You might have wondered where my posts have been for the last two weeks. The answer: I’ve been unable to post because I was overseas in Scotland/Ireland for my belated honeymoon. While I also spent some time in Ireland and the UK, Scotland was really the country that stood out to me. While my wife and I only visited the lower half of Scotland, we had many amazing sights that left us yearning for more.
Our first major stop was Dumfries. It’s in the southwest region of Scotland was home to a plethora of inventors, writers, and influential figures in the vast history that colors its lands. While some of the area has been more heavily developed, quite a bit of it still hosts farmland- much like Lancaster County. We dined at local establishments and enjoyed traditional haggis and black pudding as well as a plethora of other local dishes during our time in Dumfries.
The next major stopping point was Glasgow- home of much of Scotland’s rich musical and artistic history (also the host of some of the best night-life activities Scotland has to offer). We visited Glasgow University’s grounds, its Hunterian Museum, and the Kelvingrove Art Galley and Museum and couldn’t have been more astonished at the fascinating sites and objects displayed for the public eye (and for free, mind you). Kelvingrove also had an organ recital at 13:00 on the dot- which lasted for half a hour.
Our third destination was Edinburgh: the home of the Royal Mile. While we were sure to visit Edinburg Castle, we also spent time in the closes, at the Wee Pub, the Whisky Tasting Experience (home to the largest whisky collection in the world; over 3700 different bottles), and other local attractions.
While abroad, we made sure to have as many local foods and drinks as possible to enrich our experience of the Scottish culture. This also lead us to visiting Annandale Distillery- a revived and rebuilt distillery that has only been running again for the past 5 years or so. The recovery effort was massive and took over 10.5 million pounds (just north of $13 million USD) to complete. Their whisky selections are potent; being bottled at cask strength. They also offer young (white) spirit as well for a reduced rate, although it is less refined. Their eatery was also impressive.
Of course, like many tourists before us, we also made a point of visiting as many castles as we could without going out of our way. In addition to Edinburgh Castle, we also managed to snake a few extra castles along our journey including Sterling Castle, Doune Castle, and Caerlaverock Castle – a triangular-shaped castle in the south of Dumfries.
I think my favorite ‘non-tourist’ destination I went to was a secret cocktail bar- locally known for two distinct indications on its exterior: ‘foreign currency’ and ‘pandas’. While the shop front is unassuming, there are world-class cocktails (top 100 rated) to be consumed downstairs for those that know how to enter and hold the passphrase. Rumor has it that it started out with only 10 close friends of the owner knowing how to get in; but now a large host of people fight for the opportunity to drink their incredible beverages.
While we saw countless other historical sites such as the Camera Obscura at Dumfries Museum, some incredible nightclubs, the Transport Museum, Robert Burn’s house, and far too many other places to list, I felt that the article would drove on forever if I included them all. I will be sure to add photos of our experience once I have them all uploaded to my laptop.
– Pictures will follow soon –