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Hello! Thanks for visiting my blog, I am glad you are here. For the most part, I use this to comment (and sometimes ramble...) about the many things I love or perhaps am fascinated with this week. This can include quite an assortment of topics, including my propensity for reading novels at all hours of the day, writing, art, and travel, as I do have a serious case of Wanderlust.

"The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." ~St. Augustine

Friday, August 12, 2011

Day 5 in Scotland

I was very sad to leave beautiful Inverness today. One final farewell to the beautiful city...

But, this just meant we were going to have a nice drive through MORE highlands, so this is fine in my book. This is one of the many things I love about traveling. I am so sad to leave, but a little part of me is happy because I know that I will come back to Inverness one day, so it is absolutely something I can look forward to!

The first stop was to the AMAZING ruins of Elgin Cathedral.

Oh my goodness it was beautiful. We did not have a long stop here, but it was just enough to get quite a few lovely pictures and a little time of fresh Highland air off the bus.

A little while later, we find ourselves in Glenfiddich country.

Time for a wee dram or two and learn about how uisge beatha (water of life in Gaelic) is made! Very informative and interesting. Whilst touring the distillery, I thought about how this was just like Wonka's factory, only for grown ups! The story of the place is very interesting and inspiring.

In 1886, William Grant and his 9 children built the original building, that is still standing.

The first drop of whisky came through the stills on Christmas day, 1887. They only use the water from the Robbie Dhu spring in the Highlands, and I believe are one of few, if not only, distillery that had such a singular, close source such as this.

The mashing room smelled so good. The copper stills, exact replicas of what William Grant first bought over a century ago, looked like rotund coppery men chugging along, brining this delicious libation to us.

Also, learning about how the whisky is aged was amazing. First, they get casks that have been filled only once with either sherry from Spain, or American bourbon. This is what gives Glenfiddich it's unique flavor. Then, the marrying happens. Because each distillation is unique, several casks are 'married' for a wee while as to let the flavors truly come together.

There is also a thing called the Angels' Share. As the whisky ages in the casks, there is natural evaportation, and of course the longer it is aged, the less product one will have at the end (naturally making the older whisky more expensive). This is called rather romantically as 'the angels' share'. Glenfiddich also has an artist in residence program, and one of these students created a beautiful sculpture for this room called just that, where two angels no longer needed their wings, leaving heaven behind, because they tasted Glenfiddich.

Where to next? Oh yes, now I can tell you about the best lunch experience ever, probably for all the wrong reasons.

Lunch was in Dufftown, a pretty little town with many little shops along the high street. We walked around a bit, and then it started to rain so we decided to get some grub to wait out the drizzle. Enter Noah's Ark Bistro. A very cute little place in a converted lower level of a house. Very ecclectic decor and maybe four tables total. All of which were filled with our fellow tour mates. I felt very bad almost immediatly, as she was on her own and now she has 16 patrons. Yikes. She was very nice and did her best, and then her friend came to help. What made it funny though, after the fact of course, was that we were on a time crunch because the coach was leaving in about 45 mintutes, as as each minute ticked on by I got more and more nervous. The orders then had to be taken again by the friend, and then something started burning in the kitchen..... No one else seemed concerned about missing the bus.... maybe they forgot about the rule that required one minute of singing for each one you are late.... bah!

Anyway, our lunch was amazing. I had a chick pea burger and it was so delish, my mom had a veggie baguette she loved. Looking back, should I ever find myself in Dufftown again, I would love to go back, but this time not with half of my tour group...

We made it back to the coach with a minute to spare, so no singing to the group. Whew! On the road for a wee while more, passing the very pretty Craigievar Castle in Aberdeenshire. Completed in 1626, it is a perfect fairy tale setting with turrents, gargoyles, and a beautiful setting!

I loved all the other ruins we saw driving around. I always wonder about when it was first built, who lived there, and all the history surrounding it. Le sigh....

Our next stop was the Tea Room at the Falls of Feugh.

Oh goodness, was this beautiful! A lovely spot of tea and delicious scones for a relaxing rest before we continue on to the hotel.

When we did get to the Ardoe House, we were amazed. A beautiful 19th century mansion in Aberdeen, it too looked straight out of a fairy tale. The story, however, of it's creation was a bit more scandalous, mistress included!

Lucky for me, there was some sort of fancy shindig happening at the hotel that night, so I feasted my eyes on room fulls of very handsome kilted men. Yummy.

Our dinner here was probably one of the most entertaining. We sat with John, Shauna, Egdar and Margaret. More of my faves :) Talks of rocket salads, fig leafs, and the other tables being jealous of the great time we were having :) Our bartender/waiter was amazing too, hilarious with his banter with us, talk of crockery, and looked like a Scottish Rob Pattinson.

This was a long day, so off to bed! But stay tuned, our next day included tiny cannons :)

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