Reading Ukraine: Borderland by Anna Reid

What a world we live in. So much we don’t know…but we can try to learn. Books are one of the best weapons in the battle to gain knowledge, especially something like Borderland, my selection for reading about Ukraine. Written by Anna Reid, a British journalist with work and family ties to the country, it’s an informative, well-researched, and very readable dive into the history and politics of a darkly complicated part of the world. It’s perhaps not the most in-depth resource out there but it’s an approachable one, and that’s a win when it comes to a place buried in tangled webs.

Written in 1997, it goes without saying that much has transpired since but after absorbing this book, you’re in a good spot to find out what’s happened next. Bonus for Americans: it’ll give you insight into the shenanigans of Paul Manafort and some other folks currently under investigation, and of Putin’s motives; it won’t make you feel any better, but at least you’ll have a solid framework of understanding…

View of Carpathian National Park from Hoverla. Carpathian National Park, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, Ukraine
View of Carpathian National Park from Hoverla. Carpathian National Park, Ivano-Frankivsk Oblast, Ukraine (Image by Balkhovitin via Wikimedia Commons)



Country #43: Ukraine

Oh boy, here we go.
I don’t really know much about Ukraine, but I do know that there’s a lot I should know.

So, time to learn.

Edinburgh: Wandering

After the marathon day of travel, with our lovely few hours in Paris, we got finally made it to Scotland. Edinburgh, to be precise.

We had an interesting taxi ride to our B&B (yes, a taxi and not an Uber – take taxis in the UK please! I’ll post more about that later!); our driver was a Russian expat who had a fondness for loud techno music, and deeply held beliefs about the earth being flat. I was too tired to argue…sometimes you just have the surf the wave you are presented with. And he was driving.

I’ll write more in-depth about our B&B in another post, but safe to say it was perfect. Nice people, good food, great location, comfy bed, heated floors in the bathroom: I was happy from the moment we checked in. Win!

We slept in the next morning, had a nice leisurely breakfast, and then started walking. Onwards to the Old Town and The Royal Mile!

It was uphill all of the way; gently graded in our neighborhood, and then steep as the surroundings got older. Its a dramatic entrance, no doubt.
We stopped for a pint after all of those stairs, and to take in the scene, walked a lot more, ate some food, and then kept walking.

Heading up into the Old Town
Heading up into the Old Town (image by The Global Reader)
A pint on The Royal Mile
A pint on The Royal Mile (image by The Global Reader)
Looking down towards Holyrood
Looking down towards Holyrood (image by The Global Reader)

Every way you look, every corner you turn, every alley (or close, in the local way) you look down: it’s kind of magical. My husband, who is not prone to wistfulness, said at one point “it’s like a fairy tale.” It really is.

Random Close
Random Close (image by The Global Reader)
Random courtyard off of a random close
Random courtyard off of a random close (image by The Global Reader)
Rooftops in the Old Town
Rooftops in the Old Town (image by The Global Reader)
Looking south from Edinburgh Castle
Looking south from Edinburgh Castle (image by The Global Reader)



Edinburgh and Dean Village: A Magical Few Hours in a Magical City

I’ve only been home a few days, and there’s a big part of me that’s still in Scotland. So much so that I feel oddly protective about delving too deeply into the trip. I’ve been sitting here staring at the screen for a while, trying to loosen my grip on the experience enough to get a post going.

For some reason, our day in Stockbridge and Dean Village is what shook out, so…here it is.

The entire city of Edinburgh is like walking in a fairy tale. You look one way – it’s beautiful. You turn around – there’s a whole different intriguing view that lures you in. It just goes and goes, which is fantastic and so immersive. You start to feel like the whole world is just this dreamy, quaint place. I didn’t want to leave…

We spent part of our last day in the city, before moving on to Glasgow, walking around Stockbridge and Dean Village. It’s just a few minutes removed from the main parts of the city, but feels a million miles away. Peaceful, calm, beautiful…I would love to be able to walk there everyday.

This is another topic I’m going to dig into deeper on my soon-to-be travel blog, but here are some views into a great morning…