If you wander across "The Meadows", around Arthur's Seat, and quietly pass through the bird (and occasional bunny) sanctuary, you'll eventually come upon the little town of Duddingston, where you can reward yourself with a pint at The Sheep Heid Inn, complete with a working skittles alley. A perfect little morning.

I mean, we made it to noon.
David, as a pint.

Yer a wizard!

The above: on route to the cafe, two enormous rainbows appeared in the drizzling sky. I caught the tail end of one. ANYWAY.
I've ventured to The Elephant House in Edinburgh a few times, and on this visit, it was only a few minutes walk away. It's awfully cozy, and there's a lovely view of the castle out of the back windows. Its claim to fame is as the place where JK Rowling penned some of the Harry Potter stories -- there seems to be a debate as to whether or not that's true, but that doesn't stop the bathroom graffiti artists from adding their HP notations. I couldn't help but add my name to Dumbledore's Army (and Lindsey, I added your name, too).

The arrow points down to the toilet.


With all of the current Gatsy hoopla (windows at Herrods, tube stations plastered with posters, signature cocktails on menus), I've had Fitzgerald on my mind. I picked up this gorgeous edition of "The Beautiful and Damned" in Oxford.

This is Leith, no Edinburgh.

Flipping through these photos, I am realizing more and more that they... all look the same. Same coats, same grey sky, same hair (there's no point in anything other than a hat when it's raining...oh wait it's sunny... nope, it's raining again...), so you'll just have to pretend that there are subtle differences. ANYWAY. We walked through Stockbridge and took the river walk down to the waterside-and-Trainspotting-setting Leith (the local bars made sure that we knew that we weren't in Edinburgh anymore). We... looked at some water, a pigeon sat on David's lap, stopped into a cozy Swedish bar, and got excited about sunshine in the park on the way home. What a day!

Gotta look out for those tea dealers.
Paper shark! 

Up we go.

If you want a good view of the city, Calton Hill is a gorgeous and easy walk away (even I think it's an easy walk, which is saying something). It was one of the oldest public spaces in the city; David Hume had the walkway created in 1775. Thanks, Dave!

OH WOW, a blue hat and red coat!

Castle, i SEE YOU looming in the distance!

And down, my favorite part.

So glad to be back.

After spending a few days in Edinburgh last year, I was dying to come back and get some more time in this town. I read a somewhat derisive description of the city that labelled it as the kind of cliched place that Americans would love: old buildings, winding passageways, a castle on a hill. All true! I'm happy to fulfill that stereotype, at least. My stomach gave an excited lurch when we pulled into Waverly Station, and I've been awfully happy since. Even rainy days are more fun here!
We've rented a flat for the time that we're here, right off of one of the squares and at the foot of the castle. Not a bad way to start and end our days.
The very red bedroom!

Victoria Street, just across the square.

Follow the steps and you'll arrive at our flat!
The red coat and blue hat that will star in EVERY outdoor photo.

From our front door...
...and looking down at our little street. The castle is looming above my head!

Return trip.

Oxford, again! I never thought I'd get another chance to spend time there, let alone an afternoon to myself. We took a train from Paddington (I almost tripped an unexpected Jude Law on the train) and I had hours to kill before a wonderful group met me for dinner. "Hours to kill", she says, as if there was any trouble whiling away the hours. I wandered around in the most-welcome surprise sunshine and eventually ducked into the Ashmolean (a first for me), bought some cookies biscuits at the covered market, returned to my beloved Pitt Rivers Museum, and finished up my solo afternoon with a pint and a book at the Turf Tavern.

Some intrepid readers [I'm looking at you, parents] will recognize Paolo Uccello's "The Hunt" from a certain Lewis episode...

I had the Pitt Rivers nearly to myself. Good thing, since I took 25 iphone self portraits.
I went on a couple of volunteer-led tours (they LOVE the museum and it showed) and the one older woman informed me that all of the unlocked drawers are fair game. There went two more hours of my life.
For Julia, of COURSE.

Stuff on top of stuff on top of stuff!
The Natural History Museum was undergoing renovations, so all of the displays were smushed together...
...and in disguise.
Extremely subtle outfit for the day.
Winding down.

A Vida Portuguesa

I wanted one new blog post in 2017, with the promise to myself to document my travels in the new year, before I completely forget the a...