The phrase “when in Rome” applies to many situations. When in Scotland, I discovered that after white wine, red wine and Scotch, I’ll eat just about anything. Including haggis.
We were staying at Hotel Newton in Nairn, Charlie Chaplin’s old stomping grounds, which is truly spectacular and now a part of the MGM family. It’s near Inverness, which my fellow Outlander fans will appreciate. There’s even a Je Suis Prest crest on the building. It was a short drive to the Culloden Battlefield the next morning.
I’d love the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon if it was pure fiction. Her storytelling takes hold of me and won’t let go until I’ve finished each book, which I’ve now done a few times. The fact that the series is based on real events and many real characters, and the lengths to which she has gone to make it as historically accurate as possible—except perhaps for the whole time travel thing—makes me love it even more. This really hit home when we visited Scotland in 2013. Continue reading
We learned that, given enough alcohol, we will eat haggis.
Our trip to Ireland and Scotland was very educational. I learned some things about myself. Scott and I learned some things about each other. And I definitely learned some things about traveling in these countries. Here are 30 things I picked up, in no particular order.
We are not good with maps. We got lost. A lot.
The Irish are quite possibly the friendliest people on Earth, until they get behind the wheel of a car. Then they’re crazy.
Even after touring the beautiful Blair Athol Distillery in Pitlochry, Scotland, and seeing all of the care and skill that goes into making some of the finest Scotch in the world, I still don’t like it.
I’m not sure why it works out this way, but it seems that our travel plans are always feast or famine. This fall was definitely a feast. Here’s how we slept in 14 beds in 36 days:
View from the Newton Hotel in Nairn.
1. Glasgow, Scotland — We kicked off our two-week dream vacation at the Glasgow Thistle Hotel. The first day was a little hazy with jet lag, but we found our way to the West Coast Harley-Davidson Dealership, walked along Sauchiehall Street and enjoyed fish ‘n chips and a pint at Molly Malones. Okay, two pints. The Thistle is very nice and an easy walk from Buchanan Street, which is easily one of the best shopping venues I’ve ever seen.
2. Nairn, Scotland — Heading to the Scottish Highlands via Loch Lomond and Loch Ness along the same route James Bond drove in Skyfall, what was already an incredible day got even better when we arrived at the Newton Hotel. Once frequented by Charlie Chaplin and his family, this 56-suite hotel was originally built as a family home in the 17th century and is set in 21 acres of parkland and gardens. Our suite was very large, comfortable and beautifully appointed with views of the back gardens. It’s just a short drive to the historic Culloden Battlefield, which was our first stop the next morning. Continue reading