September 7, 2005

Scotland Chronicles – Day 6 – August 25 – Minicoach Tour of Highlands

On today’s tour our friends John and Nicole from San Francisco, who generously flew out to join us for our one year wedding anniversary, joined us on our highland tour . So did Dad Duncan as with our previous day’s group (me and Stephen, Mom and Dad, the two grands, and two sibs).

Douglas, our driver and guide for the day, amused us again with stories of Scottish bleeding and suffering. At least John and Nicole were getting some new info while the rest of us predicted each upcoming gory fact. Even Dad Duncan was impressed and almost agreed with the driver. Our favorite line, “Mel Gibson’s Braveheart was more hysterical than historical.”

We started in Perth at the foot of the highlands. Stephen, John, Nicole and I were all recovering from our dining and whisky drinking fest of the previous night. We had to take advantage of our family-free time. Everyone broke in their credit cards some more and had the same shock when they saw the exchange rate. But we did get some amazing wool knits.

Next was lunch which was again an adventure. Poor John and Nicole were baptized into our Jewish feeding frenzy as we tried to care for each other’s interests without sacrificing any restaurant staff to our lions. Are lions Kosher? More shopping and then off to Queen’s View which is the most beautiful view of the Highlands you can imagine. John generously pushed Grammie’s wheelchair up the slope as we climbed for the view. At the top we were taking so many photos of glamorous John and Nicole that people thought they were celebrities on a fashion shoot. Why disappoint? We played along.

Next to see the world’s oldest Ewe tree (I just know I’m getting that name wrong) which was situated in a two-building town next to the ancient church that was still in use. On the way out Nicole noticed a stone circle but none of us could find the bathroom.

The final stop was the Famous Grouse distillery. Don’t be deceived, Grammie can put those shots away. She downed her sample in one gulp and began giggling and babbling. Dad Duncan was just as happy with his samples.

Back in Edinburgh the family headed out to the Chinese Circus which was in the big top next to the Lady Boys of Bangkok which soon became my favorite name for Stephen and my brother Matthew. Ringside seats gave us a close-up view of all the action, which didn’t seem too fake. We ended the evening with Indian food at the Bombay Cycle Club whose waiters weren’t pleased to see us at 10pm. We made the experience extra special for the waiters by ordering soups, drinks and missing the 10 p. per person minimum by a good 8 p. But it was by far the BEST Indian food I have ever had. Please don’t tell me the secret ingredients.