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Sunday, 29 May 2016

371: Amsterdam

Yesterday I got up at silly o'clock in the morning and drove my little hire car from Golspie to Edinburgh. There I returned it to those nice car hire people and caught a plane to Amsterdam, where I had just a few hours to spare before my connecting flight to Warsaw.
What to do I asked myself. And then I asked my old pal Matt Grattan, who lives not far from there. He gave me several tips and the one I took him up on was to cross the "body of water" by (free) ferry  from Amsterdam Central station and sit cuddling a beer and watching the world go around. It was an absolutely beautiful day for it. I say "body of water" because it isn't a river and it isn't a lake. It is, in Dutch, the Ij, and it is Amsterdam's waterfront. It is also where the Rhine river cruise ships dock and I was there last December when the cruise ship laid on a taxi to take us the 100m to the station. Sitting supping my beer I made a mental note to myself to spend more time in Amsterdam in the future and to explore more of what the city has to offer. This time there was only enough time for a quick beer and then a very packed, standing-room only, train back to the airport.  Back in Warsaw now and no more travels until Friday when I will take a train to Łodż and watch a concert given by the man shown in the video below.
By Oxyman - Own work, CC BY 2.5,

Thursday, 26 May 2016

370: Boys will be boys or, the Lairig Ghru

My friend Aliisdair last walked the Lairig Ghru, a 20 mile pass through the highlands of Scotland, more than 50 years ago - when he was a young soldier. It was in the middle of winter and the whole route was covered in snow. He is planning to walk it again, (but not in the snow!) perhaps raising some money for charity along the way, and yesterday I helped with the first recce. We walked for almost 6 hours and covered almost 13 miles. Today the legs are a tad wobbly.
On the way back, to avoid getting bored coming back the same way as we went out, we decided, on the toss of a coin, to try a different route. All was going well until we came to a river with no obvious way of crossing it and staying dry. We followed its course a few hundred yards and found this "footbridge". I suppose that when we were younger we might have boldly strolled across, like tightrope walkers, using our arms to balance ourselves. But these days caution prevails and we sat on the tree trunk and inched our way across.

And a song to finish? What could be more appropriate than "river deep and mountain high"!

Monday, 23 May 2016

369: the goose drank wine

Sorry I haven't written for a while - where does the time go? If there are any quantum physicists reading this, please feel free to enlighten me.
I'm in Golspie this week after an uneventful KLM flight from Warsaw to Edinburgh via Amsterdam  on Saturday. Strangely, it was the same crew on the 2nd leg.  I hired a car from Edinburgh airport to drive the last 220 miles North.
This morning I made my annual pilgrimage  to "The Mannie". Here are a couple of pictures to record the event for posterity.
From the bottom looking up:
From the top looking up:
From the top looking down:
From the top looking down: (it's past time to get some sun on those legs!)

And now a song to tie in with the 369th blog: