Scotland: Day 2 – Culross, Stirling, William Wallace, Doune and Outlander

Thursday, December 12th 2019 (my first full, proper day in Scotland) dawned drizzle free, and I was awake before my alarm! Bags swiftly packed, I shoveled them in the rental and had a yummy vegan breakfast – my first of many in bonny Scotland. Then I was off for a whirlwind tour of castles, towns, and filming locations!

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Mizen Head and West Cork

As is the roundabout and fickle unpredictable nature of my travels, I ended up staying for several weeks at a friend’s B+B in West Cork. It was February (re: slow season) 2018, and I was able to make myself useful helping my friend catch up on some behind the scenes office work, organization, and downsizing tasks. Being in this warm, loving space was just what my soul craved, and it was three weeks of much needed healing and growth.

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Lessons on the Water

I think we can all agree these are pretty crazy times. Covid-19 has laid the WORLD low, and my mental and emotional state has, as I’m sure many people’s have also, been incredibly up and down for the past few weeks. Continue reading

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Scotland: Land of Monsters and Kelpies

And bagpipes, Tartan, clans, Hielan Coos, Scotch Whisky… the list goes on! When I started getting into Whisk(e)y, I knew I wanted to visit Scotland. But that wasn’t the only reason, not by far. Knowing my love of Ireland, I was swept away by all the lush and rugged beauty of Scotland. Gaelic music stirs my soul, and I was keen to experience all that bonny Scotland offered in abundance. (Not gunna lie…Outlander might’ve had a wee bit to do with this burning desire, too… But hey – not only do the arts provide an escape from reality, they inspire world travels, culture, self expansion…!) Continue reading

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A New Look on New Year’s

Ever since moving to New York at 18, I’d fallen into the trap of trying to make every New Year’s Eve as raucous and debaucherous as possible. I had a good run of it, too; New York City in general, and Queen of the Night specifically, were ideal places for just such behavior.

But the older I got, and the more I sought out connection and a fun encounter, the more disappointed I was left. The build up, the hype, the crushing letdown of unmet expectations. It was frustrating, to say the least. Add on top of that I was getting to spend more and more NYEs in different countries and had higher hopes, only to be left sick or alone. I was becoming disillusioned with the whole thing. Continue reading

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Uisga Beatha

Uisga Beatha (pronounced Oosh-kah Bae [Scottish] or Ish–kah Baha [Irish]) is Gaelic for ‘The Water of Life’ and used to describe that liquid golden nectar: Whisky. Why is Uisga Beathe synonymous with Whisky? Well, take your pick; from claims that it cured the common cold, smallpox, and other various ailments, not to mention warming the body against the chill of those harsh Scottish winters, back in the day, distilled liquor was safer than water to drink.

Today, we’re going to look at how this wonderful (and, arguably, healthful!) drink is made.

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In Bruges

The extent of my knowledge about Bruges was that a movie with Colin Farrell had come out some years ago with the same name. No idea what it was about*, but when I got to Belgium and Kim was like, “I’m taking you to Bruges this weekend!” I was all in.

Maybe it’s because I haven’t been to a quintessentially old-school European city in over 10 years, or maybe it’s because I’m an adult now and see and appreciate things through a different perspective, or maybe it’s simple the magic of the city itself, but I was enamored with Bruges from the outset.

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The Pinnacles

One of the last things I did before leaving Wellington was take a day trip with some friends to The Pinnacles – a natural land formation that is quite unique and impressive. Oh yeah, it was also a LotR film site 😉

Iconic as The Dimholt Road (the path Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli traverse to reach the City of the Dead), the Putangirua Pinnacles are located in Cape Palliser, a 2hr drive from Wellington, and well worth a visit on a nice day! These tall, thin earth pillars (hoodoos) were formed by wind and water erosion, and provide a truly dramatic backdrop – no wonder Sir Peter Jackson used them in Return of the King!

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#classicNZ

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An Unpleasant Surprise at the Festival

I went to the Colorado Renaissance Festival today. The weather was perfect, and I was flying stag – I could spend as much time meandering, browsing, and drinking as I wanted! It would be grand!

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Amsterdam: City of Houseboats and Bicycles

I got to take a spur-of-the-moment trip to Amsterdam, city of houseboats, bicycles, legalized marijuana use, and, oh yeah, prostitution! I was in the city less than 5 minutes before I caught the first pungent whiffs of weed, passed a pot shop, and wandered by a brothel which a business man was just leaving. Nothing like a little lunch break pick-me-up, amiright?

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