Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Scotland the Brave

Oh Scotland... a country I have always wanted to see. Actually, the only European countries I have ever been interested in visiting were Scotland and Germany. My grandparents have roots in Scotland and Ireland while I have just never had the chance (outside of America) to actively involve myself in German conversation. My grandmother visited Scotland years ago and her pictures were so lovely. I will pick the fresh air and open fields of the country side over a gasoline-smelling, sun-shielded city any day. Scotland was just that for me. Everywhere you look, for the most part, you could see the hills and cliffs, seas and fields, and smiling faces everywhere. I mean you literally see smiling faces everywhere. That may have been my favorite part about Scotland.

I don't travel to eat different food or buy souvenirs or even see their national monuments. I travel to talk to different people and live in their culture. Scotland was so incredibly welcoming and happy. Every person you pass by seems to be smiling or humming... the only people with grim looks on their faces were British. Every server who waited on me in a restaurant appeared so incredibly happy to please me, even with my diet limitations, and would even direct me to places where food or coffee could be enjoyed.

I stayed in Helensborough, a small town in Scotland made up of mom and pops shops (my favorite) and incredibly friendly faces. It wasn't bustling like Glasgow which is pictured at the top of the page, but it was relaxing and exactly what I expected from a small Scotland town. I loved it.

Edinburgh was one of my favorite places to visit in Scotland. Although most of the architecture in Scotland makes you think you're in a land of castles, the Edinburgh castle is truly something amazing. The views from the castle itself are spectacular, as well as seeing all of the imagery inside that portray the story of Scotland from the 1300s and whatnot. After hours of walking throughout the castle, Jake, who met up with me for a couple of days during my trip, wanted to go on a Scotch whiskey tour. The tour started off with a barrel ride that taught us all about the whiskey making process, and ended with us choosing the type of Scotch we wanted to taste by smelling different scents depicting each area of the country in which the whiskey was made. Seeing as the region I chose smelled like pineapple and honey, I thought maybe for once I would actually slightly like the taste of that whiskey. As you can see in the picture, Jake ended up tasting both of them since the taste was definitely not the same as the smell in the region.

Scotland's got another little piece of my heart :) It's awesome, I love the people, and absolutely love the fresh air Scotland has to offer. The food.... not so much, but like I said, I don't visit anywhere to eat their food. I feel like anything any country has to offer, I can make much more tasteful in my own home. I had to run to the store and buy a bottle of hot sauce and a jar of cayenne pepper to actually add flavor to my food. And wine with every meal wasn't a bad thing either. My new love I took away from my restaurant experiences in Scotland? Sangiovese. It's my new favorite wine.

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