Monday, April 14, 2014

Free Ride for a Pint!

This trip was one full of adventures and bumps along the way.  The next morning, I woke up and went to meet Anna and Ben at The Elephant House before we headed to Pencaitland to Glenkenchie Distilleries. Yes, we went to a whisky distillery.  It was one of the coolest things ever.  But first, we HAD to visit the birthplace of Harry Potter. This was where poor J.K. Rowling wrote Harry's first adventure on napkins. This was definitely a highlight of the trip!

We got on the bus, not realizing it was an hour So an hour bus ride later into rural Scotland (technically East Lothian), we get off and saw a cardboard sign saying "Call for a Ride to Glenkenchie". Taking a risk, we called and the sweetest Scottish man shows up five minutes later in a van and takes us to the distillery.  We arrived at the distillery and he proceeds to bargain, we can get a free ride for a pint at his pub after or we can pay double the price of a pint per person. Naturally we went with the pint.

What followed was an in depth tour of the distillery owned by the Diageo group. COOLEST EXPERIENCE EVER!!!! And for your information, it smells, really weird.  After we took the tour, we did the tasting. Perfect remedy for a sore throat. I learned a lot about the different types of whisky and it was really cool to see how different people liked different types of whisky. Anna liked the double barrel with hints of sherry for fruitiness, Ben liked the blends to give a complex taste, and I liked the whiskies made with peat giving them a woody taste.  Also, baffled me what 3 drops of water can do to enhance the taste of the whisky.

After our tour, we called our friend and he took us back to his local pub. Very local in that we met the town drunk, the town art teacher, and even the mayor. We had and hour to wait for the bus thus it was the perfect time for a drink.   Sitting there listening to the locals was a highlight of my trip in Edinburgh.  Arriving back in Edinburgh an hour later, Anna and Ben went their separate way and I headed to dinner alone.

The next day was characterized by wandering. I wandered around Edinburgh and met the blogger Roseline Lohr who runs This Is Glamorous and co-creator of Belgrave Cresent. Check out her stuff. I have been an admirer of Roseline's for a very long time. I think I have been following her blog for right at 4 or 5 years.   Tea at the Caledonian in Peacock Alley was the perfect setting for meeting her!  After this meeting, it was starting to sprinkle so I popped over to the National Gallery at Roseline and Paul's suggestion.

Boy was that a treat. Walking through the Scottish Gallery was perfect. The rooms that are connected circles with  concentric circular rooms  sporadically throughout.  Each style of painting, or gallery, had its own color the vibrant reds, greens, and blues were just the happy edition I needed to a somewhat dreary day.  Below are some of my favorite pieces from the National Gallery.

I then wandered around and found my way to Edinburgh Castle and Greyfriars Bobby.  The story behind Greyfriars Bobby is the most heartwarming thing ever.  Long story short, one of the Greyfriar's died a premature death. His dog, the "bobby", then proceeded to guard his grave for the next 14 years until he passed and was buried beside his long gone owner.   This churchyard is right behind the Elephant House. The serene graveyard is nestled amongst the hubbub of the city with the Castle in the distance. After a simple dinner at The Advocate, I headed to bed early so I could get up and head to St. Andrews the next day.  The final installation of my Scottish Adventure is in the works, so stay tuned readers! 

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