The Grand Tour II: Great Scott, What a Monument

EDINBURGH — Nowadays, it is hard to imagine a world where a writer is lauded and praised, and treated of as one would treat a rock or movie star today. Yet, Sir Walter Scott, the Scottish novelist who wrote “Ivanhoe” and “Rob Roy,” was so beloved that an enormous monument to his memory sits in … Continue reading The Grand Tour II: Great Scott, What a Monument

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The Grand Tour II: Inverary No Drafty Old Castle

INVERARY, Scotland — Not all the castles in Scotland are drafty examples of medieval austerity. A case in point is the ancestral home of the Dukes of Argyll, chiefs of the clan Campbell. The current Inverary Castle, inspired by Vanbrugh, the architect of Blenheim Palace and Castle Howard, is relatively new, completed in 1789, although … Continue reading The Grand Tour II: Inverary No Drafty Old Castle

The Grand Tour II: Jewel in England’s historical crown

LONDON — One of the beauties of a European trip is the sheer wealth of opportunities to nerd out on history. A visit to the Tower of London ticks all the boxes. Age? It was built in the 1070s, so that box is ticked. Spectacle? Well, it is the repository of the Crown Jewels, which … Continue reading The Grand Tour II: Jewel in England’s historical crown

The Grand Tour II: Cemeteries a Lively Way to Spend a Day

BRIGHTON, England — Ramona and I are constantly asked, “What is it with you guys and cemeteries?” It is true that on any trip, our social media feeds will feature at least one set of photos of graves. So what is it that we find so fascinating? Well, for one thing, they are dead quiet … Continue reading The Grand Tour II: Cemeteries a Lively Way to Spend a Day

The Grand Tour II: Conservation Makes Old Streets New

Brighton, England — The hippest section of Brighton is a prime example of modernization and conservation done right. The North Laine was formerly a poor, slum area of town that has been reborn as a bohemian highlight of one of the most diverse and cultural towns in England. Located on the South Downs and bordering … Continue reading The Grand Tour II: Conservation Makes Old Streets New

The Grand Tour II: A Master at Sea

Review: 'Constable and Brighton' shows painter at his best BRIGHTON, England — The Beatles or The Stones? Manchester United or Manchester City? James Mallord William Turner or John Constable? Britons are always bitterly divided about something, and for lovers of early 1800s art, that last one is a tough question. I have always come down … Continue reading The Grand Tour II: A Master at Sea

The Grand Tour II: Kipling’s Little Piece of England

“If you can fill the unforgiving minute With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,    Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,    And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son!” — excerpt from “If” by Rudyard Kipling BURWASH, England — The first Disney film remember seeing in the cinema was “The … Continue reading The Grand Tour II: Kipling’s Little Piece of England

The Grand Tour II: Alice Neel in van Gogh’s place

ARLES, France — Alice Neel is a great American painter. What’s that you say? You are unfamiliar with her work? You are probably not alone. As good as she is, Neel doesn’t have the profile of Georgia O’Keeffe when it comes to name recognition (maybe that has something to do with O’Keefe’s affiliation with Alfred Stieglitz … Continue reading The Grand Tour II: Alice Neel in van Gogh’s place