First, Scotland

Our vagabonding trip is starting in Edinburgh (not, perhaps, one’s first choice of destination in January) because some dear friends from Washington, D.C., are getting married in the 11th-century St. Margaret’s Chapel in Edinburgh Castle.

A long flight from Washington on SAS to Copenhagen, hours in the airport there, then a fairly quick hop on BMI to Edinburgh left us jet-lagged and weary. (For the love of God, avoid the hot sausage sandwich on BMI: mushy bread, fatty links, and brown sauce. Not what you want on an otherwise empty stomach when the plane hits turbulence.)

In the city, we rented a great apartment (6 St. Giles Street) off the Royal Mile just a few blocks from the castle with two U.S. friends, the groomsmen at the wedding. We locked our bags at the train station (for 6 pounds per bag—yikes!) and spent the hours until our apartment was ready strolling the streets and visiting the National Gallery of Scotland. To my (Melissa’s) sleepy eyes, the town at first seemed mostly grey and damp, a bit depressing, and full of bars. But it’s starting to grow on me.

I was struck by the 8- to 10-story buildings of the Old Town. How unusual it looks to see very tall, very old buildings made of stone—early skyscrapers!

The art museum was a bit of a disappointment and served as a good reminder of just how lucky we were to have had access to the museums of D.C. in our years there. There were a very few great pieces (such as a beautiful Singer Sargent portrait), some good Scottish paintings on the ground floor, and a lot of middling works. Chris was struck by how traditionally European an art museum looks with high ceilings, walls lined with red fabric, and paintings hung two or three above each other. A more lavish feel than the spare simplicity of U.S. art museums. Kind of like being in the drawing room of a mansion—not an impression you get from U.S. museums.

A warm bath, a cup of (strikingly good) British tea, and we fell into bed—on our first night on the Grand Adventure.

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