We road tripped from London to Edinburgh with the help of two of our English gal pals, Lindsay and Hannah. To make matters more British, Lindsay drives a red London Olympics edition Mini Cooper. The drive was a repetitive, but gorgeous, blur of greenery, punctuated with one stop at a gas station that smelled like fermented horse shit; good to know that middle of nowhere gas stations are equally dismal the world over. We made it, eventually, into the arms of our Scottish friends, Dougie and Ewan, who greeted us with hugs, frozen pizza, and a lot of beer – a good start to our stay.
Scotland – Edinburgh in particular – is one of the most beautiful, captivating places I’ve ever been. I’ve had trouble explaining exactly what it is that grabbed me so much about the place. My experience of Edinburgh, apart from the company of my good friends, was a hearty stew of classic British charm, shadowy medieval architecture, fascinating and ever-present history, some sort intangible haunted coziness, and a touch of Scottish-don’t-give-a-fuck. Plus they have a killer Wetherspoons.
If you’re ever in Edinburgh I would highly recommend shelling out the £16 to check out the Edinburgh Castle. I’m a history nerd so stuff like this will distract me from wanting a beer for, like, well over an hour. It’s such a mind blowingly historic compound with incredible views of the entire surrounding area. If you’ve got half an imagination this place will have you jazzed up and will get your creative juices flowing. If you’ve seen “A Kid in King Arthur’s Court,” then you know the kind of nostalgic giddiness I felt imagining what this medieval fortress must have been like back when. If you haven’t seen that movie, then your childhood probably sucked.
Of course, a Scotch distillery tour is a must-do in Scotland, unless you don’t like fascinating shit and drinking. Franklin and I are both huge fans of really fascinating shit and drinking, particularly Scotch Whiskey, so we knew he had to hit up a distillery while in the the homeland. The only distillery that made sense geographically for our trip was Glenkinchie Distillery, which is just about 20 minutes outside of Edinburgh. I don’t have any other distillery experience to compare it to, and if you’re a real Scotch type guy/gal I’m sure it’s not the best one there is, but it was definitely well worth the £24 (including transportation from Edinburgh). Our guide Neil was a pure Scotsman and Whiskey man, with an accent as thick as a vat of fermenting barley and a sense of humor as dry as the bottom of his tasting glass after the tour*. We highly recommend going with a few girls who don’t like Scotch so that your tasting session at the end includes double the amount of Scotch and you get nice and saucy for the bus ride home.*Making a run for cheesiest Whiskey-soaked sentence of the year.
We spent less than 24 hours in Glasgow, much of which was limited to Glasgow University, so I can only relay a few important facts about the city:
- The Uni looks like Hogwarts. In the most beautiful and educationally inspiring way.
- The student union has ample Snooker tables, which is a bizarre, over-sized version of billiards. Franklin was really excited about this. I was excited about the Tennents tall cans.
- Viper night club is full of people that are younger than us and has real cheap drinks on Monday nights. Real cheap.
- A night out at Viper will leave you with destroyed shoes and serious existential doubts about your lifestyle and future emotional contentment (to be discussed at the student union over hangover-nursing alcoholic cider).
- When one of your friends disappears at 4am and comes home hours later with handfuls of lottery scratchers, he may have a problem.
Okay that last one isn’t really about or limited to Glasgow, but it did happen there.
Many thanks to our Hannah, Lindsay, Dougie, Zac, The Laidlaws, and our other Scottish friends for a great visit.