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Edinburgh's Café Royal, the Scene of the Meeting

The March darkness spiderwebbed and steamed on the bar’s window panes. Edinburgh Castle, the Balmoral Hotel, the buildings on The Mound glowed in the black sky above the city, but they didn’t help you get to The Café Royal. No, it was all hunched shoulders and long strides through unbelievably ill-lit and deserted streets, and then neon pink light dripping down The Café Royal’s facade.

Savage darted inside.

There was a large island bar surrounded by ceramic murals and Victorian and Baroque flourishes beneath a detailed plasterwork ceiling. Incandescent globes and mirrors warmed the interior but also created unsettling shadowplay. Read more...

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Scotland: It’s not all kilts, whisky, golf, and Mel Gibson in blue face paint (though I did have a surreal moment at the Flattie Bar in Stromness one autumn night as patrons sat captivated by a showing of Braveheart on the pub’s TV).

It’s forgivable if that’s the breadth of your Scotland knowledge; we have popular culture to thank for these shorthand maps, but they all too often overshadow the complexity and wonder of the real country.

After announcing Traveling Savage’s new focus on Scotland for 2011 and beyond, many readers expressed excitement because Scotland is a place they either know little about or haven’t considered for their own travels. It can be difficult for me to express why I love Scotland as much as I do, so I decided to take this as a challenge to describe why I’m going to Scotland and you should too. Read more...

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Scotland's Rampant Lion

An amber splash burns in the bottom of a Glencairn glass. Fiddles, pipes, and guitars send a reel swirling around the pub’s patrons. Shredded coastline and dramatic mountain ranges bedeck the highlands. Ancient battlefields echo with the struggles of ages past.

What do these images all have in common? They’re all things I love about my next destination: Scotland. I leave for Edinburgh on March 1 and return three weeks later. And after this trip I will be returning to Scotland for subsequent trips and focusing Traveling Savage on Scotland for the foreseeable future. Read more...

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The Sessioners

by Keith Savage · 17 comments

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…all around us shop lanterns flared in the dark like torches, while in the bay rainbow-hued fishing boats gradually turned black with the fleeting of the light… Read more...

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…three to four months of the year I will be away, spending a month in a location doing my utmost to learn, soak up, understand, and drink in the culture…this is the biggest risk of my life, but it feels right… Read more...

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