Anyway, I thought I'd write a little about the trip we just came back from. Stu & I spent one week in Edinburgh and one week around Germany with his mama Jinni and cousin Judi (with a day or two of our friends Emre & Patti thrown in there for good measure.) I guess we fit the stereotype that Americans are obsessed with our genealogy--I had a friend who had to count on two hands how many countries she could say she was "from," including being 1/18th American Indian--because we planned the trip with the idea of scouting out where Stu's mother's side of the family came from. Including Saint Andrew's in Scotland (of course with a family name like Smith, its hard to say exactly from who & where!) and a tiny town in southern Germany (more on Deutschland in another post.)
(Our wedding in 2008, getting in touch with the Scottish roots!)
But we also went because I felt a little cut-off from the librarian world since moving to Sweden and wanted to attend the UK art librarian conference ARLIS/UK, held in Edinburgh. So while I conference'd (which was definitely a nice meeting, and led to some great networking!) Stu, Jinni & Judi got their family-history on in Saint Andrews. During the British Open. Whoops! The town was flooded with golf enthusiasts and news reporters. They nearly had a Tiger Woods sighting, but the afternoon they were there, the winds caused his rounds to be postponed. Ah well. There are pictures in the slideshow below.
We also took a trip through the Highlands, seeing Loch Ness on the way. Wow, the name of the area is right on...you feel like you are so much closer to the sky. The clouds just seem to hang lower, scraping the bens (peaks) and hovering heavy in the glens (valleys.) It is really beautiful country. The history is fascinating, especially coming from a ruddy Scot with a chip on his shoulder and a thick accent. And a note, Brave Heart is apparently guilty of gross inaccuracies on many fronts...William Wallace and Robert the Bruce never even met!
But Edinburgh was a real treat. I have this little problem where I go to these beautiful European cities and fall in love and start plotting to move there. I had this happen with Edinburgh. It has some great architecture, super museums, good shopping, surprisingly good food and AWESOME pubs. The old and new cities are surrounded by crags and hills and trees and nature. What more do you need? Okay, so the weather leaves something to be desired, with rain coming out of nowhere, and since they are on a similar latitude to Stockholm, it's a dark winter (though mild.) But I could live there. Who couldn't love a city that has the constant lulling music of bagpipes drifting through the air?
We hiked up Arthur's Seat above the town, we walked ourselves silly all over the Royal Mile and between old (aka medieval) and new (aka 1760s) Edinburgh, we ate ourselves silly with fish & chips, neeps and tatties, even haggis. Saw lots of kilts. Stu generally used a fake Scottish accent for the entire week, inspired by the surroundings (and probably the alcohol.) We did a whiskey tasting. Well, the ladies and Stu did a real whiskey tasting, and I kept the training wheels on. And beer. Lots of beer. We even made a new friend, "Jack the lad" at the pub, who took a particular liking to Jinni (we made a hasty getaway in a cab to save her from his partying!) All in all, a great trip. And we left lots undone, so we have an excuse to go back! Or, you know, move there.