Friday, May 25, 2012

England and Scotland: the Wrap Up

Our trip deserves one last post.  I haven't yet mentioned my culinary surprises in Scotland.  We ate breakfast each morning in the hotel dining room since it was included in the cost of our stay.  The offerings were basically familiar to us with a few variations.  The breakfast meats and sausages had slightly different flavors and, of course, there was the traditional haggis available.  There was also porridge each morning which was much like oatmeal.  Next to the porridge was brown sugar (no surprise), maple syrup (I can understand that), and........a bottle of scotch.  I never saw anyone actually put the scotch on their porridge, but the cook assured me that scotch was traditionally used on porridge and haggis.  The last morning we were there, however, the bottle was drained.  Someone enjoyed it, with or without the porridge!

One morning I was looking for honey to put on my toast.  There were these small packages, much like we use in this country for jam in restaurants.  I couldn't read the small print, but the picture looked like maybe it was a bee hive and I decided that this must be my honey.  When I opened it, the color was dark, but I just decided that honey must be darker in Scotland.  It was also sort of thick, but again, I just convinced myself that this was Scottish honey.  But then I tasted it!!  There was nothing sweet about it.  In fact, I couldn't even bring myself to swallow the one bite of toast that I took.  It turns out that rather than honey, this was something called Marmite.  It's made from the sludge left over from beer production.  Even in the UK I'm told that people either love it or hate it.  I'm in the hate column.

On the way home, we decided to fly from Edinburgh to Heathrow rather than take the train back.  We were sitting at the gate at Edinburgh airport waiting for our flight.  Our plane arrived at the gate and the passengers were getting off when I spotted someone who looked familiar to me.  It took a moment for my brain to figure out who she was when suddenly I realized that Susan Boyle had just walked past me! Another first!

I think we could have stayed a lot longer and not run out of things to see.  As I write this I want to go back and see more, but by the end of the trip I began to miss the familiar.  I missed my husband.  I missed my dog.  I missed food that I recognized, a shower that would get hot and my own bed.  I think seeing a different part of the world has really made me "grow" in a way.  That's sort of strange to say since I certainly feel "all grown up"  But, I understand more about things outside my own little corner of the world in ways that I didn't before.  And the things that I learned and experienced can't be absorbed by a book, by the Internet or by a TV show or movie.  Those things go a long way in our understanding of the rest of the world, but they don't replace the actual experience.  I understand why travel is considered an important part of education and I'm glad that my children have had opportunities to travel. 

Hopefully there will be a chance to do it all again:  see new places, have new adventures, learn new things and make new memories.  And in the meantime......there's quilting to be done!

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