Wednesday 27 March 2002next part | previous part | Scotland trip
© 2002 Giles Orr
Cars. The vast majority are econoboxes of types we never see in the U.S. The U.S. and Canada have very similar model lines, but here I recognize very few cars. I don't think I've seen a Twingo here.
And of course the double deckers. Hurray!
Something Catherine has noted several times is how astonishingly green the grass is. We're guessing it's the frequent rainfall.
We stayed at the flat in the morning because the previous day really wiped us out.
St. Giles Cathedral. More pictures here.
Frank drove us up to the Royal Mile around 1100, and we visited St. Giles for a while. We left at 1200, mainly because they were having a short service. The things I noticed first were that the stone inside looks very old, and that the pews are relatively new and very inconsistent - enclosed ugly green ones, several types of chairs nailed to planks to make them rows ... Several pulpits - stone and wood, intricately carved. Lots of stained glass.
From St. Giles we went to the Whisky Heritage Center. I ordered a shot of 18 year old Glenmorangie - without the regular stuff beside it, I think it was a bit smoother, a bit ... fuller. We had lunch there. Reasonably priced, pretty good. Catherine had roasted leeks with whisky garlic sauce, and I had grouse breast stuffed with vegetables (£6 each). Then we moved back to the bar, where Catherine had Talisker Distiller's Edition and I had standard Glenfiddich, which was distinctly unimpressive. We chatted with the bartender some, and tried his preference, Bowman sherry finish. It was good, as was the Talisker (very good).
We shopped down the Royal Mile - Catherine was looking for sweaters. Eventually she bought some shot glasses and a bottle of Talisker. Then we headed for the university. After we talked to Evelyn, Catherine stayed there and I went to the U of E store to buy a blue U of E sweatshirt. That was an adventure in itself because the student store that Evelyn recommended was closed and didn't appear to have clothing. I asked the building security guard - he was quite surly and I left only with a vague notion of where I was going. I walked across most of the campus (I think) to the other store, which was still open. Went by a gorgeous old round building that reminded me a fair bit of Convocation Hall at the University of Toronto. Frank says it's very similar in function, a big performance/lecture hall. Out front of this there was a depressed area with steps around it and about eight guys skateboarding. It was amusing watching people (including one or two in suits) trying to negotiate the area. I found the store in what appeared to be a student center and bought my sweatshirt. I returned to Catherine and Evelyn without incident.
I went out before dinner to check in to the "Odd Bins" several blocks away, where I sampled (!! really! the idea of sampling in a liquor store is completely foreign to Canadians and Americans) Lagavulin Distiller's Edition, which turns out to be another sherry finish. It was quite good, but after some very careful tasting, I decided that sherry finishing adds a complexity and slight sweetness I don't entirely want. So I bought a bottle of Lagavulin regular. The store clerk was very helpful about both the tasting and what I should and shouldn't buy while in Scotland. He says there's a split around £25-£30 a bottle: below that it's cheaper in the U.S., above that it's likely to be more expensive in the U.S. Obviously another good choice would be anything really rare, although what that is I'm not sure - I thought Oban would be rare here, but it's on the shelves of two local liquor stores in Milledgeville.
I need to decide on another bottle (although I hate the idea of carrying them). Glenmorangie is near the top of the list, but it should be very easy to get in the U.S. Lagavulin is a very small company, so they're a better choice.
On the trip to Odd Bins, I examined the neighbourhood. We're in Stockbridge, which is loaded with bars, restaurants, and stores. The five block walk had about six liquor stores, a couple butchers, a hardware store ... everything you need, basically. I really envy them that. Oh yes - and a cheese store, where I stopped in and was stunned by the selection. A decision was tough, but I settled on 200 g of Roquefort (which she cut with 0 g of inaccuracy). It's very good, but set me back nearly £4.
Frank made us a wonderful dinner - rainbow trout, veggies, and potato.
In the evening we attended pub quiz night with Evelyn and Frank. It seems to be a real institution for them. At first I wasn't too interested, but I realized if I want to get a feel for the culture and the people, there was no better way. I had hoped that being a movie buff and having some memory of science stuff among the art historians would make me a useful addition, and I did manage to answer a couple things, but the team didn't do too well overall. Not for lack of trying. Prizes were sad anyway. It was very smoky - Struan smoked (and talked!) and there were a couple young guys at the bar who both smoked several cigars. Yuck.next part | previous part | Scotland trip