Monday, July 09, 2007

Scotland 8

Tuesday, 19 June

After showers - an event Ellie vastly prefers in theory rather than in practice - and a last full Scottish breakfast (toast, porridge, and sauteed mushrooms for me) we checked out of the budget hotel and piled into the vans by 9:00.

We headed south and east, a route we've taken before, at first. As always, there was lovely scenery, and at one point we stopped for a photo op. We stopped very briefly at Spaenbridge again (tammies for all the babies) and then headed to Pitlochry for lunch. Pitlochry is a picturesque little shopping community. We had a lovely lunch at a nice cafe, and Paul and I finally tried haggis!

After lunch, we did a little souvenir shopping. Ellie and Ada were tired (backpack on Paul, frontpack on me) and we quickly learned that items marked "Sale!" were not made in Scotland. Still, we did get a few nice things.

A mile or two from Pitlochry was Edradour, the smallest, most exclusive distillery in Scotland. They produce only 15 casks of Scotch each week, all by hand. We bought a little but missed the tour (no little ones allowed).

After the distillery, we headed for Stirling. I was trying not to get my hopes up for the new hotel. Wow, oh wow! My first thought (and my second, and my third) was that I wanted to live here. It's a brick-and-frame Tudor about 10 minutes from the city, in a park-like setting.

There's a private bar where we gather for drinks before dinner, walking out to explore the gardens as we may. The food is plentiful, varied, and delicious. Can you believe orange juice as a starter at that other place? (Which has thus far remained nameless; it billed itself as a much nicer place than it was.) Tonight, I had fried Camembert followed by a vegetable risotto and some sort of banana/cream/shortbread/caramel dessert. Paul had prawns rose marie with melon followed by Guinness beef pie and a butter toffee cake dessert. Ellie (perhaps sensing the atmosphere) was fantastic throughout dinner, as was Ada, although we were locked out of our room - jammed antique lock - until well after 9:00. It took a little while to get the girls to sleep tonight.

Tomorrow, Stirling Castle!


Amanda said...

I'm still saving up my pennies for a retirement house in Stirling. I feel in love with it when I was 21 and can't wait to get back. Please tell me you went to the Wallace Monument. The castle was under major restoration when I was there in 1996 and apparently will be closing this year for more restoration.

Sarahlynn said...

Amanda, Stirling is a neat city; very large and bustling! (Somewhat to my surprise.) When we've retired to Oban, we'll come down to visit you. ;)

We certainly climbed the Wallace monument; see the next post for pictures. Funny anecdote. They put a statue of Mel Gibson as Braveheart near the carpark. This is so unpopular that they have to chain it up at night to keep it from being vandalized!

Stirling Castle is still undergoing major restoration, but they're letting people walk around the scaffolding. It was a great tour; highly recommended!

Amanda said...

The statue of Mel Gibson wasn't there in 96. The day I climbed to the top of Wallace Monument the clouds parted and a rainbow burst through. Can you imagine a full rainbow touching both sides of the land with that view? I was in heaven.

Sarahlynn said...