Posts tagged with "Scotland"

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.

Continue read­ing “Scotland, Day 10: Edinburgh”…

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.

Continue read­ing “Scotland, Day 9: Edinburgh”…

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


Continue read­ing “Scotland, Day 8: Peebles”…

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.


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.

Continue read­ing “Scotland, Day 7: Edinburgh”…

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


Continue read­ing “Scotland, Day 6: Inverness to Edinburgh”…