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Returned

I'm back from Cambridge and Scotland, from the Lake District and Preston, and the motorways of Great Britain. I saw the sweeping, barren valleys of Glen Coe, ate fabulous food, saw a fleet of ice cream trucks, and toured the Whipple History of Science museum. We took hundreds of photos each. With a few exceptions, the weather was beautiful, clear, and clement all week long.

Neither of us have seen too much of Scotland before, so this was a sampler tour. I've been to Glasgow twice this year and had one weeklong trip there when I was ten. C. went on various holidays with his family there when young, but most were to the same general part of the country.

Here are a first few highlights of the trip(s).

The first time we tried going stargazing, in the Cairngorms, a little patch of cloud cleared, and a dazzle of stars peeked through a widening patch for a while. We tried again in the Trossachs, and the whole sky glimmered with faint, persistent brilliance, dappled with Milky Way, and finished with a solitary shooting star.

In Edinburgh, I failed to read about places to go eat, since I'd prebooked so many meals everywhere else. Instead, my only food sights were set on Plaisir du Chocolat, a fabulous chocolate, truffle, and cake shop located well downhill on the Royal Mile. Their truffles are gorgeously decorated, each flavor identified by a swatch of pattern, imprinted in edible ink on the top. Their flavors offer ingenious and intriguing combinations, from prune and dark chocolate to green tea, lotus flower, and milk chocolate. Smooth, rich, and so very elegant.

At the history of astrology conference, I learned that there's now a history of science Latin reading group in London! They meet once a month, in conjunction with an early modern lecture series. Not only will it be good to be reading Latin with other people again, this will be the first time I'll be reading it with other historians of science.

The highlight of hours of in-trip radio listening came on the very first day during Radio 2's musical hour on Sunday afternoon. For the "Forbidden Broadway" section of the show, they did an inspired parody of a medley of Wicked songs, beautifully put together, and funny to boot. Perhaps this radio show is always this funny. I don't know, since it's the only time I've heard it.

I hear you can see for 90+ miles from the top of Cairn Gorm on a clear day, to Ben Nevis, to the Isle of Skye, to the far north. An eight minute ride up the funicular railway leads to a mountaintop up in Arctic climates, with shallow tree-relatives clinging like grass to the mountainside, Arctic hares changing their coat to match the season, and the cold-loving ptarmigan. The relative comforts of the mountaintop strike me as typical of much of British tourism: in the middle of nowhere, with lovely natural scenery - generally accessible to walkers and hikers - and with all of the comforts of indoor heating, running water, and a restaurant, in this case, Britain's highest. Well, a cafeteria, anyways. In the winter, the place thrives as a ski resort. As for the view, however - we could see perhaps a hundred feet from the top, the relics of defunct chair lifts faint shadows in the heart of a cloud.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
retsuko
Sep. 18th, 2006 02:56 pm (UTC)
It sounds like a fabulous trip! I am most envious! In any case, welcome back. :-)
larkvi
Sep. 18th, 2006 08:28 pm (UTC)
Sounds like fun.

Glencoe is quite the place--did you have mist and fog?
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )