Category: Europe

Sleepers

We’ve now traveled by sleeper coach train through every major west European country except Spain (including our own version of the Orient Express), and it’s uncanny how the experience has reflected the culture of the train’s country of origin. The French coach was dignified and correct, if a bit […]

Saint Andrews

The sunrise is the same, and the bunkers on the 17thhole look as fearsome as ever, but otherwise, there isn’t much to recall from journeys with my mother to the Old Course in Saint Andrews.

Scotch

Before we settle down to a wee dram of Talisker 18-year, peat-smoked, oak-matured, distilled and unfiltered, single-malt Scotch whisky, here’s a handful of definitions…

Smithfield Market

Is it just me, or is there something a bit off about the English staging their public executions across the square from the oldest and largest wholesale butcher’s market in London? Admittedly, Smithfield boasted one of the larger open spaces in town, and executions were one of the […]

Rubha an Dùnain

My mother’s McCaskills collided with their dreary little bit of history in 1832, when they were evicted from their village Rubha an Dùnain on the Isle of Skye and booted off to North Carolina to make way for flocks of more docile and profitable sheep. Thus arrived on […]

Flora MacDonald

When Flora MacDonald died in March, 1790, more than 3,000 mourners made the long and difficult trek to the Isle of Skye in Scotland to drink 300 gallons of whiskey in her honor. And small wonder, because Flora had led a life for the ages. Loyal her entire […]

Macbeth

King Mac Bethad mac Findlaích was no more vicious or ruthless than the average medieval Scottish leader, but when William Shakespeare transformed him into Macbeth, his reputation was destroyed forever.

Nell Gwynn

We went searching for Nell Gwynn’s London, but couldn’t find much the glamorous 17th century courtesan would have recognized. For once, you can’t pin this one on the bombs of the German Luftwaffe—most of Nell’s neighborhood off Drury Lane in Westminster was deservedly obliterated in the endless waves of […]

Vittel

The European Spa Movement was synonymous with la Belle Époque, the 40-year dream period from the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 until 1914 and the carnage of the Great War.  European aristocrats and politicians held their collective breath and noses and tried their hardest not to notice the churn […]