Expat life: 3 years in Scotland

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One of my many sketches of Edinburgh Castle

I was amazed to realize we’ve now been in Scotland for longer than we lived in Switzerland or Italy. I mean, our first year here was so strange that it almost doesn’t count. And the past two years have had a different quality about them, as well – a combination of “WTF just happened to us?”, “Yay, everything’s fabulous!”, and “What if it comes back?”.  But the longer we live here, the easier it becomes to separate the Edinburgh experience from the leukemia experience. These days we have a lot of acquaintances here who don’t know Scott was ever sick. We’re just two regular old American expats in Edinburgh, two among many. Continue reading

Orkney Islands: hiking Hoy

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On our second morning in the Orkneys, we woke up to snow. It was lovely to look at, but made us wonder about our plan to catch the ferry to Hoy for the day. From what we had read, Hoy was supposed to be very beautiful, but there wouldn’t be much to do there if the weather wasn’t cooperating. While we were at breakfast, the sun came out. Continue reading

Orkney Islands: diving into prehistory

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Sheep exploring the outside of Maes Howe burial mound.

The Orkneys contain a fair number of prehistoric sites to entertain the tourist. Most of these sites boast superlatives such as “the oldest known X”, “the most complete Y”, or “the only Z still in existence”, so it’s hard not to think that one really ought the visit them (even if one is not a fan of pottery shards or overly ruinous ruins). Continue reading

Orkney Islands: in and around Kirkwall

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Kirkwall Harbour

There are a few different ferries from Scotland to the Orkneys; we took the hour-long one from Gills Bay to South Ronaldsay. From there it was a short drive across the Churchill Barriers to our B&B on Mainland.  Continue reading

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