You haven’t lived until you’ve heard a beautiful little girl speak with a Scottish trill. You also haven’t lived until you’ve had back bacon. Let’s start with the bacon, naturally.
One of the redeeming qualities of the hotel I was staying at was their breakfast buffet (which thankfully they comped as it was prohibitively expensive – yes, that’s right, I’m still kvetching about the exchange rate). The cold buffet was generous, with lots of fresh and tasty options. But it was the these fluffy baby pancakes and side of perfectly cooked back bacon that really stole the show.
Back bacon is made from the loin of the pig, has a lot more meat and less fat than the typical strips made from the belly, and when sliced thin, trimmed and fried to perfection has a nice chew and doesn’t make you feel like you’re eating pure fat (even though you still pretty much are). I guess you could lump it into the “Canadian bacon” category but when you’re in the U.K. be sure to order “back bacon” as Canadian bacon has a bunch of different meanings over there. (You can tell I’m really into this as I have devoted an entire paragraph to it in this post. But whatever, it was that good.)
The rest of my morning was spent in the hotel’s rooftop garden, enjoying the rare Scottish sunshine and North Sea breezes and eagerly anticipating my lunch with my friend L and her family.
I hadn’t seen L in over a decade. We met in Boston back in the 90s while working for the same advertising agency, and while life has taken us in different directions and, in L’s case, to different countries, we’ve managed to stay connected via facebook.
L went to Scotland in pursuit of her M.B.A., fell in love, and didn’t bother coming back. And while I’m sure her family and close friends wish they had her nearer to home, I am quite happy that she is where she is. If she weren’t then I wouldn’t have had the joy of meeting little C and hearing her roll her R’s.
We met in front of the hotel and made our way over to VinCaffe for lunch. During our walk over, L and her husband made sure that I understood how truly rare the weather I was glowing about was. “No really, it’s NEVER like this. This is a once in a lifetime kind of summer. Don’t be fooled.”
Lunch was lovely and tasty.
After lunch, C and her daddy went off to the park so that L and I could catch up on the last ten years while she showed me around the city that had changed her life.
We walked the hills of New Town, my memory card quickly filling up with beautiful images.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the New Town part of Edinburgh was built up between the years of 1765 and 1850 in an attempt to keep the wealthy population of Edinburgh from moving to London in order to get away from the overcrowded and “unenlightened” Old Town. Most of the neo-classical and Georgian architecture has been retained, giving this part of Edinburgh a luxurious old-world charm.
We finished off our long overdue catch up at Eteaket, a favorite spot for locals looking for a proper cuppa. It was a little late in the day for a full afternoon tea, so we settled on a pot of Earl Grey and thick slices of coconut lemon cake.
Seeing L and meeting her family was the highlight of my time in Scotland. How lucky did I get in life to not only have friends that live in these beautiful places but to also be able to travel to see them?
Next and final stop on my itinerary was Venice.
And oh you guys…….