Xmas in NYC, Day 2

My dogs are barkin’. It’s been a day on my feet. A good day, to be sure, but a lot of walking, and a lot of standing. The same was true for Alex, and it would be for Mi Pequeña Niña if she hadn’t slept for a solid hour or so while we were walking about. (Considering that was her only nap of the day, that’s not a bad thing, either.)
The way started out as a rough plan to go to the Empire State Building, and check out the view of Manhattan. But our plans here are very flexible. Aside from the fact that I’ve been to New York City twice before, we’re travelling with a napping toddler, who is apt to change our plans at a moment’s notice for any number of reasons. So I try not to go too crazy when plans are forced to change.  
(Emphasis on the word “try”.)
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The Obligatory Vacation Recap

In the few minutes I have before I dive back into another conference session, figured I’d cover some of the items of our last vacation. This was a 2.5 week excursion mostly to Scotland, with a few days in England. Alex planned most of the trip, with me handling things like the transportation and hotels to stay along the way. Overall, about a 50/50 split on the events et al.
Sadly, at the end, it wasn’t a usual vacation. Until now, it’s always been either just me, or myself and Alex. Now there’s three of us, and the Wee One doesn’t have our stamina for travel and has a pseudo-schedule that needs to be followed from time-to-time.
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Last full day on Iona

I’m back at the St. Columba Hotel again — the only place on the island with an internet connection, it seems — enjoying my last day here on Iona. The weather over the last few days has improved considerably, even though we had ice pellets again last evening.
The last few days have been marked with a variety of excursions, notably on what they call “pilgrimages” (the Community here, although ecumenial, is still devoutly Christian). The pilgrimage route here is so well-known it’s even published on maps. They tell you that it’s not a “hike” because that would remove all sense of the meaning behind the pilgrimage. It’s about going to the religiously significant places on the island.
Talk about being the odd man out.
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Life on Iona

Well, we’re into Day 2 on our Iona Community experience. Thus far it’s been … well, chilly. The weather here is reminiscent of something we tried to leave back home. Only windier with the sea dampness to add to the chill. Walking about is a little hard right now, so I haven’t been much further than the abbey itself.
I suppose you gotta start somewhere, right?
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Kazan, take me away!

I wholeheartedly agree with Amy.
Moscow is dismal. Even when it’s sunny, it’s dismal. There is just no joy or life in this city. I don’t know if it’s a result of decades of Soviet rule, but I can’t wait to get out of here. I suppose the plethora of security personnel doesn’t help, either.
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St. Petersburg in the rain

It was a rainy day when my brother Raoul… no, wait, sorry — that’s a Pizzaville ad.
But it was a rainy day here (the rain only recently finally stopped). Amy and I were going to do the church tour today, but walking to the Peter and Paul Fortress would have soaked us through. Not really an option. Instead, we opted for the St. Isaac’s Cathedral, about a click down the road.
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