Scotland at Last and an Accidental Trip to Inverness

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Sunrise at West Sands, St Andrews.

I drove north across the border of England and Scotland a couple of weeks ago, and it was a milestone moment.

My family is from Scotland and I’ve grown up with movies, music and food from here. I’ve wanted to visit for a long time and through several twists and turns didn’t until now. Being here means a lot.

So I’ve enjoyed Scotland, and have so far visited Dumfries, St Andrews (where my grandparents met), and Edinburgh, and — accidentally — Inverness.  Continue reading

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A Brief Travel Update

I’m in Wales now, after flying from Dublin to London and spending six days there in a city filled with treasures. I saw:

–Westminster Abbey
–The world’s longest-running play, The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie
–Tower Bridge
–Portobello Market
Wicked
–An exhibition of Star Wars costumes in which I could create my own Star Wars avatar
–The Globe Theatre
–Double-decker buses (and rode in the top deck at the front once!)
–Telephone boxes (which I have continued to see in driving around Wales)
–Hyde Park
–St. Paul’s Cathedral
–Millenium Bridge (the one that was destroyed in Harry Potter)
–The outside of Buckingham Palace

The list could grow beyond that. I was amazed in the British Library by works in the hand of Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy. In walking around the city, I found several authors’ residences.  Continue reading

Five Favorite Photos from Ireland (So Far)

Ireland is a country that has danced through books I’ve read and songs I’ve sung for many years. Myths and legends grow here. So do sheep.

And I am finally here.

Here are my five favorite photos from my first five days in Ireland:

The first picture is from my first hike on this island. I walked to the top of Knocknarea Mountain in County Sligo where the cairn of Queen Maeve, who was buried with her spear, standing upright and facing her enemies, towers over the landscape. The trail wound through these trees. This was the view on my way back down the steep stairs. This was Ireland, the country in all the songs and the movies, the country where banshees and will-o’-the-wisps were real, the country where an informational placard on a house associated with the poet William Butler Yeats said, “The ghosts of smugglers used to tap on the window panes,” just matter of factly, no “Legend says” attribution accompanying the statement. Continue reading