1. En-route to a night out at a pub called Brass Monkey. Funny, the "Brass Monkey" in Los Angeles is a Korean Kareoke bar. Anyway, I was so pleased to have my friends meet Court. At one point I joined her and Madhuri outside and exclaimed "This is so fun! All of my friends in Scotland in one place tonight!"
... And then some drunk piped in, "Yeah ... all 2 of them". HA! Funny mostly because it's not true! One of my best personal qualities is the ability to move to strange places and make friends fast.
2. Fyfe girls standing atop the hill that leads to the Castle from Princes St Gardens. The view in the background is the region of Fife. The heartland, so to speak. We were a little winded, as its a hearty little ascent.
3. Our venture into Botanic Gardens, which has fast become one of my favorite spots in the city. It was a lovely clear day, birds tweeting, green grass, sunny skies, harbingers of what's to come in Spring. Which, for the record, could not come any sooner.
We then found our way to the Water of Leith footpath, winding its way across the city. One of these places I'd heard about but never been on before. Sure will be back, and hopefully with a bicycle!
4. At the Whisky Experience tour on the Royal Mile. Yes, it is overpriced. Yes, riding around in a barrel is ridiculous. Yes, you could learn everything on the tour by sitting yourself down in a local pub and asking the bartender about his favorite malt.
All the same, we enjoyed seeing "The World's Largest" collection of whiskies, and definitely enjoyed the smell and taste tests. It helped us determine what we already suspected... that Scottish whisky is awesome. I like the light, sweet, earthy ones and so far have found friends in Macallan, Glenmorangie, Benromach, Glenkinchie, Highland Park and a few from the Speyside region.
5. High Tea on Frederick Street. A snappier version of the traditional 4pm high tea that you'll find at posh hotels. We loved this place and loved the food. The restaurant name could use some help - Eteaket - (like Etiquette?) but we'll give them a break since everything was so tasty.
6. For their last night, we went East to Dunbar, home to my host Rotary Club and Counselors Alan & Elizabeth. It was perfect timing- the girls' last night in town coincided with the Dunbar's Annual Scottish Supper at the Golf Club. The perfect way to end their visit to Scotland!
By day, we toured pastoral roads and landmarks of Dunbar:
By night, we dined on haggis (well, some of us dined on haggis), enjoyed the great company of Rotarian friends, listened to recitations of Robert Burns poetry and heard some rather hysterical songs. I was impressed with all of the singing/recitations done by Rotarians. His poetry and songs are immaculately crafted and seem impossible to remember, but many knew them by heart.
I felt like an extra-stellar tour guide because Alan wore his kilt. We showed up in style! A great night had by all!
The girls left the next morning and I spent the next few days sad and depressed. Hopefully my sister will come back for another visit. Court, if you are reading this: there are many places still to see, much whisky to be tasted! Many more folk songs to be heard at the Royal Oak! Many more Scottish expressions to add seamlessly to your vocabulary!