Here we are! The flight from SFO to London was interminable, though it had its highlights—we came over the southern tip of Greenland, with glaciers and rugged mountains, just after dawn, though Ireland was completely lost in overcast—but once we reached Heathrow things began to move very quickly. We breezed through British customs—they waved away our letters from the Fringe and the venue vouching for our good character, wouldn’t even look at them—and after barely an hour in BA’s departures foyer, swarming with energy and diversity, we were called for our connection to Edinburgh. That flight in turn took barely an hour; the overcast broke up as we crossed into Scotland, and we came in over the Pentland Hills to see Bass Rock in the far distance and the Forth Bridges sparkling in the sun.

    It took barely five minutes to collect our checked luggage and three more to find a taxi, with a burly driver who couldn’t have been a better introduction to Edinburgh—stocky, bullet-headed, thick brogue, father, golfer, football fan, with a wonderful sense of humor, who delivered us promptly to our flat. The keys were awaiting us and before we knew it, we had arrived.

    The building is in gray stone—granite?—like seemingly every other in the city,  I would guess early 1800’s, the stairwell narrow and worn, but the flat attractive though small: on the “second” (third) floor, living room overlooking the surprisingly quiet street, modern electric kitchen, small fridge, tiny bathroom and toilet, and the best feature-- the two small bedrooms look out over the interior of the block, lush with trees and gardens, over the far side of which looms the southwest face of Edinburgh Castle:

     We were still pretty energized in spite of having averaged one or two hours of sleep in the last twenty-four, so after putting things away and tidying up we walked out into a lovely late afternoon—the cab driver had told us it was the first rainless day in a week or two—and walked through the Grassmarket and up to the Royal Mile, everything bustling with preparations for the Festival and the Tattoo. We looked into St. Giles’ Cathedral and decided on a pub dinner at Deacon Brodie‘s Tavern, with bangers and mash for me, Scottish salmon for the others and a little sampler of haggis, neeps and tatties for the uninitiated. Strolled back to the flat and put ourselves to bed, in hopes to shake off the jet lag in the next day or two. I was awake in the middle of the night for a couple of hours, my mind whirling with all we have to do today, but eventually got back to sleep and now I’m feeling pretty well refreshed; it’s a little after eight and we’re ready to get the day started. One of the first tasks is to figure out our Internet access; I can’t post this until we do, and though the building seems full of wi-fi networks, we have yet to find one that’s reliable and not password-protected. I’ll post this later this morning from a Starbucks (there’s one two blocks away, of course) if we haven’t been able to get hooked up by then.