So far Scotland has been a great fit! Our trip from Edinburgh to Dundee is giving us a little time to catch up on our Travel Journal. A week ago we flew in from Stockholm to Edinburgh on one of the warmest days they’ve had this summer. We hopped off the plane and thought maybe we’d taken a wrong turn and were back in Florida…but warm and sunny can NEVER be complained about in Scotland, so we grabbed our rental car and headed to the local mall to buy some cooler clothes (all we had was heavy stuff).
Instead of an “anonymous” hotel like we usually use – this time we decided to book our time at a B&B near the airport, but on the bus line directly into Edinburgh. This was such a nice change of pace for us. The lovely couple Brian and Wendy, who owns Ascot Gardens B&B, are such lovely people and we felt like we were truly at home. Every morning a delicious full-Scottish breakfast helped fortify us for the days activities out exploring Edinburgh. Visit Scotland and ASVA sent tourism cards for our use – so we were able to cover quite a bit of ground. Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Zoo, the Royal Mile and The Scotch Whiskey Experience were some of our favorite attractions in Edinburgh.
Learning About Scotch in Scotland
The Scotch Whiskey Experience is great fun! One of my goals while visiting Scotland is to learn all about Scotch – how it’s made, the difference between single malts and blends, the regions where it’s made and hopefully develop a better taste for it. Visiting the Whiskey Experience is a combination of Disney and Scotch – two great things! You ride in a whiskey barrel, Disney-style through a show that teaches all about the making of Scotch whiskey. Then it’s time for the tasting – and more learning about regions and single malts. Then, as a group, we visit the largest Scotch Whiskey collection in the world with 3,385 bottles! Afterwards we tried a sample of regional specialties and even got to keep our special “nosing” glass – all before noon! 🙂
Researching Scottish Ancestors
Another main reason for our visit to Scotland this time is to do more research on Cheryl’s MacDonald heritage. Near Waverly Station is a beautiful building called Scotland Peoples dedicated to helping individuals search for their ancestors using old parish marriage records, wills and testaments, and church baptismal records. You walk into the rotunda with hundreds and hundreds of books circling you. The records are all digital now, so computer time must be booked in advance on Monday through Friday. We requested a time on Thursday and received an email on Friday morning saying there was space available…we were so excited!
Our computers were waiting when we arrived and we were shown how to do the research – then we started digging. We had a few pieces of the puzzle, but needed to find a John MacDonald who left Scotland in 1773 on the ship Hector to come to Nova Scotia. The hours flew by and when they finally threw us out, we had a copy of a baptismal ledger for this John MacDonald born Dec. 19th and baptized on Dec 23rd, 1750! Success! It was like putting together a huge puzzle backwards, but really a lot of fun.
While it’s not all about the food, Scotland certainly has some good things to choose from. I ate one of the best fish and chips I’ve ever had at a small local pub across the street from the library where we spent one stormy morning getting caught up on our web work. Jacket potatoes with BBQ are a new thing for me and I’m liking them a lot. No haggis yet, but I’m not ruling out the possibility as we move on. 🙂
Edinburgh to Dundee
The week in Edinburgh flew by and thankfully, we’ll be swinging back through once more before we head to Iceland at the end of August. Yesterday we drove from Edinburgh to Dundee to start our coastal castles trek up the eastern coast. It’s a gorgeous area we’re looking forward to exploring and will keep you posted on all of the fun things to do in this area. I’m really, really, really hoping to get a good picture of a Puffin while we’re here, too!
If you’re interested in looking at our Scotland photos along the way, be sure to check out our Instagram feed to the right. –>
Thanks for following our ramblings. Check with you again next week!
Cheryl & Lisa