An Ode to Haggis

This is a story about making peace with a squishy edible ball of sheep innards, and a song I rewrote to help me through the process.

I have a confession to make. I was afraid of haggis, almost deathly so. You could say I harbored an irrational fear of the stuff. Yes, haggis.

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The Scottish Highlands: Tell Me a Story

Scottish Highlands, Culloden Battlefield

Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

— Mark Twain said it. Scottish storytellers live it.

This is a story…about story. Or rather, the importance of stories to the Scottish Highlands.

There was an unwritten rule in the Scottish Highlands,” Chris, our driver and guide, explained. “If someone came to your house seeking shelter and food, you must welcome them.

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Edinburgh Hogmanay: Fire, Culture and Community Usher in the New Year

Edinburgh Castle blogmanay
Mystical and shrouded, Edinburgh Castle in winter afternoon light

Celebrations in the shadow of the Winter Solstice. They help us abide darkness and emerge from the shortest day of the year so that we may carry ourselves through deepening cold and, oddly enough, lengthening days until spring returns a few months later.

In this context, the measure of a place coming forth from this seasonal inflection might in fact be its celebration of the new year, and not only the energy with which it tackles this task, but also the tools it packs to do so. Edinburgh, and its new year's celebration, Hogmanay? No different.

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Amsterdam: For the Love of Street Art, Instagram Style

Amsterdam canals boat ride in afternoon
A traditional view of Amsterdam on a crisp, autumn day.

Amsterdam. Romantic canals, medieval trading houses, coffee shops leaking smoke and offering contact highs. A red-light district with voluptuous — or maybe voluminous — women seated in oddly-lit windows, looking bored and listless and occasionally interested. Bicycles. Tulips. Van Gogh. Art museums.

But street art?

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Vienna, Austria: An Experiential Travel Guide

We’ve visited Vienna over 10 times, on each visit exploring a different dimension — from markets and wine to art and architecture — to get under the skin of the city’s polished exterior. After answering scads of questions about what to do in Vienna, we figured it was time to share our favorite activities and our perspective in this Vienna Experiential Travel Guide.

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Terraced Vineyards of the Douro Valley, Portugal

Duoro Valley Vineyards, Portugal

Up until our recent travels into the heart of port wine country, and despite countless glasses of the stuff under my belt, I was still tempted to consider port as a heavy drink that was quaffed by older British men with a cigar after a pot roast dinner.

Then we traveled deep into the Douro Valley in northern Portugal, the epicenter of port wine. And there, things opened up to me.

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A Long Summer Weekend in Paris, The Instagram Way

Have you ever come away from a long weekend visiting a city, your map torn in half and frayed along the way? That's good old-fashioned map wear and tear, a sign that you've gotten lost many times. Sometimes you get to your original destination, sometimes you don't. Maybe you've found something else along the way, some unexpected discoveries.

That's what makes the weekend, your weekend, interesting.

And so it was with our recent long weekend in Paris for my birthday at the end of August.

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