January 2011

Mons Meg at Edinburgh Castle

Have you ever found yourself returning again and again to a place, perhaps reenacting a scene or activity? Do you wonder why, or have you extinguished that curious flame with a half-thought and flimsy reason? It’s fun. It’s pretty. It’s cheap. What does it say about you that you return there? Is it pathological or just unfinished business?

There is a place in this world, for everyone, that will command daily thoughts, tug at hidden bonds, and pull across the oceans and ages.

If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. It’s there.

Recently, I finally admitted to myself that Scotland is that place for me. Read more...

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Luxury Apartment in Edinburgh

In just over a month I’ll be touching down in Edinburgh for three weeks of cultural immersion. Auld Reekie, as it used to be known, is one of the most interesting and beautiful cities in Europe. Many of my recent posts have touched on intriguing aspects of this beguiling city, and maybe they’ve started you thinking about making a quick jaunt over to bonnie Scotland.

I’m happy to announce that I can help you out!

HomeAway Holiday-Rentals and Traveling Savage are offering one lucky reader/visitor the chance to win a week’s stay in a luxury two bedroom apartment in Edinburgh… Read more...

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Sigur Rós

I was horribly late to the Sigur Rós bandwagon. When their breakthrough album, Ágætis Byrjun, dropped in 1999 I was too busy listening to Radiohead’s OK Computer over and over and over again on my Diamond Rio MP3 player (at 60MB, it had just enough memory for the album).

Forgive me?

It wasn’t until last year that I really started listening to Sigur Rós in earnest, and I’m happy to say the years of guilt at having ignored them were justified by the first bass line of Olsen Olsen (have a listen to it in Pack These Tracks).

Incredible.

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The Bow Bar, Edinburgh

The sad truth is that I’d probably spend most of my time in pubs if it wasn’t such an obvious badge of creepiness. But unlike dirty Dick in the corner (there’s actually a pub in Edinburgh by the name of Dirty Dick’s…) furtively peering over his pint, I’m more likely to be sitting at the bar chatting with whoever’s next to me while I coax a buzz to life. It pains me to have to fabricate a reason to spend the daylight hours in dark pubs, or to reassure myself that it’s okay to have a pint because it’s now the PM half of the day, but it’s pain willingly taken.

Call it masochism. Call it a flimsy excuse to have a drink whenever it feels right (read: most of the time). Call it alcoholism. Actually, don’t call it that… Read more...

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Edinburgh, Scotland

There must be something magical in the air of Great Britain. Some atmospheric spark finds home in the bellies of its artists; their works of music, art, architecture, and literature emanate a genius glow. I can’t explain how many of my favorite musicians and authors hail from this small isle, people like Boards of Canada, Radiohead, and Bernard Cornwell. The creative streak appears to be especially powerful in Scotland, and, as hinted at by my trusty Kindle, Edinburgh in particular.

The Kindle is just another in a long line of overt threats to my bank account, but Amazon also makes available a huge selection of free classics. Naturally, I started downloading book after free book with a kind of sickening glee, and the first book I started reading was Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

I was blown away.

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