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Scotland Day 3: A Glimpse of France

semi-overcast 46 °F

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We started our day with a small breakfast of tea and some pastries that we got from a bakery across the street.
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Then we set off on a walk towards the university. On our way we saw a sword store and an Irish pub.
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And then some statues closer to the university.
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We arrived at the Old College at the University of Edinburgh. Despite having completed a Master's degree at the University, this was Daniel's first time on the campus!
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We stopped at "Elephants and Bagels" which was a fun place to stop.
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Catherine got a university tartan scarf at the gift shop. We took these pictures by McEwan Hall, where the graduation will be held on Friday.
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The statue of Greyfriars Bobby, a dog that faithfully sat by his master's grave for years
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A narrow building by Greyfriars Bobby.
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St. Giles Cathedral, and some other buildings, statues, and memorials.
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Some views from our tour of Edinburgh Castle. The castle is an amazing place to tour, and our tour guide was excellent. One thing she mentioned was that she used to believe there are no stupid questions, until a guest, pointing north across the Firth of Forth, asked "is that France?" Later on in the tour, the guide mentioned that the British authorities were worried in the late 18th century about French and American ideas of republican government spreading to Britain. Catherine said "I mean, France is right over there..." which cracked the tour guide up. (Her later comment, to a docent who had done her Masters and PhD on the Jacobite wars, that she would just learn about all of that by watching Outlander, horrified the docent until Catherine unjoked her.)
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This statue of Douglas Haig is apparently somewhat controversial. It now sits in front of the hospital area, but formerly was outside the walls until there were concerns about it getting vandalized. The tour guide said that in the UK, they don't tear down statues, they move them. She pointed out that you can't un-destroy a statue if you regret destroying it, but you can move it around.
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Views from the lookout by the hospital. It's amazing to see the city, especially since we came in when it was already dark.
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Us at the castle.
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Some more views in and around the castle. The castle is built on an extinct volcano called Castle Rock, which our tour guide says causes every child growing up in Edinburgh to become concerned about volcanic eruptions at around the age of seven. Also, most of the tour guides seem to think that Scotland is especially literal in its naming of things, but given that we live in a large, central valley in California called "The Central Valley" right next to a snowy mountain range called (in Spanish) "The Snowy Mountain Range" we are unsure that such literalism it is unique to Scotland.
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St. Margaret's Chapel, which is the oldest building at the castle. It was spared during the First War for Scottish Independence, which led to the pope at the time recognizing Robert the Bruce as a legitimate king of Scotland. The chapel is small but very interesting. Also on the top of the hill is a large war memorial, mostly based on World War I, and the royal palace where Mary, Queen of Scots lived and where King James VI and I was born. In the palace you can also see the Honours of Scotland, as well as the Stone of Scone or Stone of Destiny, on which British monarchs are still coronated. It will be going to London for the coronation of King Charles III next year, but presumably returning to Edinburgh afterwards. This stone has a great deal in common with the lia fáil at Tara in Ireland.
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Some underground sites at the castle. They weren't very well marked, and parts were blocked off. Catherine captioned this scene "a little kid...killing someone."
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Inside the Great Hall.
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The English Lion and the Scottish Unicorn in front of the war memorial.
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Mons Meg, a giant old cannon.
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Inside St. Margaret's Chapel. St. Margaret was the wife of King Malcolm (the son of Duncan who appears in the play Macbeth.36CF0077-D7AD-4F1C-9A67-C006090FB79C.jpeg97320FF9-EEDF-425A-92F4-EDD7CE5D7AEB.jpeg
The Royal Mile from the castle.
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We went for a quick and late lunch at an Indian restaurant called Treacle. It was delicious. We got some samosa chaat (samosas with chickpeas and sauce) as well as some noodles.
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Our next tour was a whisky tasting and folklore experience in the Waverly Bar.
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We tried these four whiskies. Probably our mutual favorite was the Old Pulteney. Catherine liked the Glengoyne and Daniel liked the Balvenie and the Bowmore. The songs and stories that accompanied the tasting were also wonderful. It was a great experience.
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We got fish and chips for dinner at a place near our AirBnb. We also tried a "chip butty," basically a sandwich with butter and chips/ fries.
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After that we went to an Irish pub called Finnegan's Wake. They had live music, a mix of Irish music, rock, and country. They also had a number of GAA jerseys on the wall, but unfortunately no Mayo jersey. It was a wonderful first day in Scotland!

Posted by danielcatherine 01:07 Archived in Scotland Tagged whisky france volcano folklore breakfast university castle cafe tasting chapel edinburgh_castle st._margaret Comments (3)

Portugal Day 8: Viagem

sunny 79 °F

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We had breakfast in the beautiful common room. There were a few pieces of bread and some water, so we at first got a coffee and sat down. We asked one of the employees if there were any croissants left, and she said “one second.” We were starting to get impatient with waiting for a single croissant when she came back in with two of these huge breakfast boards. We ended up having a delicious breakfast.
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Some last pictures of Porto. Such a beautiful city.

After that we drove from Porto to Lisbon to meet Catherine’s parents and aunts and uncles, who got into Lisbon yesterday. It was a beautiful drive, although we were a little pressed for time and couldn’t really stop and take pictures.

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Our room at the Intercontinental Hotel. It’s a beautiful room with a great view.
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We went with Catherine’s parents to the Time Out Mercado. We got Thai food (which owes its spiciness to Portuguese trade, according to João our AirBnB host in Coimbra), and then went looking for a place to hear fado music.
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But first we got dessert. Daniel had a pastel de nata, but everyone else had ice cream.
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Tiny doors as we climb the Bica hill.
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The busy Bairro Alto, which had numerous fado clubs and bars. We found one that let people in in small groups for sets of three or four songs. It was very enjoyable to hear it in an intimate, less formal setting.
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The fado singer and musicians.
We went back to the hotel early because we have a bus tour to Fátima tomorrow and need our sleep.

Posted by danielcatherine 00:11 Archived in Portugal Tagged breakfast family porto mercado fado time_out Comments (0)

Day 15 - A Dam Good Day

semi-overcast 75 °F

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Our suite in Keremeos. It was a very comfortable place to stay, and it provided a nice spot for us to stop on the way between Vancouver and Spokane.

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The frame shop where our hosts have their framing business.

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Our delicious breakfast. The ingredients were already prepared, and all we had to do was take them out, toast the bread, and eat.

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The view from outside the room. The mountains are very beautiful.

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When we first checked in, our host said "let me show you the room" and walked into this woodshed. In fact, he was only grabbing the key, but it looked like that was going to be the room at first.

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The actual entrance to the room. Much nicer.

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About to leave. Today we begin driving in the opposite direction, getting ever closer to home.

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The bridge in Keremeos. The suite was called the "over the bridge" suite.

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Apparently, someone in Keremeos lives in a van down by the river.

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The crops and scenery of the Okanagan Valley. We were reminded of the San Joaquin valley by the stonefruit and grapes that are grown here. The mountains are a lot closer together though.

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Forbidden Fruit winery, a winery specializing in non-grape wines. We tried a few of their cherry, apricot, peach, and pear wines. The tasting room was very pleasant, and we had a nice conversation with the employee at the counter. We ended up buying a bottle of peach wine called "Speachless."

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Beautiful Lake Osoyoos. Also, the last picture we took in Canada before crossing the border at Osoyoos.

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On our way to Spokane, we stopped at a Mexican restaurant in Omak, Washington. This was our first Mexican food since leaving on this trip. It was wonderful.

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The Grand Coulee Dam. We had wanted to see it, but we weren't sure if it would be along our route. It is impressively large, and the little town nearby seems very well cared for. We wondered what the people who live there do for a living, figuring that they can't all work on the dam.

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Finally we arrived at Daniel's great aunt Barb and great uncle Merle's house in Spokane. The terraced garden and the house are very pleasant. We had a nice dinner with Barb, her son Tim, Tim's wife Abby and their kids. It was a nice visit, and we are looking forward to touring Spokane tomorrow.

Posted by danielcatherine 23:54 Archived in USA Tagged lake breakfast dam border grand_coulee_dam spokane mexican_food osoyoos Comments (1)

Day 3 - Part One

sunny 61 °F

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The light through the trees on the back deck of our room.
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The breakfast table: savory bread pudding, homemade bread with pepper jam, wild grapes, and fresh-squeezed orange juice. Everything was delicious.
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The view from the back patio of the farmhouse. Also, a few from the yard towards the house.
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Ferns in Ferndale! IMG_0287.jpg
A view down the hill to the ocean from Poole Road. IMG_0289.jpg
Some shaggy/ fuzzy cows.
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The piano in our room.

We had a great night and a wonderful breakfast, then explored the beach area and country roads. After that, we headed in to the town of Ferndale.

Posted by danielcatherine 00:43 Archived in USA Tagged ocean breakfast ferns cows ferndale shaggy Comments (0)

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