Monday, September 30, 2013

Collecting Castles

When I was a kid, I went to visit my great grandmother on Kelly Mountain in West Virginia. Some kids my age lived just up the street, and they had a pet sheep named Roundy. He would come when you called him: Here, Roundy-oundy-oundy!

I have loved sheep ever since.

Completely unrelated, I also really like castles.

So the reason for my recent absence has to do with those who things, seeing sheep and, as my wife says, collecting castles.

We went to Scotland!

The trip was supposed to be our honeymoon. We talked about it long before we got married, because my wife did a year abroad at the University of Edinburgh and just loved Scotland. Of course, when we got married, she had just joined State and I was still a grad student. So we postponed. Then we were supposed to go for our 10 year anniversary. But we had a new Ambassador coming, so our travel got nixed. Then for our 11th. But that coincided with an important visit. So it got postponed again, this time by a month.

So that is where I have been lately.

We spent two full weeks in Scotland, going by train from London to Edinburgh and then by car (side note…driving there is terrifying! Not just because you have to drive on the wrong side of the road but because the roads are REALLY FRICKIN NARROW! Seriously, could you move that stone wall over say six inches?) to Loch Lomond, the Isle of Skye, Inverness/Loch Ness (another childhood fascination: the Loch Ness monster. But I never saw it), Stonehaven, St. Andrew’s, and back to Edinburgh.

And in that time, I “collected” a lot of castles, including one bucket list one!

Edinburgh Castle

Stirling Castle

Castle Eilean Donan
Castle Dunvegan on Isle of Skye

Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness (that is the bucket list one)

 Castle Dunnottar in Stonehaven
(there was a bit of fog...we hiked five miles round trip for this view)

St. Andrew’s Castle

and St. Andrew’s Cathedral

And now we are back…just in time for the government to shut down.

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