Trysil 2005

Olaf's grandparents house in TrysilWe just got back from our second trip to Trysil, Norway, having experienced a skiing extravaganza hosted by Olaf. We flew into Oslo and took the bus up (about 3h), as before. Stayed at Olaf’s grandparents old place, just a short walk from the bottom of the ski lifts.

The Trysil crew - Jasmina, Olaf, Jill and Marco Had some really great weather, great skiing and good company with Olaf, Jill and Marco. We also learned some interesting facts — for example, the spice cumin is frequently confused with carroway. Long story.

Dogsledding in TrysilHighlights included dogsledding, the skiing of course, and playing Norwegian Trivial Pursuit (only Olaf speaks Norwegian, so you can guess how that went).

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We continued on to the Netherlands for three days and then on to Serbia to visit Jasmina’s family. More on that later.

Australian Tour 2004

Sydney Opera House & harbour ferryJust got back from a much-needed trip home. Caught up with Goran & Lidija in Sydney, then drove down to Canberra for a workshop at Mount Stromlo. After that it was on to Melbourne to stay with Stu & Belinda. I was pretty busy with a talk on the 5th at U. Melbourne and XMM proposals. Finally got to the actual holiday part at mum & dad’s place in Maroochydore, where I spent plenty of time on the beach but also made my leisurely way through Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver (I’m still in two minds about whether to continue with the sequel).

New Orleans

Bourbon St.Here for 4 days (also for the first time) to attend a meeting at the Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter. Think narrow streets, elaborate & colorful facades, louvered french doors opening onto high-ceilinged rooms & the occasional gaslight. Bourbon street is apalling but fun, great if you like booze and jazz, but I also discovered the Tin Men, who are pretty damn awesome. Something for the gadget freaks too with the registration package, how did I ever live without this? Photo courtesy Paul O’Neill

Dundee – Perth – Edinburgh

This morning we went into Dundee again to do some more shopping (naturally, we eventually ended up at a pub). I couldn’t find anything for Jasmina but bought a nice little crystal trinket for June.
Around 11 we went over to June’s place and then I went with Tracy to visit grandma. She was in a pretty good mood, pretty bright and cheery. I gave her Morag’s present &emdash; a picture of Jasmina & I at our wedding, very thoughtful gift. After a little while I bade her goodbye – Tracy’s strategy is to say she’s going to work – and we went back to Junes.
I raided her photo collection, Susi is going to scan the rest of the old photos of grandma’s and send them to me on a CD, hopefully. This technology is wonderful. I gave June the present and she gave me everyone’s birthdays, as well as Susi’s address (incl. email). Then we headed off for Perth.
Moira was there with Ian and Cara and a friend of hers. She’s much better now but wasn’t yet up to coming with us on a walk along the riverbank. We went up to the railway bridge, crossed over to the town side, down again and back over on Perth bridge. Nice little town, lots of flowers around at the moment (Ian said that’s just a temporary thing). We ordered some delivery Indian food for dinner and had a few drinks and chatted.
Got back to Kinross about 10:30, threw the bags in the room and called Jasmina, then went to sleep. Set the alarm for 4:30 the next morning… ugh.
London
Dad dropped me off at the airport the next day, foggy and rapidly brightening as the sun rose. Got into London very early, Sunday morning and nothing was open. Wandered around listlessly for a while, there was a market of some sort setting up so I hung around for a while and checked it out. Time was running out so I headed back to the airport by tube and home to Boston. Great trip.

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Dundee and St. Andrews

St. Andrew's, Scotland 2Got a reasonably early start and headed into Dundee to do a bit of shopping. Some nice shopping centres and one touristy shop but couldn’t find anything really appealing. Did find a starbucks though.
Back to June’s and then to the home to pick up grandma. She was in good spirits, a little more energetic at 11 o’clock in the morning. We took her round to Emma’s and saw her and Emily, then Susie came round for lunch as well. Watched Monsters Inc. and chatted for a while, managed to get in touch with Steve K. and arranged to meet that evening. Grandma was getting a bit anxious, perhaps because she was in a more unfamiliar environment & surrounded by more people she didn’t recognize, so we packed her back off to the home. Dad & I were at a bit of a loose end so we headed out to St. Andrews, too early to meet Steve but we did some sightseeing and some shopping (some nice stuff but expensive!) The town is rather nice though, very quaint and with the abbey and the castle. Apparently Chariots of Fire was filmed on one of the nearby beaches here.
Duncan & Steve Kane, St. Andrews, UKHad a nice pint in “The Keys” and then headed back to Dundee to drop off dad. Came back and met Steve & Teresa and went to the Inn on North St., which is a pub/restaurant upstairs and nightclub downstairs. Food was OK, beer was better. S & T are doing fine, and little Saskia is a cutie. She was very well behaved throughout the meal but we left after a while, worried about the smoke. Went back to their place in Strathkinness, a small nearby village, and chatted for a while, saw Steve’s collection of Star Wars stuff and Lego (!). He will never grow up.

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Edinburgh, Dundee and Perth

Dad and the MalcolmsDad slept late this morning so we got away a bit later than we expected. Drove down to Preston Pans in the morning and saw Grandad Penman’s old house. Drove around the neighborhood a bit but nothing really looked familiar. The church where mum & dad got married has maybe been knocked down, where dad thought it was there was a much newer looking church. Drove up to Grandma Galloway’s old house, but it didn’t really look familiar either.
Next headed up to Dundee, stopping at Kinross for some lunch and then found Aunt June’s place about 2pm. Saw June, and Susie, and Emma; later on Rachel & Tracy dropped by as well. We went out to the nursing home and picked up my grandma. She has advanced Alzheimers and short term memory only, but she is in good shape physically and in good spirits.
We took her for a little walk around the garden, she is particularly enchanted by little Emily (Emma’s daughter), who is quite good with her too. She had a little bite to eat and June made some dinner (cold meat and salad – a tradition at home!) for us, which was very nice.

Ian Russel and Dad, PerthWe left around 7pm to visit Ian & Moira in Perth. Alas we took a wrong turn and had to go through the center of Perth, which slowed us down enough so that we missed him at home. But we did meet Cara (Ian & Moira’s daughter) and Anna (?) who gave us some beers and chatted until Ian came back with son John. Lovely family, and beautiful house near the Isle of Skye hotel in Perth, just 20 min away from Dundee. They offered us some dinner but we gave our excuses and came home, both of us buggered. We checked in, I called Jasmina and wrote this.

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Skeevy to Edinburgh

It was only about 100 miles to Edinburgh via the A1 – dad usually comes up from Leeds, which is much further, and so overestimated the time we’d need to drive. We stopped briefly at Carter Bar on the border, where you have a great view both ways over the fields. Not much difference apparent either way! The “Pipers of the Border” welcomed us home with Scotland the Brave.
Quick piss-stop in Jedburgh and a photo of the abbey there. Drove to the centre of Edinburgh and parked in a multistory carpark there at St. James shopping center, and also grabbed some lunch. Next it was up the Royal Mile (aka High St.) towards the castle. Lots of tourist shops, cafes, restaurants etc. We arrived at the castle just in time for a free guided tour by a possibly local fellow called Ian Bruce, which was very informative and entertaining. The tattoo and the festival were just finished, they were dismantling the bleachers on the esplanade as we arrived. Edinburgh CastleThe castle is fantastic, very beautiful and in excellent condition. In fact it’s still fully operational, with a garrison and a military prison. The cannon is fired at 1pm every day from the battlements. Only one building remains from the oldest time, the 12th century St. Margaret’s Chapel. The rest has been rebuilt or deliberately destroyed at various times thoughout the castle’s tumultuous history. I bought some postcards and a very small bottle of Laphroaig for my computer (which is so named) back at work.
Back down the hill and past the university, saw some of the old buildings dad used to study in. We were short of time a bit so we hurried back to the car and went off to an old haunt of dad’s in Morningside, “The Canny Man’s”. Beautiful old pub with a truly astounding abundance of portraits, old bottles, skis, swords, musical instruments, and every other thing you can imagine on the walls and hanging from the ceiling. Had a couple of great pints there and then went for a sombre visit to the cemetery where many on my mum’s side are buried.

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