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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 12: Food From a Volcão

semi-overcast 75 °F

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Today we set off on our tour around São Miguel. Our group separated into two vans, with younger people in one and older people in the other. Our driver, Paulo, was a police officer who leads tours in his free time. The other driver, Igor, lived in England for some time but was from the Azores.
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Our first stop was Cerâmica Viera, in Lagoa. Catherine loves the blue Portuguese tiles and pottery, so we had a great time touring the various rooms, including the painting and the sculpting areas. She decided to a purchase plate with a hydrangea on it, although we also thought about getting a piece of religious artwork out of tile like almost all of the houses here seem to have.
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More of the beautiful scenery as we drove around.
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Tobacco cultivation. They grow tobacco and make cigarettes with it on São Miguel. Smoking seems to be very popular.
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More scenery.
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We stopped at a little beach area, where there was a swimming pool filled by the ocean water.
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There were fishing boats coming in. Every boat seems to have a religiously themed name and a small image on the bow.
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More scenery.
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We went to Nossa Senhora da Paz chapel, where apparently some shepherd children saw an image of the Virgin Mary. We hadn’t really heard much about the miracle, but it was a beautiful church.
As you walk up the steps, every landing has a tile image of a different mystery of the rosary, starting with the joyful mysteries.
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The Annunciation.
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The Visitation.
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The Nativity.
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The Presentation in the Temple.
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The Finding in the Temple.
Then the Sorrowful Mysteries
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The Agony in the Garden
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The Flogging at the Pillar.
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The Crowning with Thorns.
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The Carrying of the Cross.
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The Crucifixion.
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Some pictures of the chapel and from the chapel. It was a beautiful place. The staircase appears to have been build in the 1960s, but the church is older. We did wonder where the Glorious Mysteries could be found, and then we found them behind the church.
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The Resurrection.
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The Ascension.
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The Descent of the Holy Spirit.
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The Assumption.
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The Crowning of Mary.
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After this, we went to Lagoa das Furnas, where there were beautiful gardens around the lake.
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The Capela de Nossa Senhora das Vitórias, apparently built after the owner of the property prayed for his wife to get better when she was sick. She lived, so he built the chapel.
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Around the lake. The Azores feel like Hawaii mixed with the Pacific Northwest.
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The geothermal cooking pots where they make cozido das Furnas.
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A beautiful picnic of volcano-cooked food for us. One of the ingredients, morcela (black pudding) was familiar to Anthony and his brothers from their childhoods.
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Next we stopped at some volcanic hot springs. There was a beautiful garden near the hot springs.
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Taro, or inhames as it is called here. It is a very common food, and was an ingredient in the cozido.
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More of the garden.
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The springs are very warm, and are a very different experience from most swimmimg. They are murky and sort of intimidating, but rather pleasant once you get in.
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Some refreshments and a picture of the gardens.
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We stopped at one last viewing place to take some pictures and see the beauty of the ocean and the island.
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Catherine’s cousin Nicole wanted Italian food, which sounded good to us too. We walked down to the marina area and found a restaurant with Italian, Japanese, and Azorean food. After we ate, we met up with Ryan, Michael, and a person named Dominic, who is the nephew of Anthony’s cousin Don Santos. We walked to a place called Doris Bar. We had a couple local beers (there’s an Azorean beer called Especial) and tremoços (lupin beans). Dominic talked about his adventures in Terceira last year, when he ran with the bulls during the festa (on the television screen at the bar there were “highlights” of bullfighting and bull running disasters). It was a very fun night and we had a great time, and feel so lucky to be here in these beautiful islands

Posted by danielcatherine 07:23 Archived in Portugal Tagged islands volcano beautiful beauty pottery bulls rosary tile cozido são_miguel tremoços taro inhames Comments (0)

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