Friends, I am writing to you from Edinburgh, Scotland, where it is 7:20 AM, I have been awake for about two and a half hours, and my hotel room, which is actually a dorm at the University of Edinburgh, comes with an electric kettle instead of some lousy coffee pot.
This is very exciting.
I arrived yesterday from New York via Dublin, which took a number of hours I frankly can't calculate because of time zones and extreme exhaustion. The Aer Lingus plane from JFK was full of adorable Irish children who became rapidly less adorable as cabin pressure changed and bedtimes were missed. The second, much smaller Aer Lingus Regional plane from Dublin to Edinburgh did not have room for my carry-on suitcase, which was gate-checked and recovered quite efficiently and painlessly, despite the level of worry it would have generated in me had I been awake enough to successfully express concern.
All in all, the travel was simple, if exhausting, and after a car to a train to a car to a plane to a plane to a bus to a 1.3-mile walk (also known as a 2.1-kilometre walk), I finally arrived at Edinburgh First Pollock Halls, nestled snugly against Holyrood Park, which is closed today (Saturday) and Monday, but not Sunday, so I will have time to hike up to King Arthur's Seat.
My plan for the next three days is to visit two pubs and a restaurant noted for their whisky selections, two restaurants known for their vegetarian food (one of these overlaps--the restaurant with the whisky also serves vegetarian haggis!), a castle, two musea, a tea shop, two parks and a garden, a 4-mile walkway that leads to the port of Leith, and various other food establishments recommended by a quickly-downloaded pdf of the Lonely Planet guide to the British Isles.
I have already scratched off the list a visit to Holyroodhouse Palace, because it is closed to the public during the royal family's residence (Hello, still-active monarchy! You are very weird to me!). I also scratched off the list all my post-arrival plans for yesterday evening, as I fell asleep before 8 PM, locally known as 20:00.
I do not intend to exhaustively document my travel here, as I intend rather for the travel to exhaust me, but I wanted to indicate my arrival in Scotland and will probably want to indicate my arrival in Liverpool on Tuesday and in London on Friday. Stay tuned for highlights of the trip and the conference that engendered it (Diva conference! Woohoo!), but if you want to know all about it, we'll have to talk in person.