Sunday, July 16, 2006

Day three -- Lazing About

We had a less programmed day today. We slept in until an incredible 8am (the boys slept til 10am!). After that, I could stand it no longer, so I started breakfast. Since Becky, Ed and Kathleen had run in to Tesco on the first day, we had great provisions in the fridge.

Breakfast was scrambled eggs, fried haggis (and it was delicious!!!), whole wheat toast, orange juice, hot coffee, and skimmed milk. The boys ate with gusto, and Eddie especially enjoyed the haggis. Though haggis recipes can vary, our particular packet listed: pork lungs, pork fat, oatmeal, pork liver, pork heart, pork kidneys, onions, spices and some preservatives. It was in a plastic casing, not stomach, but it was indeed delicious fried up--tasting a lot like liverwurst. Definitely not kosher.

After breakfast, we walked into town to get some touristy shopping out of the way. Aviemore is filled with very tourist-trappy stores, and it was amusing to me that the Glenlivet, which is made less than 30 miles from here, sells for ten dollars more in the stores in Aviemore than it does at the ABC store in Virginia back home. Heck, it'd be easier to buy it at home and not worry about bringing it on the plane!

In the stores, though, we were able to pick up some nice trinkets for the boys (and a few for me), and then we ate lunch at the Cairngorm Hotel. The hotel is a Victorian era hotel with a very lavishly decorated dining room. Everything verticle and everything horizontal was covered in tartan. Lunch for me was venison casserole with an herbed dumpling served in Yorkshire pudding (i.e. a bread-bowl), with a cup of cream of wild mushroom soup to start. Ed got bangers and mash; Becky got a Ploughman's cheese and pickle sandwich, and Kathleen, a salad. The boys diverged from normal Scottish fare to get the ol' standby's of macaroni and cheese and cheese pizza.

After lunch, we made it back to the resort for some swimming in the pool. I only lasted a few minutes before collapsing into a nap on the deck chairs. But the boys kept themselves entertained.

When the swimming was complete, we ate a quick pub dinner (nachos and chips) and then headed off to our first official tour with Highland Discovery Tours: the Sunday Evening Special which is (according to the leaflet) a 2½ hour orientation tour of the local area, in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park including: Rothiemurchus, Loch Morlich, Cromdale (the working farm of Bill and Steph, our guides), Grantown on Spey, and Carrbridge.

The farm was the highlight, as Bill and Steph are raising original highland cattle, a species particular to the Scottish highlands, and not infultrated genetically for over 2000 years. They have over 100 cattle and sheep, and each one is named. They're also overrun with rabbits, so I'm compelled to send Bill some recipes for rabbit sausage to help him in his vermin control.

Tomorrow, Monday, is another free day, so we'll probably get up and do something, but we don't yet have anything planned. In Grantown is a fine kilt shoppe, so perhaps I will have to buy one. Bill says the ladies (note, not the laddies!) can't resist a man in a kilt. I can use all the help I can get!

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