The Highlands

Remember when I went to Scotland over a year ago? When I first got back from the Highlands I was simply (and rather predictably) overwhelmed with how utterly gorgeous it had been. People would ask about my trip and I would just gush to them about how much I loved Scotland. It was hard to find words and I also felt like I was cheapening the love Scotland and I had shared by obsessing about it to everyone. So I tabled this blog post. Well, I’m about to ditch America for a few weeks and need to space on my phone. Ha! Turns out my heart has a price and that price is photo storage. 

Scotland is unfairly beautiful. Crushingly, overwhlemingly, astoundingly beautiful. I spent three full days in the Highlands driving along winding country roads taking photos out the window on the way to the Isle of Skye. The region has dynamic history that, in many ways, is tied to the US through immigration and America’s general approach to assimilating white cultures.

Though I’m not normally much of a group tour person, I got a great recommendation for the Skye High tour with Haggis Adventures out of Edinburgh. Couldn’t recommend them higher. The price was reasonable, our tour guide was friendly and super knowledgeable, and the tour was extremely well paced. I saw more than I ever would have on my own and didn’t even have to figure out how to drive on the left side of the road.


  
  
  
  


  
  
  
  


  
  

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Edinburgh

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Advocate’s Close, Edinburgh

Remember when I came back from this trip….six weeks ago? Sorry about that. After a week in London with my family (and doing some diligent drinking with my brother) I hopped on the train north to Edinburgh. What a perfectly magical city. Edinburgh is intensely walkable; just over 100 square miles. I spent three days exploring the castle, drinking tea in every tiny shop, walking through the city, checking out the National Gallery, and enjoying a beer at the pub. Kirsty, of A Safe Mooring, and Lauren, wedding photographer extraordinaire, met me for lunch at Summerhall and they even brought me their beautiful babies to admire. Transitioning internet friends into IRL friends is one of the best parts of traveling.

I arrived in Edinburgh just a few days after their historic vote for independence. Scotland will remain part of the UK for now but the political climate remained charged with people discussing the vote everywhere I went and plenty of leftover campaign signs.

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Summerhall, Edinburgh

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Pro-Independence

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Harry Potter graffiti at the Elephant Cafe, Edinburgh

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Fortitude Coffee, Edinburgh

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Breakfast in bed, Edinburgh

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Lucky Liquor Co, Edinburgh

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Edinburgh

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Edinburgh

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Queen Street Gardens, Edinburgh

London After Hours

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Social Eating Club, London

My brother and I are proud gluttons. We joke about our permanent membership in the Clean Plate Club, a club our parents invented to get us to eat dinner (as if that were ever a struggle). If the option is more Serrano, 9 times out of 10 we’re going to order another round of finely shaven pork. We savor, we relish, we order a third round of drinks.

London was a playground. I’m used to traveling alone and typically don’t drink much when I’m on my own in unfamiliar cities. With a companion we can conquer the cocktail menu in half the time and have someone to talk to while we do it. Bartending happens to be Mike’s profession so I also tag along as research assistant. Who is doing something interesting? What concepts work and which ones fall flat? Which ones could improve with tweaks? And most importantly, what tastes delicious? We met many great bartenders and visited many great bars in London. It’s hard to pick favorites so I included links to all the places we went to at the bottom. You can’t go wrong with any of them. And when in doubt, befriend a bartender and ask them for their suggestions. It is a strategy that has yet to fail me.

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Sexy flower bento box, Artesian, London

White Lyan, London | via Purple PR

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Blind Pig, London

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ROKA, London

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Sager + Wilde, London

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ROKA, London

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Sager + Wilde, London

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Fuzzy sibs

We suggest: White Lyan | 69 Colebrooke Row | Artesian | ROKA | Sager + Wilde | Mission | Look Mum No Hands | On the Bap

Others We Tried: Happiness Forgets | Blind Pig

London

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St. James Park, London

London, oh London, how I love you. This was my second trip to one of my favorite cities in the world. There’s something about the buzz, scale, and diversity of large cities that I find completely energizing. Add in a crap ton of completely free museums, an unlimited tube pass, great weather and you’re looking at a solidly kickass week.

My family hasn’t traveled all together since my brother and I were in high school. Group travel as adults as definitely a learning experience for all of us and it took us a few days to find our groove. I enjoyed my favorite museums (the V&A and Tate Modern among other) and long walks before meeting up with Mike in the evening for some aggressive cocktail research (he is a bartender, I am his enthusiastic research assistant). One of the highlights of our week in London was attending the 40,000 person strong Climate Summit march. The energy on the march was truly inspiring, so many people marching worldwide for change.

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The Evening Standard deems 55% “decisive”. Noted for future.

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Breakfast in Balham

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V&A Museum Flower Garden

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Climate Summit protest at Temple Green

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Tiny marching humans

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Mike never takes selfies….

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…nope never…

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…never ever.

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Malevich retrospective, Tate Modern, London

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A recreation of the original layout of Malevich’s 1915 Last Futurist Exhibition of Paintings 0.10, Tate Modern, London

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Hampstead High Street, London

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Family snap

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Ganton St, London