Joined March 2022 Message
  • Day100

    Driving to Isle of Skye, Scotland

    August 16 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 13 °C

    We picked up our rental car in Glasgow and headed north to the middle of Scotland to the Isle of Skye. We are now in the highlands. These are some photos we took of our 5 hour drive northward.

    The town we are staying in is called Kyleankin, which we thought was pronounced Ky-lean-kin. However as we got closer we saw the Gaelic spelling on a sign as Caol Acain (and heard Google maps pronounce it). So we now know the pronunciation is closer to Kyle-ankin. Third is funny because we told a local we are driving to Ky-lean-kin at lunch and he said, "never heard of it". Now we know why.Read more

    John Emerson

    A82 to A87 drive had to be awesome. if you go hiking on the Isle of Skye please be careful. Has to be cool beside the Ocean. Has to be some tasty fishies for dinner. . Be safe. love ya both

    David Du Buron

    Will do!

    John Emerson

    Hope you have some rain gear w u . looks a little rainy as I track your locations via weather channel🙄😏😉

    David Du Buron

    We do, today is much nicer than yesterday. Monday of the week is rainy though.

     
  • Day96

    Glasgow, Scotland

    August 12 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Glasgow is the largest city by population in Scotland and 4th largest in the UK. Dave and I were excited to go to this city as we both have ancestry that hail from the area. Glasgow had a metropolitan feel that was a little gritty and yet charming at the same time with the river cutting through it. Although there weren't any true show stopping attractions we had a fabulous time here. Glasgow itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its music. With numerous live bands every night featuring traditional Scottish music, blues, and jazz it was hard not to have fun in this city. We also enjoyed some proper tea at a few tea rooms as well as listened to some of the bagpiping as the World Piping Championships were hosted here during our stay.Read more

    Reminds me of our day visiting the "Rock Clan" 4 years ago !! [EE]

    David Du Buron

    Yeah, that was a fun day trip. Good memory.

    I suppose when you get to be in your late 70's you can be a band sitting down !! [EE]

    David Du Buron

    HAHAHA

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  • Day96

    Auchentoshan, Glasgow Scottland

    August 12 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Founded by Irish refugees in 1825 on the outskirts of Glasgow, Auchentoshan is one of the last active distilleries in the Lowlands. In common with other Lowland (and Irish) whiskies, Auchentoshan malt whisky is distilled three times (as opposed to most Scottish malt whisky, which is distilled twice). This triple-distillation has the effect of softening the flavour and body of the end product. If you don't like Scotch because it's to harsh and tastes peaty, this distillery is for you. Softer mild flavors are what distinguish many Scotchs from the lowlands of Scottland and they are to more of our liking. Our tour guide called this a breakfast scotch, so there you go.

    We chose this distillery because Emily and Dave had a bottle of Auchentoshan at home. A bartender at a whiskey bar in Lowell called "The Keep" recommended it to us when we said we didn't like the peaty taste of Scotch. When we found out the distillery was on our path we had to visit.
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    Fred Du Buron

    I need a straw...

    Debbie Du Buron

    what is this contraption. looks like a tall candy kiss

    David Du Buron

    It's a still, they boil water at the bottom and it rises up the tube, then condenses at the neck. Because water, alcohol, etc have different boiling points, it allows them to separate the substances and get a higher alcohol % on the product.

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  • Day95

    Edinburgh Scotland

    August 11 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Edinburgh is the capital of Scotland (although Glasgow is bigger by population). It's population is 527K making it similar to Genoa by population and between Riga (641K) and Tallinn (449K), to give some comparisons.

    It has been the capital of Scotland since the 15th century. As of a 1999 election the Scottish Parliament moved back to Edinburgh from London, solidifying its self rule.

    Emily and Dave were blown away by the architecture of Edinburgh. It's mostly monochromatic "yellow gray" facades are very beautiful. This was exemplified by St. Mary's Cathedral, which was just down the street from us. We've seen some beautiful cathedrals in our travels, but this one was very different. It's not as intricate, per se, as Florence's or Siena's Cathedral, but it's (again) "yellow gray" bricks were beautiful. We could stop taking pictures of it under different times of day.

    The cuisine was interesting. We tried the obvious favorites of Fish and chips, the "Full Scottish Breakfast," which included Haggis, and lastly some Scotch. Besides the "FSB," the workday takeaway breakfast of choice seems to be the Breakfast Roll (we also saw it called the Morning Roll). It's really nothing more than a vet narrowly defined Breakfast sandwich. The bread is always a fairly big roll (cut in half and buttered). It is filled with eggs and/or sausage and/or haggis and/or a hashbrown. I say "and/or," because you pay per item. Although one item is included, which I assume would be reserved for the egg. Interestingly, cheese was NEVER an available topping. Not one single time we saw it on the menu.
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    John Emerson

    Looks Yummy.

    Fred Du Buron

    your Mom is going to love this

    Fred Du Buron

    amazing against this sky

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  • Day93

    Edinburgh Castle, Scotland

    August 9 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

    SCOTLAND’S BIGGEST ATTRACTION STILL STANDS PROUD ABOVE ITS CAPITAL CITY 900 YEARS AFTER ITS INCEPTION

    It’s estimated there were once around 3,000 castles in Scotland but one stands head and shoulders above the rest: Edinburgh Castle’s history is marked by violence, political and religious intrigue, and the rise and fall of monarchs.

    Nevertheless, today, Edinburgh’s iconic fortress is the country’s number one paid-for tourist attraction. Inside you can view some of the nation’s most treasured possessions, including the Honours of Scotland, or Scotland’s Crown Jewels.

    THE ORIGINS OF EDINBURGH CASTLE

    Sitting atop an extinct volcano, Edinburgh Castle offers an excellent vantage point across the city. It was a natural site for a building that combined defence, control and honour.

    ATTACKS ON EDINBURGH CASTLE

    As a military stronghold and the most prestigious building in Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh Castle was captured and recaptured many times. In fact, it’s been besieged more than any other place in Britain, with 23 recorded attempts to ‘capture the castle’. Taking the castle wasn’t just a tactical coup for Scotland’s enemies but a blow to the morale of the Scots. Violent tensions, often between England and Scotland, are now consigned to the history books but conflicts were brutal and unforgiving.

    Captured in 1296 by England’s King Edward I, the Scots reclaimed it with a night attack in 1314. The English successfully attacked again in 1335 before, in 1341, Scots disguised as merchants took it back. Cromwell’s forces occupied the castle in 1650. At one point it was even handed over to the English as a ransom payment. It was captured twice by Covenanters in the 17th century, fighting against King Charles I’s imposition of Episcopacy. Bloody battles ensued with the Jacobites in the 18th century.

    SCOTLAND’S CROWN JEWELS

    Scotland’s Crown Jewels, or the Honours of Scotland, are on display in the Crown Room. These include a sceptre presented to King James IV by Pope Alexander VI in 1494; a sword, gifted in 1507 by Pope Julius II; and the crown, which was first worn for the coronation of Mary of Guise in 1540.

    As potent symbols of the Scottish monarchy, protecting the jewels was paramount. In the 1650s, the Honours were whisked to Dunnottar Castle, in the northeast of Scotland, then onto the small village of Kinneff, to evade Cromwell’s Parliamentarian Army.

    After the Union of England and Scotland in 1707, they were locked away and not seen again until 1818. During WWII the Honours of Scotland were tucked away below a medieval latrine closet in case of Nazi invasion.

    Another key attraction is the Stone of Destiny. Present at the coronation of Scottish monarchs for centuries, the stone – while unassuming to look at – is powerfully symbolic. In 1296, King Edward I of England removed the stone from Scone Palace in Perthshire and had it built into his own throne at Westminster Abbey.

    On Christmas Day in 1950, four Scottish students managed to steal the stone. Its disappearance caused uproar and its location was a mystery until it was found, draped in The Saltire, outside Arbroath Abbey in 1951. This was no random drop off point but the site where the Declaration of Arbroath – in which Scotland’s nobles swore their independence from England – was written in 1320. The stone was returned to London until, in 1996, it was given back to Scotland. It will only leave the country again for a coronation at Westminster ’s Abbey in London.

    The oldest existing part of the castle – which is also Edinburgh’s most antiquated building – is St Margaret’s Chapel, which dates from the 12th century.

    The chapel was built by King David I to commemorate his mother, Queen Margaret (later St Margaret).

    In time, King David II added David’s Tower, which was residential and defensive in design. The grand Great Hall was the work of King James IV. Its key feature is a wooden roof with beams resting on stones engraved with symbols of Scotland and its monarchs. Today its walls glisten with an impressive display of swords, shields, suits of armour and weaponry.

    ATTACKS ON EDINBURGH CASTLE

    As a military stronghold and the most prestigious building in Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh Castle was captured and recaptured many times. In fact, it’s been besieged more than any other place in Britain, with 23 recorded attempts to ‘capture the castle’. Taking the castle wasn’t just a tactical coup for Scotland’s enemies but a blow to the morale of the Scots. Violent tensions, often between England and Scotland, are now consigned to the history books but conflicts were brutal and unforgiving.

    Captured in 1296 by England’s King Edward I, the Scots reclaimed it with a night attack in 1314. The English successfully attacked again in 1335 before, in 1341, Scots disguised as merchants took it back. Cromwell’s forces occupied the castle in 1650. At one point it was even handed over to the English as a ransom payment. It was captured twice by Covenanters in the 17th century, fighting against King Charles I’s imposition of Episcopacy. Bloody battles ensued with the Jacobites in the 18th century.

    THE ASCENT OF KING JAMES VI

    As a thriving tourist attraction today, the Royal Palace within Edinburgh Castle is a big draw as it was the home of Scotland’s kings and queens. A highlight is a small room where events unfolded that changed British history. In 1566 the birth chamber saw the arrival of a little boy, son of Mary, Queen of Scots, who was made King James VI of Scotland just a year later.

    Mary, Queen of Scots’ strained relations with England led her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, to sign her death warrant. When Queen Elizabeth I died without issue, the bloodlines led back to Mary’s son James. In 1603 the crowns of England and Scotland were united and James VI of Scotland also became King James I of England and Ireland.

    In 1617 King James I returned to Edinburgh Castle to celebrate his Golden Jubilee. His birth chamber was redecorated for the occasion: it’s still possible to see the gilded decoration.

    SCOTLAND’S CROWN JEWELS

    Scotland’s Crown Jewels, or the Honours of Scotland, are on display in the Crown Room. These include a sceptre presented to King James IV by Pope Alexander VI in 1494; a sword, gifted in 1507 by Pope Julius II; and the crown, which was first worn for the coronation of Mary of Guise in 1540.

    As potent symbols of the Scottish monarchy, protecting the jewels was paramount. In the 1650s, the Honours were whisked to Dunnottar Castle, in the northeast of Scotland, then onto the small village of Kinneff, to evade Cromwell’s Parliamentarian Army.

    After the Union of England and Scotland in 1707, they were locked away and not seen again until 1818. During WWII the Honours of Scotland were tucked away below a medieval latrine closet in case of Nazi invasion.

    Another key attraction is the Stone of Destiny. Present at the coronation of Scottish monarchs for centuries, the stone – while unassuming to look at – is powerfully symbolic. In 1296, King Edward I of England removed the stone from Scone Palace in Perthshire and had it built into his own throne at Westminster Abbey.

    On Christmas Day in 1950, four Scottish students managed to steal the stone. Its disappearance caused uproar and its location was a mystery until it was found, draped in The Saltire, outside Arbroath Abbey in 1951. This was no random drop off point but the site where the Declaration of Arbroath – in which Scotland’s nobles swore their independence from England – was written in 1320. The stone was returned to London until, in 1996, it was given back to Scotland. It will only leave the country again for a coronation in london.

    EDINBURGH’S MILITARY LINKS

    Edinburgh Castle’s colourful military past has created other poignant sites on the sprawling complex, which adds a brutal reality to the tales of invasion, duplicity and heroics. The National War Museum of Scotland first opened in 1933 and covers 400 years of conflict. The Prisons of War exhibition tells of the inmates who languished in the castle, from pirates captured off Argyll to a five-year-old drummer boy from the Battle of Trafalgar.

    The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards still have a small military garrison at the castle, but it’s the National War Memorial that often stops people in their tracks. It opened in 1927, when the architect Sir Robert Lorimer and 200 Scottish artists and craftsmen first created a Hall of Honour and Shrine, which features delicate stained glass and sculptures dedicated to Scotland’s lost generations and the names of the fallen on the Rolls of Honour.

    THE ONE O’ CLOCK GUN

    One of the greatest appeals of Edinburgh Castle is that it’s still part of the city’s daily life. The firing of the One O’Clock Gun, which once allowed ships in the Firth of Forth to set their maritime clocks, still marks time in ‘Auld Reekie’. The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and summer concerts are also huge draws.

    And the biggest party of the year is, of course, Hogmanay, where new year celebrations see fireworks light up the skies, musicians performing and revellers partying as the nation – and the whole world – celebrate with the people of Edinburgh and its mighty castle.
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    John Emerson

    Awesome castle. Amazing how well the structures survive over 100 s of years

    EDuBu

    it is, especially seeing this castle has seen 23 seiges, one of the most conflict ridden castles in the world.

    Debbie Du Buron

    I'm hooked on Scotland

    EDuBu

    very easy to be, it is beautiful thus far

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  • Day92

    Edinburgh National Museum, Scotland

    August 8 in the United Kingdom ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    The Edinburgh National Museum is a free museum in Edinburgh Scotland. It acts as a Natural History Museum, Science Museum and a History Museum. It was pretty massive. We spent most of our time in the History area to get the story first-hand.

    They had a very interesting Geological exhibit about where the Scotland island was millions of years ago. Around the Pangaea timeframe. The said around 440 million years ago Scotland was actually joined to North America and Greenland. It was not yet connected to Britain. Later when Scotland and Britain did join (410 million years ago) it created a distinctive mountain range (now largely eroded) that acts as a natural barrier (now called the Border Hills) between these two regions.

    There was also an exhibit on how the Protestant reformation caused a complicated fracturing and merging of many different churches in Scotland.

    There were a number of other interesting exhibits which you can see in the pictures below. Truth be told we only glanced through the Natural and Science Museum areas despite them being pictured below.
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    Fred Du Buron

    very cool... love machines like this

    Fred Du Buron

    no Crosby?

     
  • Day91

    Tallinn Estonia

    August 7 in Estonia ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Formerly the conquest of greater powers – Danish, Swedish, Polish, German and Soviet – Tallinn is now a proud European capital with an allure all of its own. It's lively yet peaceful, absurdly photogenic and bursting with wonderful sights – ancient churches, medieval streetscapes and noble merchants' houses. Throw in delightful food and vibrant modern culture and it's no wonder Tallinn is the most visited Baltic country of the three.

    Dave and I enjoyed walking around Old town which is one of the best preserved old towns in europe. Tallinn is known also for its hipster esque restaurants and cafes, street art, as well as its craft beer scene. Although Dave and I liked Tallinn the least of the 3 baltic capitals (most touristed, locals working in tourism/restaurants dressed up in medieval clothing so it had a disneyland feel) we still had a great time here and found the city enjoyable.
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    Fred Du Buron

    yum

    Debbie Du Buron

    okay I give up what the black thing. i can't even guess

    David Du Buron

    Glad you asked, we went to a restaurant that specialized in dumplings. At the top was classic (beef and pork), the black ones were chicken and shrimp, the last ones were lamb and garlic and were easily the best.

    EDuBu

    hey I liked the chicken and shrimp the best 👌

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  • Day90

    Helsinki, Finland

    August 6 in Finland ⋅ ☁️ 17 °C

    Today we took a trip to Helsinki, Finland. We came over from Tallinn, Estonia via a 2 hour ferry ride. The Nordics are nourishing expensive, so we didn't splurge on any museums today.

    A few items of note, while there we visited Temppeliaukio Church. A Lutheran church designed by architects Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen. The Church is built directly into solid rock, it is also known the Rock Church.

    The meal pictures was a traditional Finnish meal. Shown on th3 bottom is Sautéed reindeer with mashed potatoes & lingonberries. At top is a creamy salmon soup, with traditional rye bread and butter.

    On the ferry back to Tallinn, we were serenaded to Finnish and Estonian Karaoke! A few songs were in English, though. We did get to hear someone with a Russian-ish accent butcher Billy Joel's "She's Always a Woman." I think he was dedicating it to his girlfriend / wife. Hopefully, his day job wasn't playing in a Billy Joel cover band, "Goodnight St. Petersburg" (instead of Saigon... best I could come up with).
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    Debbie Du Buron

    wow looks like a big piano

    Debbie Du Buron

    How did the reindeer taste? Could you eat the soup David?

    EDuBu

    I was surprised the reindeer was excellent. Actually tasted like a slightly leaner shredded beef. you'd have a hard time telling them apart it wasn't that gamey at all. Dave tried the salmon from my soup it was very good although he stayed away from my cream based broth.

    Totally funny !! Before I read your caption, I was wondering how they were remodeling up there !! LOL [EE]

     
  • Day88

    Estonian History Museum-Great Guild Hall

    August 4 in Estonia ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    Today we went to the Tallinn Great Guild Hall, the former site of the Merchant Guild in Tallinn. The Guild Hall became the Stock Exchange building in 1872, before becoming a museum in 1952.

    The museum had an exhibit of some traditional musical instruments, history of the building itself and a weapons collection with a brief history of wars involving Estonia.

    One interesting modern fact of Estonia is that when it gained its incidence in 1991 (along with Lithuania and Latvia), it faced a period of great poverty. Until a decision was made for the country to make heavy investments in technology. Since the 90s were the beginning of the information age, Estonia realized it was on a level playing field with other countries. Today, Estonia is a major tech hub and the most wealthy of these 3 Baltic states. We actually watched a video showing elementary school children programming robots to navigate mazes. Estonia can also boast that the popular web video calling platform Skype hails from an Estonian tech start-up (now a part of a Microsoft).

    You can learn more about Estonia's rise at the link below.
    https://youtu.be/GqLJA7sXD-c
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    Fred Du Buron

    What's this?

    David Du Buron

    If you can read the plaque, it's a mignon typewriter. It offers a stylus to type Russian like characters... to it seems at least.

    Fred Du Buron

    excellent! This is some great historical detail that I have never seen before. Thanks for taking pictures of those panels.

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  • Day84

    Riga, Latvia

    July 31 in Latvia ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Riga is the coastal capital of the Baltic country Latvia. Situated on the Baltic Sea, Riga felt like a much busier city than Vilnius, Lithuania. Riga had a true metropolitan feel.

    In addition to exploring its old town, we got to stop through its downtown and it felt like any major US city. Its population is roughly equivalent to Nashville, DC, and Boston (not including larger metro areas).

    Its old town was probably the smaller of those in the 3 Baltic countries, I am writing this while we are having lunch in Tallin, but still quite grand and beautiful.
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    Fred Du Buron

    Can't wait to hear more. I've heard some interesting things about this country.

    David Du Buron

    pictures are coming... sometimes we do a partial upload so the other person can add their stuff. We're working between two phones.

    Fred Du Buron

    hey...I just woke up... I know that

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