to be on top of a mountain to get a good view. There’s breathtaking beauty all around, never obscured by skyscrapers or treelines. The air is also some of the most pure and fresh you’ll ever get to breathe, yet neutral; it doesn’t smell particularly like flowers or foliage, it just smells clean.

grazing sheep

 

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