Zach and I getting off the plane!
Although this post will contain a small story about wine, the purpose of it is to get myself out of talking about wine and somehow ending up with a story about men lifting up their kilts. Recently I learned that for my last spring break of my college career, I will be heading across the pond to Germany and Poland. When my father was in the military, my parents lived in Germany for four years. My brother who was born somewhere in Germany is a triple crown citizen; United States, Canada, and Germany. As my luck would have it, my father retired from service before I was born, thereby disallowing me to live anywhere in Europe. I curse this fact daily. Despite my anger and rage of living a less illustrious life than my imagination would have dictated, I can’t complain. My parents too believed in the importance of travel and have made a point to take me to interesting cities around the world, including but not limited to Paris, Dublin, and Edinburgh.
A year and a half ago on my way to Scotland, we had a layover in Amsterdam. It had been ten years since I had been to Amsterdam and did not recall the amount of security that was there when I was ten. I have to admit it was a bit different then the security we went through at SeaTac airport. I was really tired from the flight because, as time zones would have it, it was morning in Amsterdam and night in Seattle. I was woozy from the Heineken and quiche I had just had for “breakfast” and was not prepared to be felt up by the security officer. I was becoming accustomed to getting my whole body x-rayed before boarding a flight but I was not ready for the officers to literally grab and dig at my body. I had a hard time not laughing due to the shock of having a complete stranger touch me in the one place I was always told to protect. I do not want to have to spell this out but if I were in middle school and I was explaining this, I would let you know that they were really close to hitting a home run.
I do not remember much of the flight from Amsterdam to Scotland, although I know we were on a KLM flight because they have the best flight attendant outfits. When the stewardess came around with the snack cart my mother, Zach, and I were each handed a tiny bottle of Chardonnay. It was promptly consumed. I am not sure if it was the combination of the wine, altitude, being awake for 32 hours, all three, or something else, but my head was detaching from my shoulders and becoming anti-gravitational. I recall it snowing outside the airplane and there being a bit of snow covering what looked like farms down below. Even from the sky I could tell I was falling in love with Scotland. My love was even furthered once we got off the plane and hopped onto a double decker bus that took us on a thirty minute ride to our destination; downtown Edinburgh.
It was exactly how I imagined Scotland to be and exactly what I wanted. We drove past a very large estate with black iron gates and roses. For the sake of this blog post we can call it Downton Abbey, (p.s. Netflix can you please put the second season of Downton Abbey up? Oh and Bones? Thanks.)
Edinburgh felt so homey to me, the closes, the winding streets, and the dark nights in which I imagined Jekyll and Hyde popping out somewhere to murder me. It reminded me of a Halloween town; not because it was necessarily creepy but because lining the Royal Mile are men and woman handing out flyers and sign-up sheets for haunted underground tours. The tours had been on my bucket lists of must sees and thankfully we did end up going on one down into Mary King’s close; a portion of underground city that had been built over during the 17th century to make way for what I believe was a bank, (we will go further into the tour at a later blog date. Maybe for Halloween when I share my haunting stories!)
Our hotel was located on the Royal Mile; a road that runs from the old Edinburgh Castle down to Holyrood House. On our first night in Edinburgh, we immediately took a nap, went to dinner, and then Zach and I headed out for some whiskey at a bar two blocks up from our hotel. We ordered four pints of beer and two glasses of whiskey on ice.
Me at the first bar.
The night was fairly quite except for a group of newly minted eighteen year olds from Spain and a group of men dressed in kilts. We had been there for maybe an hour when the group of men, who we learned from the bartender, “had been here since this morning,” lifted their kilts and yelled “mangina!” They tucked their man parts between their legs and wiggled around like they had hula hoops on their hips. They then proceeded to form a conga line and parade around the bar singing and dancing. They were kicked out as soon as the conga line commenced. We asked what they were doing and the bartender told us they were on a Stag; the Scottish equivalent of a bachelor party. We were excited to have experienced real Scottish men in kilts but the excitement was soon ruined when a Scottish hipster set up his speakers and started playing Hotel California.