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Tuesday · September 02 2003

As promised (and as you knew I would), notes from Edinburgh...

The trip started off with a lottery win as we got to volunteer to skip our overnight flight and wait until morning to fly to London. And they paid us $1600 in airline vouchers for our trouble. Um, thanks American Airlines, glad to do business with you. Anytime you want to pay me $300 to travel overseas with Stacy, I'm there for you. No doubt, this is why our airlines are near bankruptcy, but I'm happy. That should pay for a couple trips to Denver and also out to Fresno to see Kristin.

London was a bit of a blur, but I saw the stop as gravy anyway. 12 days in Edinburgh, Skye and the Highlands is going to dominate, no matter how fantastic Westminster Abbey is. And it is fantastic. I think I might actually know the order of the monarchs from the Plantagenets through the Stuarts, but I'm still probably better at Washington through Grant, then I lose track of who is who. Those corrupt bearded guys in the late 1800s always run together. Sorta like the unbearded corrupt guys we have in the late 1900s. Westminster Abbey really is incredible, though. You are standing inside the eternal home of Elizabeth I, several Kind Edwards and Henrys, as well as Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Tennyson, Churchill, Lewis Carrol, and at least 30 other famous dead Brits.

We were able to go inside Buckingham Palace because the Queen is at her summer home. 2 months out of every year, Britons and visitors have the privilege of paying 12 pounds (18 bucks) to see the State rooms. It's about as satisfying a tour as what they show you at the White House. I want to see Gee-Dubya's sock drawer and the Queen's bathtub, not ancient knick-knacks. The memorable part of Buckingham Palace was the fact that Stacy and I lost each other outside for almost an hour. My blood sugar was in the cellar, so you can imagine how happy I was about that misunderstanding.

Yesterday morning, we took the train from King's Cross station (yep, the one where Harry Potter leaves from) to Edinburgh. There was no peace. The cliche-spewing Canadian chick in front of us was unreal. She was on a 46 day tour of Europe and she wanted to tell everyone about it. We actually got to hear her hour-long, uninterrupted story twice, because after the Indian woman left the seat next to her, a sweet old (and unsuspecting) Scottish granny took her place. (in my best Van-kyu-ver accent...) "Oh, you haven't see the Lion King? Oh, you must go. It's awesome." "Oh, you haven't been to Egypt? It's awesome, you must go." For 2 hours on repeat, kids. F-ing brutal.

Edinburgh. I am really enjoying Edinburgh. Other than the faux-Chinese food we had last night from the Chinese couple that were running a Scottish pub oddly named "The Wine Glass". Most restaurants were closed on monday night, so options were limited. We won't go back. We got an early start this morning, led off by Scottish breakfast. (Traditional Scottish food appears to be named in a pattern of sticking 'ers' at the end of a random word. So you get interesting pairings like bangers and leekers, totters and kippers, and anything else I can make up. Traditional Scottish food is pretty unappealing. As is non-traditional Chinese food cooked in Scottish pubs, but I've already been over that.)

Edinburgh is an old style European capital and it's beautiful, touristy, charming and all those other things like the postcards. Edinburgh castle was worth the trip to the city all by itself. We spent about 3 hours there this morning and then took a long walk over to Dean's village. Dean's village is an old milling village that serves as a wilderness retreat within the city today. Rolling stream, cobblestone ways, and NO tourbuses. That's always the best part. If you can find spots where the busloads of elderly Germans can't reach, you're doing well.

More later...Sorry for no pictures, but this cafe doesn't have the facilities to download the shots from the camera.

What you had to say:
September 02 2003

Don't laugh, but I'm extremely curious about the Queen's bathtub. Is it an old-fashioned bathtub with legs and a gold faucet, sitting in the middle of the room with tan marble floors and high, sunlit windows against the wall? Because that's what I imagine.

September 02 2003

Glad you made it safely--sounds great so far. The cats are fine--eating, drinking and more or less relaxing around the house. Don't forget to bring them back a present:)

September 02 2003

neeps and tatties, neeps and tatties!

September 04 2003

sigh. stacy and i were at westminster abbey in 2001. did you also take in the tower of london? i thought that was the coolest.
edinburgh i have not seen though.
if you want some decent asian food, check out wagamama, (www.wagamama.com) i don't think they have them in scotland but if you are back in london on your way home. cheap and delicious noodle shop chain in europe. mmmm.
oh, today i celebrate one year of not smoking.
thought i'd share that somewhere....
have a great time guys!

September 05 2003

Mojan: I don't know what the tub looks like, they don't show you that stuff. You really see absolutely nothing of the Queen's personal effects. Other castles are much better for artifacts and the like.

Dan: Glad to hear the cats are doing well and aren't terrorized by small children and a dog. I feared Pixie would be hissing 24/7.

Neeps & tatties, yep whatever those are. I'm not fixin to find out until they give me a description. The description always says "A Scottish tradition". That's not definite enough for me.

Tori: We're not going to have any time in London on the way back. We're pretty much just using London for the airport and then back home. Thanks for the tip though.

© 2003 Jason Keglovitz