A Travellerspoint blog


"Dear Edinburgh, how I remember you, your winter cakes and tea, your bright red fire, your swirling cloaks and clouds," Lain Chrichton Smith

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I'm fairly sure I was meant to live here. 100_1591.jpg

There is something so deeply satisfying about this city...like a freshly baked loaf of bread. The buildings are made of a creamy tan limestone which gives a beautiful consistency to the city. The dark green grass and the bright red summer flowers welcome this warm season and the people drape themselves on the lawns of every available green space, soaking up the rare bursts of sun and reveling in their glorious town.

Everywhere we turn, there is something that charms -- the coffee houses, the colorful wool, the glory in their saints and writers and queens. We ask directions and people graciously share their time. Even though we speak the same language, we estimate we understand about one third of what they're saying. But we nod and they can tell by the looks on our faces that we have no idea what they've just said. A classic case when asking directions to our hotel. They give me the address and I tune in, alarmed. "Our hotel is fairly rude?" "No, No," the guide explains. "It's just on Fairy Road, nothing rude about it" This happens daily. 100_1585.jpg

We join the masses of tourists visiting the Castle of Edinburgh, taking a bus out to Rosslyn Chapel, trying haggis and welsh rarebit and the beers that are brewed locally. Tomorrow, we take a ride out to the Highlands.

Posted by Queen Anne 15:49 Archived in Scotland Tagged family_travel Comments (0)


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While we like to think of ourselves as sophisticated city dwellers, the fact of the matter is that London overwhelms. Taxis zipping down the road, commuters hopping on and off the underground, millions of tourists all scrunched together in lines...it is a lot of civilized activity in one place. And we're all a bit jet lagged so the bustling pace leaves us rubbing our eye and hunting for decent coffee.

But in no time, we've picked up our game and are fully in the swing. Since neither Analiese or Lang have explored London before, our goal is to see as much as we can in the few days we have to visit. We make our list and head out the door of the Glenlyn Guest House.

Day one - Starbucks, London Bridge, Tower of London

Day two - British Museum, Harrods, Camden

Day three - Oxford Via Coach

Day four - Freud Museum, Big Ben, Westminster, Parliament, Buckingham Palace

A scratch in the surface...but a deep scratch. We return each night to our little guest house exhausted. One night, Analiese is running ahead as we get off the subway. "Where are you going so quickly?" we call after her. "I'm running so I can get into bed."

Posted by Queen Anne 01:04 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged family_travel Comments (0)


British Museum

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10:00 am


11:00 am

1:00 pm

1:30 pm

5:00 pm

8:00 pm

Posted by Queen Anne 02:19 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Anne Frank

We arrive into Amsterdam after a perfect flight. An extended layover gives us an opportunity to do a few hours of exploring so we take the train and head into the city. In this early morning hour, we are surrounded by commuters and we marvel at the thousands of bicycles that sit outside the train station. 161.jpg Most impressive are the folding bikes. About the size of a large briefcase, a commuter will carry it under their arm as they disembark from the train. Then, like a magician, they will unhook a few latches and fling the bike into action. We watch with admiration as they zoom down the bumpy street.

Our goal is the hiding place of Anne Frank where over one million people come each year to visit. As we wait in line, we watch as people from around the world come to join us. Languages, many that we do not recognize, are spoken around us. We set down our paperbacks and simply listen. 127.jpg

Though I've been before, I'm drawn again to this quiet spot by the opportunity to feel something of this ordinary family. There is a poignant mixture of optimism and hopelessness that sit side by side in those tiny rooms -- the movie star photos on the wall, the funny menu Anne typed for a birthday dinner, the postcard where Mr. Franks pinpoints the movement of the Allies -- the spirit of these people leaves us aching for them.

Analiese comments that Anne looks so much like our friend Nicole and indeed, the similarity is striking...the same beautiful face and eyes full of mischief and intelligence. And Anne's full name was Anneliese...another commonality. Our Analiese begins to comprehend that these were people just like us.

As we make our way back to the train, we comment that Mr. Frank might have appropriately locked away his daughter's diary and grieved alone -- Anne's story just another tale lost amongst the millions. We are humbled by Mr. Frank's vision and inspired by his determination. What can we do to right wrongs?

Posted by Queen Anne 01:19 Archived in Netherlands Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

The Scramble

"He who would travel happily must travel light." -- Antoine de St. Exupery

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Monday Morning -- 5:30 am

My brain wakes up before my body - we're so close to being ready to walk out the door but there are about 42 final things we must do before we can open our books and commence reading. I've decided to resurrect an old Agatha Christie for this journey -- vicars, gardening, sherry in the afternoon...the perfect antidote to the stress we've all been feeling these past few weeks. Plus, she slips neatly into my backpack.


"One bag...just one bag. You'll be so glad you did!" It's been my mantra for the past week as we've gathered up items to take with us. Very little makes it into my "absolutely must be taken" category and I look with pride at my tidy bag packed with neutral colors, comfortable shoes, and the barest of necessities. Analiese has a much wider allowance. Shoes for every occasion, stuffed animals, reading material -- fashion and comfort are her priorities. Langston has carefully calculated how much technology he can slip into a carry-on and has loaded movies, games, and books onto a thumb drive. We will not be bored.

8:30 am

Finally, all tasks finally completed -- bills paid, bags packed, papers cancelled, work disconnected, zippers zipped, cat kissed....we're ready. We stand on the porch surveying our bags. "Did you remember your comfortable set of headphones? No? Then hurry and grab the door before it locks behi... never mind. They'll give you some on the plane."


A taxi is waiting to take us to Westlake where we're going to try our hand at the lightrail. It's raining which makes departing Seattle during the best months of the year much easier. Plus it’s cold…did I remember to turn off the heat?


11:45 am

Within two hours, we're nestled in our seats on Delta Airlines about to make our way across America. A smooth departure and we’re in the air. I glance at Lang and Analiese who have headphones coming out their ears and are gleefully sorting through the entertainment selections. I accept the offer of a glass of red wine with my lunch and reach in my backpack for Agatha.


Posted by Queen Anne 02:52 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

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