Friday, June 24, 2016

If it's Not Scottish it's Crap

Knowing we were going to be spending the New Year in Edinburgh, we took advantage of being in Scotland and did a short stop over in Glasgow. The plan was to stop in a city to go to a Scotch whiskey distillery before heading to the big party in Edinburgh. Our father had introduced us to Highland whiskey and we'd become partial to it, so we had originally wanted to go to Islay or somewhere else up North like Inverness. Traveling there, within our schedule, didn't work out so we decided to stop in Glasgow instead and visit a local distillery called Glengoyne.

Royal Warrant worthy. 

Like many whiskey distilleries, Glengoyne uses copper stills in their whiskey making process. While there are different techniques used at Glengoyne, the biggest difference in scotch whiskey is that it is distilled only twice. Irish whiskey is distilled three times. 

The next room we went to was insanely cool. Glengoyne uses a mixture of oak barrels from both Europe and America. In these next few pictures you can see the differences that come out of the different types of wood. Each bottle on the shelf, as it progresses, is the color of the whiskey each additional year it is in the barrel. 

Deep in thought trying to make the best whiskey blend.

This waterfall was the distillery's original source of water for whiskey making. as the brand grew, the stream could not keep up and alternative sources of water were used. 

Before we left, we told our father that we'd bring him back a bottle of scotch for his Christmas present. We had a tough time choosing! 

Glengoyne was a 30 minute cab ride from the Glasgow city center and situated in a valley. The tour we did was amazing; the Malt Master tour. It was a detailed tour of the distillery plus time to create our own 15 Year-Old scotch. Quite the memory. The distillery itself has been in continuous operation since it first opened in 1833. A fun fact? It is known for being the place where modern day scotch whiskey techniques were began.

- Elise 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Edinburgh at Night

There was one reason that Mary and I planned a trip to Europe of Christmas and New Years: Hogmanay. We'd received a lot of grief from our parents about not being with family over the holidays. In the end, it was so worth it. It was probably one of the most fun New Year's celebrations that I've had. To date. I didn't bring out my nice camera to the celebration, but the festivities didn't just last one day. Hogmanay takes place over multiple days during which there is a winter festival. Here are some photos of the Traditional Torchlight Processional and some extras of the city. The procession started in Old Town Edinburgh and then thousands of people walked their way to Prince's Street. It was pretty cool to see all the torches walking through the streets. I couldn't help but think that this would never be allowed in America; they wouldn't let thousands of people walk around with yard long torches of fire. Just saying.

At the end of the Torchlight Procession, we watched a firework show from Calton Hill and the National Monument of Scotland. They set the show to the Star Wars theme! 


Friday, June 10, 2016

On Top of the World

If you've ever looked at the skyline in Edinburgh, the highest point around is the Castle Rock and on top of that, Edinburgh Castle. Mary and I were fortunate enough to spend the day touring the castle before heading to the large New Year's celebration, Hogmanay, later that day. 

A fortress, built over hundreds of years, the castle was used as a royal residence, military barracks and a prison. In its 1,100 year history,  the castle itself played a major role in the Scottish Wars for Independence, the Jacobite uprisings and participated in 26 recorded sieges. To go into detail of its history, would take forever. So I'm just going to share some of our pictures from the day and hope that they inspire you to go and see it for yourself.

When you turn around at the gatehouse, you see quite the view of Old Town

A backend view of The Parish Church of St. Cuthbert. You can just see our hotel in the background; it's the red building to the left. 

The Governor's House, what a lucky guy.

The cutest dog cemetery for the officers animals that passed in service of their country
As the light faded, they turned the castle blue. It was pretty cool to see.

They were kind enough to leave the Christmas decorations up for us. 

That fireplace...

Cutest little cafe to stop and warm up with a cup of tea.