Highlights from the Scottish Highlands

Holy moses, it’s been too long since my last post. This summer has been a bit of a whirlwind and thus, this blog has suffered. But that is neither here nor there because I have recently returned from a jaunt through bonnie Scotland with my dad and stepmom.

They picked a good one for their first trip to Europe because all the hype around Scotland is true. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all New Zealand on you and write 3 lengthy posts about it. Instead, here are my top 6 highlights:

1. Skye: There is no saving the best for last here. Skye was the best and deserves to come first. We spent 3 nights in Skye and I’m not sure if it was enough. From the small town of Portree to the Cuillin Hills, the island is vast, breathtaking and delightful, even whilst getting rained on the entire time. We toured around the Trotternish peninsula, checked out Dunvegan Castle, visited the Talisker distillery, and attempted to see the Fairy Pools (unfortunately, because it had been steadily raining, the path to the pools was completely uncrossable).  My friends told me I couldn’t miss Skye and they were right. You could make this your only stop in Scotland and you’d be happy.

2. Distilleries: We have never done a distillery tour before and not only did I learn a thing or two, I have found a new appreciation for whiskey/whisky and *shudder* may even like it. I see this as positive news since winter has already decided to arrive here in Munich and a good scotch will be a nice accompaniment.

We visited Talisker in Skye first and Edradour in Pitlochry a few days later. The former is worth a visit for their location alone but it was a bit peaty/smokey for my taste. I much preferred Edradour as it was a better and more intimate tour and also allowed for a sampling of two delicious whiskys at a lower price — and you know mama likes a bargain.

3. The Road to the Isles: Getting to Skye was a long day but the drive itself was pretty magical. We originally were going to go by Loch Lomond but there was quite a bit of traffic to get there from Edinburgh and we needed to get to the car ferry by a certain time, so we opted for a different route. We were still able to go through Glencoe and the Glenfinnan viaduct (aka to see where they filmed scenes for the Hogwarts Express…#nerd). It was all very lovely and gave me plenty of chances to practice my “hanging-outside-the-car” photography skillz.

4. Edinburgh: Okay so technically Edinburgh is not in the Highlands but whatever, this city is great. It encapsulates all the things we Foutzes enjoy in our European cities: 1) it’s old as balls 2) has a castle 3) local folk music is played aplenty and 4) has a pub on every corner. 5 stars.

5. Haggis: More people than I care to count asked us before we left if we were going to try haggis in Scotland. If you’re unfamiliar, haggis is sheep’s offal (heart, liver and lungs); minced with onion, stock, and spices, encased in the animal’s stomach. Sounds scrumptious right? (Though really, just google the ingredients of a hot dog or scrapple and haggis doesn’t sound too crazy)

I will generally try anything once (except I still have not brought myself to try fermented shark in Iceland — that one may have to wait a minute) so of course we ordered it. And surprisingly, it’s actually quite tasty. Even more surprising, is that my dad ordered it at least two more times in the remainder of the trip. Take that, Mickey D’s.

Tagline should just be…Haggis: not as wretched as you think.
6. Highlander Games: If you combine men in kilts throwing heavy objects around, random track and field events for people ages fetus to a billion, 18 pipe bands (no exaggeration), and several stands selling handmade things that scream “Stephanie, spend all of your money on me”, you have the Highlander Games and it’s pretty much the best thing ever. While Skye took the top spot on this list, the Games might have been my favorite part of the whole trip. I compiled a few video clips of questionable quality for your enjoyment.

There was so much that we didn’t get to do or didn’t have time for so these are just a fraction of possibilities this great country has to offer.  Plus, in all the time we were there, I didn’t come across that hot piece, Jamie Fraser, from Outlander. So all the more reason to go back, right?

I need my vapors.

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