It all started with a drive to Glasgow and a pit stop in Windsor along the way. After a short drive from London with friends, we arrived in Windsor where we discovered Banoffee Pie. It’s banana toffee pie and it’s the most amazing pie any of us have ever had. After gobbling up the greatest pie ever, Greg, Mandy and I walked around window shopping and the like, somehow ending up exactly where we started. We decided to go to a pub, The Horse and Groom. We were the only ones there for about 45 minutes so the bartender kept chatting with us. At first he said we, as Americans, had no culture but then later tried to relate to us citing his favorite TV show, Family Guy, and favorite American music. No culture, I don’t think so. We departed because he wouldn’t leave us alone and the chips were too expensive. We could have gone to Windsor Castle but it was 13.5 pounds ($27) so we passed. We bought a cheap bottle of wine instead and enjoyed it in the sun at another pub around the corner.
Our driver, Mandy’s homestay host “dad,” picked us up, and we drove several hours more to Glasgow, arriving at midnight. We found our hostel and inside it was a labyrinth! NO JOKE. There were so many rooms in odd places. The next day, we decided to take a train to Edinburgh because everyone had told us to go there. It was only 40 minutes and we saw Scotland’s beautiful countryside on the way. Shortly after we arrived, we walked up a punishingly steep hill to get to Edinburgh’s Castle. It was impressive atop a jagged stone cliff, and I’m sure no one invaded that one too easily. The view was absolutely spectacular. I would be bold enough to say that you could see all of Edinburgh. The best part was it was the one weekend of the year that it was free to get in. FREE! There were a lot of people though, more than you can possibly imagine. From inside the castle we looked down the massive cliff and saw a market. We immediately booked it out of there to get food, this was of course after appreciating the castle’s history, architecture, and crown jewels.
At the market we bought fairly local rapeseed oil to take home with us and ostrich burgers. I have now eaten ostrich. It was really tender and apparently less fattening than beef. I highly recommend it. We then walked around a bit and came across a pub called, Shakespeare’s. We have discovered traveling around Europe, that you can buy pitchers of cocktails on the cheap. So we bought two. Afterward, we ventured out to window shop, explore a contemporary art gallery, and visit the tea and coffee shop where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter, The Elephant House. I enjoyed a spot of tea and we all absorbed the Harry Potter paraphernalia on the walls.
Walking around later, we discovered the double nougat chocolate-covered ice cream sandwich. As we were enjoying this heavenly item, the weather turned and it started to pour. We went back to Shakespeare’s, ate shepherd’s pie for dinner and ordered another cocktail pitcher. Mandy and I did not have any of it though, it was similar to Big Red soda with alcohol added. It was vile. Greg didn’t even liked it, but he doesn’t like seeing things go to waste.
Sunday rolled around and we spent about nine hours driving back to London. We spent more time in the car than in Scotland, but we loved the 10 hours we explored Edinburgh and our short morning in Glasgow the day we left. We saw highland cows and dry stone walls as far as the eye can see on the way back. It was a lovely trip, full of delicious food and cocktails.