Kirsten Hall


Kirsten Hall

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Inverness-shire » Inverness July 5th 2017

Loch Ness It's lochhhhh not lock, okay? I got a tour by bus to the loch. Our driver was hilarious and had the same bass tone as Jemaine from Flight of the Conchords. We drove past sheep and hairy cows. Have we discussed the teddy bear of the Highlands? These Highland cows ("heery cooz") have ginger locks (not lochs) that cover their eyes in ragged mops and I just want to hug them to death. You would too. We boarded a ferry, where a tiny cafe served snacks and drinks, including hot chocolate with whisky! The driver said you'd be guaranteed to see Nessie after a couple of those, and that, in fact, he suspected similar drinks might be involved when anyone spots her. The boat guide provided a wee bit of Highland history, about the ... read more
Romantic! Take the knight off!
Must. Feel. The. History.

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Inverness-shire » Inverness July 4th 2017

The rain came back! That's good because it means I can sleep longer and take a taxi instead of walking to the station. I booked an early (noon is early!) train to Inverness from Queens Station in Glasgow. The cab driver, Douglas, has a daughter named Kirstin, who might need braces, lard hope she den't. He told me about some promising destinations to keep in mind this trip and said not to worry about the drive, to jest keep te the left. Rolling farmlands, verdant countryside, lush wood. The occasional castle. The cutest little boy exclaimed to his father: "DA! DED YE SEE THE WEE LAMBS?!" and I just about wept right there. Wee is a real thing and it's every day and it breaks my heart with goodness. Inverness is a stone town on a ... read more
The fanciest train WC!
Cheers, America

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Lanarkshire » Glasgow July 3rd 2017

You know those hop on and off buses? Double decker? There's no shame in that. I went back to George square and jumped aboard, upper deck. The rain let up so I can do what I want! The tour was pretty decent. I visited St. Kentigern, a 13th Century cathedral up on a hill, across from a scenic necropolis. This cathedral is supposedly build upon the tomb of St. Kentigern, also known as MUNGO (how can you not love this - no offense, Scots, really - performing chimp like name?), who died in 612. According to an informational sign, everything that was written about Mungo was written in the 12th century and was made up - healing powers,etc. The only certain fact is the date of his death. Apparently, for many centuries, this was a destination ... read more
Cathedral With Coat of Arms Lamp
Crests everywhere. I want a crest and I'm not talking about toothpaste!
Sweet unicorn

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Lanarkshire » Glasgow July 2nd 2017

My train arrived in mist, at a station half an hour from my hotel by foot. (You guys, this is good because of all the beers and no bootcamp). I need to get a waterproof cover for my bag so I can walk in the rain. My workout started at George Square, and took me up through wealthy Victorian era neighborhoods, on to plain brick tenements from the 1970s, and under a freeway. I found my modern looking hotel nested among chic restaurants and bars. My airbnb had fallen through in Glasgow so I ended up in a hotel in the up-and-coming West End, the recently refurbished hipster community. The Lorne Hotel is trying its best to keep up with the neighborhood, but, like a 13-year-old trying to manage make up, it's a little over its ... read more
A Jig
Mighty Cider
Wee Fest

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh July 1st 2017

Here Comes the Sun. Good Day Sunshine. Sun sun sun. I was insane for it. Good thing I don't live in the Pacific Northwest. Ammmmi right?! I had something I could laugh about. After my lovely pastry from the grocer, I headed down Princes Street to find whatever was out there... like a Ferris wheel! A Ferris wheel right next to the botanical gardens, mate. I was giddy with the vibrant colors. My knee was wrecked from my 10 mile walk the day before so I got myself right on up to the Royal Mile to wait for the tour of the Real Mary King's Close! Haunted! Creeepy! Mary King was a widow and linen merchant in the Middle Ages and the close is named after her. A close, you remember, is an extremely tight alley. ... read more
Is this a sun festival?
What hell lies below?

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh June 30th 2017

The rain subsided but low clouds threatened the morning and I knew well enough to pack my rain pants (quick reminder- all of this is internally accented with a fine brogue). It takes some courage to get started the first few mornings of a journey. I have to brace myself for awkward misunderstanding and periodic puzzle-solving to make my way in the world. Of course, the language is a breeze here, and the culture is predictably Western. However, I tend to have the codependent problem of worrying about being polite enough, and I'm convinced that by simply being American, I'm ignorantly offensive in dozens of subtle ways. This gives me a nervous tick of uncontrollable bursts of thank-you-so-very-much and please-if-it's-not-too-much-trouble and I'm-so-sorry-to-be-a-bother. Meanwhile, I count my change like a baby who hasn't learned about numbers. It ... read more
I want to lick the picture!
Gotta get a belly fulla wine

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh June 29th 2017

Come on. This graveyard needs its own entry. Established in the mid 1600s, Greyfriar's Kirkyard, named after the friars who wore- guess what colour? This location was deemed a more fitting location further south of the Old Town, so as not to contribute to the already squalid stench of hard living. The gothic tombs feature skulls, morose angels, and elaborately poetic dedications. Many headstones are embedded in the original wall to enclose the old town. Some headstones lean against the walls of homes. In these apartments, regular folk can sip their tea and gaze out their wee kitchen windows over the deathscape like it's regular everyday life. When I first walked in, I was checking out a dog's headstone (more about that later) when this screeching toothless woman sitting in an abandoned mausoleum warned visitors to ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » Midlothian » Edinburgh June 28th 2017

The flight was fine. You do what you must on a transatlantic crossing. Movies. Gazing. Reading. Eating. I'm happy to have left in the afternoon; I was able to stay up all night until it was night in Scotland. It was much easier to acclimate this way. My abode is a sweet wee apartment in the West End, within walking distance of the castle and Old Town and New Town. The owner left me a bowl of fresh fruit, biscuits and jam, and coffee to get me started on my first day. Okay, I'm just going to have to say right now that, in my head, I'm hearing all of this in a Scottish accent. It can't be helped! I'm surrounded by brogue, farleh droonen' en eh'! My first day was so wet. I brought rain ... read more
Poor Granny

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