- Always have a raincoat or umbrella with you—I’ve never lived in a place where the weather changes so frequently. It can be a gorgeous sunny and 65 degree day, and the next thing you know…BLAM!!!! It’s gusting to 40mph with rain that’s blowing sideways. Of course just as you scramble to find some sort of shelter it’s sunny again.
- Just because you’ve either been a part of or started numerous whisky clubs in the United States, it does NOT mean you are ready for the Heriot-Watt Malt Whisky Society. Last Friday I stumbled upon the student run, University approved Malt Whisky Society’s first meeting, and after a couple inquiries I slapped down my £12 fee and joined the club. I was welcomed in with handshakes all around, a place at the head table and a snifter. Four hours, 8 bottles of whisky and somewhere in the vicinity of 12 neats later, I vaguely remember asking the president how often we’ll be meeting, thinking a marathon this epic had to be a rare occurrence. He replied, “Oh, at least every other week, matey”…he paused for a moment, smiled and said, “Aye, but don’t worry, we have a bourbon or rum tasting on the off weeks”. This could be the end of me.
- Get yourself hopelessly lost. The best places I’ve found around town, be it a hole in the wall pub, a small local market or amazing food cart, have almost all occurred after I’ve decided to wander about for the afternoon. At first glance at a map, Edinburgh appears really spread out, but once you start walking around you quickly find that it’s a fantastic city to explore on foot and isn’t nearly as spread out as it seems.
- Apparently there is an Edinburgh, Indiana, and the weather there is WAY more stable than Edinburgh, Scotland. So, when you go online in the morning and see on weather.com that it looks like it’s going to be such a fantastic day out that you decide it’s safe to leave the house without a raincoat or an umbrella only to find yourself in a torrential down pour two minutes after stepping outside, just remember the #1 thing you’ve learned thus far….and learn how to type the right city and country into weather.com, that couldn’t hurt.
- The Scottish people take their holidays very seriously. After working in higher education for the past four years I have become accustomed to a base level of services available on a college campus during holidays—i.e. food services, health services, custodial services, etc. Well, in Scotland, when it’s a National Holiday, entire institutions basically shut down. After working through the mild frustration of finding that essentially all services on-campus were non-existent for the day, it was refreshing to discover that a holiday over here means you actually are expected to take a complete break from work. Luckily for me, intermittent bus service was still available, so I found myself in a pub off the beaten path enjoying a book and a pint—which seemed fitting.
Until next time,