Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Freaking beautiful Highlands

I was trying to think of a better name for this post, but just look at these pictures and you'll understand why I couldn't. It's seriously amazing.
Skye Bridge with Isle of Sky in the background
Drive from Sterling to Mallaig 
Drive from Sterling to Mallaig
Fort William
On the way to Mallaig
on the way to Mallaig
On the way to Mallaig
On the way to Mallaig
the Atlantic Ocean 
Eilean Donan
on the drive home 
And this is just the abridged version. Let's just say between Italy, Edinburgh, and the Highlands, I had to buy an extra memory card for my camera.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

driving on the left

For my final hurrah in Scotland, Shahida and I decided to do something neither of us had done before: a Road trip in the UK. Of course we'd both been on road trips before, but in the good ol' US of A as well as Sweden (and basically anywhere that's not a crazy British place) we like to drive on the right side of the road... So together, with the emotional support of Simon, we rented a car with the driver's side on the right and drove for 3 days on the left side of the road. 

Now, the actual driving on the left isn't really a problem. you get used to that almost immediately (just be sure to stay on the correct side when you're in... say... a parking lot... oops). We would always remind each other which side to be on when turning though, just for a little extra help: "turn into the far lane!" for right turns, and "stay on the left!" for left turns. 

For me, though, the real challenge was sitting on the right side of the car. It's very strange how much your spatial reasoning is disrupted when all the sudden you have to learn to account for half the car being to your left instead of your right. When you focus on the road, you have no idea where you should be sitting in the lane to make sure your car is centered. This resulted in Shahida and I continuously driving too far to the left (which was especially unfortunate when there was a high curb). 

We also established that it's terrifying to be a passenger on the left side. It really feels like you're going to hit everything that's even remotely close to the road. This lead to a lot of terror-inducing gasping. 

But we made it there and back unscathed with only one flat tire (but more on that later). We even managed to conquer the single lane windy roads, master roundabouts (driving clockwise, mind you!), and enjoy some scenery along the way! 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

would you like a spot of tea?

Afternoon tea has pretty much become mandatory for Shahida and I when I'm in Edinburgh. We love to scope out new places and rate all parts of the experience. And yes, there are many things to consider when rating an afternoon tea experience, but here are a few of the important ones:

1. Atmosphere
where are you dinning? In a fancy hotel restaurant, in a cozy coffe shop, or in the museum of modern art cafe? There are many different places to enjoy your afternoon tea, so make sure you find the one that is right for you! 

2. Presentation
As any competition show on Food Network will remind you: presentation is key. How does your display of tea and treats look? Appetizing? Any extra touches? Anything as awesome as these tea cozies? 

3. The food
oh yes, afternoon tea is not just a nice tea and crumpets shared with the queen while doting on her yorkies. It involves an array of sweet and savory treats alike to be enjoyed over the course of the tea. Standards include egg sandwiches and scones, among many others.

4. The Tea
Last but definitely not least - the tea - the namesake of the whole event plays a largely important role. In my day-to-day tea endeavors I don't venture far from my standard Earl Grey. When it comes to afternoon tea, though, there is no way to not try some of the exciting new flavors they've got out there! So no matter what you may stick to regularly, when it's time for afternoon tea, don't be afraid to get a little adventurous!

So needless to say, afternoon tea was the first thing Shahida and I did when I arrived this summer. And I'd have to say, it was one of our best overall experiences to date! 

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