Sunday, January 10, 2010

All I want for Christmas is a kilt! Part 1

Well, I am finally back from my 5-city Euro Extravaganza trip and I can't wait to tell you all about it! During the trip I made sure to take notes on my favorite little anecdotes to share and funny stories that I thought you might enjoy :) It will take some time to write about EVERYTHING I loved about the trip, so there will be a lot of blogs coming up - I hope you are ready for some reading!

I will start with my lonnnnnng journey to Scotland. The weather in the UK had been very snowy and pretty miserable (well, I think it still is) but my workmate Sean, who I was going to meet in Edinburgh, had a canceled flight and ended up taking a flight to London then driving and taking a train to his hometown. I, on the other hand, left two days later (on the 24th) than him and arrived 4 hours earlier! In the airport I changed my lovely euros to pounds! Turns out that although Scotland is part of the UK they also print thier own money - so I had some pounds with the Queen on them and then some from Royal Bank of Scotland with some crazy looking Scottish men on the front of my pounds! I used my newly changed pounds to take my first ever ride in a UK car - on the wrong side of the road! I took a picture while we were driving and I think that my taxi driver thought I was the most ridiculous tourist ever. Throughout the entire time in Scotland, I never actually got used to being on the left side of the road - I kept having small heart attacks, thinking someone was going to run into me. It also creates a struggle when crossing the street - I couldn't remember which way to look, so I was very cautious and looked both ways, like a good little girl!

When I arrived at his dad's house, I realized that I didn't even know Sean's dad's name! We had planned the trip thinking that he would arrive before me, so I woudln't have to worry. As I stepped out of the taxi, I thought about how ridiculous it was going to be to say, 'Hi, I'm looking for Sean's dad' haha, but luckily, he was at the pub right across the street and came running when he saw my taxi pull up (I guess when you live in UK you can dash across streets without having to worry about from which direction the cars are coming!) Jackie introduced himself and made sure to make me feel at home, Scottish style, by offering me a plethora of drinks! Do you want martini? whiskey? rum? It was only 2pm so I wasn't really up for hard liquor but instead warmed up on the couch watching TV in English while he went out grocery shopping! Such a relaxing trip compared to Sean's!

When Sean and his American friend, Eric, he brought arrived finally, they were geared up for a good Scottish pint. We headed into the city for a nice Scottish beer. I decided on a brew from the Caledonian Brewery. I found out that Caledonia means Scotland in Latin! After one pint, I decided I wasn't going to be able to keep up with these boys and switch to Scottish cider - which was actually delicious! It was very different, much sweeter, than the Basque cider I am used to drinking, and tasted more like apple juice that just happened to have alcohol.

We wandered to the Grassmarket area, which is called that because it used to be a market for horses and cattle (I guess since they walk on grass they called it Grassmarket). The first bar we went to in this square was called Last Drop. It is a name paying homage to the fact that the Grassmarket used to be used as a spot for public witch hangings! Another way to kill witches in the old times in Scotland was to throw them over the bridge. The Scots would tie the right thumb to the suspected witch's left foot and her left thumb to her right foot. If when they threw her over she floated she was innocent and they retrieved her and gave her a proper Christian burial. If she sank, well then I guess she is still down at the bottom of the River Leith!

To finish the night we stopped at a 'chippy shop' to use Sean's English. Chips in Scottish English means french fries. So, we stopped at basically a fast food spot that was open at 4am. I, seeing the pizza, ordered a piece with a Dr. Pepper (how long had it been since I had one of those?!) but was sorely disappointed when I took a bite and found out that my pizza had mustard on it. Needless to say, I wasn't so impressed by this specific chippy shop!

Mustard pizza and all, my feet were freezing from the snowy ground and I was happy to cuddle up in a warm bed! It was a different Christmas Eve than I had ever experienced, but it was a fun first day in Scotland - full of Sean Connery accents, beer and old buildings - I guess the impression I had going there haha.

I'm super tired now, so I will go to bed! It will be nice after 2 and a half weeks to finally sleep in my Spanish bed! I will write more tomorrow, but I hope you had a little fun reading about the start of my trip! More to come soon - I promise!

Kisses (you obviously know that is how they say it in English!)

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