Sunday, March 6, 2011

Edinburgh Day 1 and 2

We made it to Scotland! It was a bumpy ride but we are here more or less. We left New Orleans Friday morning to go to houston and then Newark International Airport. Those flights went well! Then we left Newark for Edinburgh. We thought Jonah would sleep through because it was his bed time, but there was too much going on! That was a rough flight and we were all sleep deprived when we got here, but knew we couldn't just sleep or we would be in trouble. We arrived Saturday morning and toughed it out by walking around for the day.

Saturday we walked along the Royal Mile, which is the stretch of street between the Queen's Palace and the Castle of Edinburgh. We plan to go to both at some point. Our hotel is right on the mile, and it's so nice because we can stop in and give Jonah a break whenever we need to. We went to a shop that sells tartan paraphenalia from the different Scottish clans. Ted claims his family is from the Cochrane clan, although I fell asleep when he was telling me the story of how he knows this. Because I was jetlagged, not because it was boring. Probably. This shop has all kinds of stuff with the Cochrane crest and tartan on it. It also has weaving looms where they make the fabric for kilts! We went to bed early so we could be ready for the next day!

Today we woke up early and had a traditional Scottish breakfast. It's pretty much just bacon and eggs, but they do have 'haggis' which is like a meat and veggie patty. Ted had some but I am not adventurous at breakfast so I passed. We went to Hollyrood park. It used to be a volcano, but is now a great green space with hills and ponds. We weren't able to go far because we had the stroller and a lot of it was unpaved, but we plan to go again for a little hike if we have a chance. Then we went to church at the High Kirk of Scotland. It is supposed to be the birthplace of the Scottish Presbyterian church. Let me tell you, you pay so much more attention to the Sermon when the pastor has a Scottish accent. I felt like I was in Brigadoon. I was worried about taking Jonah into such a formal church, but he did well and everyone loved him. I went to stand in the back because he was talking and one older lady said "Don't take him out, he's lovely!" :) Fooled another one!

We had lunch at the cafe and it was my favorite meal so far. Everyone here drinks coffee at lunch, so I had coffee and ham and cheese sandwich. So weird, no one would ever do that at home. This afternoon we went to the Scotch Whisky Experience to see how they make Scotch and have a taste. I learned a lot, including that Scotch is pretty disgusting and I can't think of a thing that would make it palatable. We learned they make Scotch by cooking down Barley and mixing it with water to ferment. Then they add yeast, distill it and voila, a drink that burns like you're drinking a match. They don't actually have a distillery, but they had a fun little ride that goes through how they make scotch. It was fun, and Jonah loved it. The we went to the tasting room to learn about the 4 regions they make Scotch: the Highlands, the Lowlands, Speyside, and Islay. Each region makes Scotch that has a different flavor. They also make blends. I tasted a blended Scotch because it is supposed to be milder. Well I would hate to taste a bolder one. I took several sips, but I just couldn't finish it. Ted finished his, mine, and tasted 4 other ones. He used to chug Tobasco, so I'm not surprised.

Fun Scotch facts we learned!
Scotch is Whisky made in Scotland, while Bourbon Whisky is made in Kentucky. I wonder if you could make Scotch sauce and put it on bread pudding and maybe then I could palate Scotch.

Scotch gets its flavor from the soil and from the barrels it ages in, like wine. It evaporates as it stays in the barrels, with 40% evaporating after 25 years. Thus why aged Scotch is more expensive.

In the 1800s, Scotland made it illegal to distill alcohol without a permit, just like in America.

During Prohibition, people in the US couldn't get American Whisky. It was much easier to get Scotch, so it spread to America.

This place also is residence to the larges Scotch collection in the world, over 3,000 bottles. They were all unopened. That guy has a weird philosophy on life. I just wanted to go take a swig out of those bottles on principle. And hate every minute of it. Blech.

The Royal Mile

The Park

Me and Jonah with all those bottles of expensive unopened Scotch.

Me and Jonah playing at the kids area of the Scotch Experience.

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