Wednesday, July 28, 2010
36. Try Haggis (and neeps and tatties)
It's a little before 6 am, and it's been light for almost an hour here on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. I've been to Scotland before, but never to Skye, so my new thing #37 will combine a new place (Skye) and a new activity (Sea Kayaking). But for new thing #36 I did a pretty easy one (try a new food) in a place I've been before -- and completely loved. That would be the city of Edinburgh.
I was always hesitant to try haggis in the past because of it's famous main ingredient, sheep's organs (stomach, heart and lungs). But a great thing about doing this list is that now compared to say, ice climbing, eating a plate of haggis seems like small potatoes, so I decided to try it. When I'm not traveling I try to stick to a vegetarian diet, so won't be going out of my way for this one anyway, but my official verdict is that it's actually not bad. I think it's more like hash than anything else, and since it's loaded with fat, it tastes pretty good, and is probably terrible for you. I had it the traditional way, with neeps (parsnips) and tatties (mashed potatoes), and as you can see from the picture below it basically looks like a big plate of baby food.
Of course, I had to post a few other pictures from our time in Edinburgh as well. I'm here with my friend and photojournalist colleague, Jerry. We're presenting a co-authored paper at a conference in Cambridge in a few days and decided to extend the trip to go to Scotland on the front end and Denmark afterwards. I had been in Edinburgh twice before, once with my friend Alex and again with my sister Katrinka, and though both trips happened over fifteen years ago, being back has made me remember how completely much I love the city. It's full of mists and fogs and the coolest Gothic architecture and spires and gargoyles imaginable. We did some of the classic tourist destinations, including touring the castle at the top of the city, the palace of Holyrood (official Scottish residence of the royal family when they're in town and site of lots of 16th and 17th century intrigues and murders), and a hike above the city to the extinct volcano called Arthur's Seat.
There is a shot of the castle from the park below, and another from within the Great Room where they had banquets with the knights and nobles. I love the shot of Jerry at Holyrood Palace because it looks like he's taking some important business call when actually he's listening to the audio tour we were following. And there is a shot of me on top of Arthur's Seat looking over Edinburgh and the Firth of Forth.
I'm going to save the Scottish Gaelic I collected last night for the Isle of Skye/sea Kayaking post, and still need to finish my list revision, so that's it for now. Except to say that Scotland is exactly as great as I remember it from many years ago, and I strongly recommend a visit (but bring your jacket because it's cold, even in late July).