The Traveling Beans

Eat| Travel | Learn…All Over The World

Rosé from Burgundy, France

The 6 Pinks We Drink for Under $20

It’s Time for the

WEEK-END WINE-DUP!

We made it through another week and with the full moon fever (argumentative children), piles of laundry (does it ever end?), prepping our house for selling (ACK!), AND packing for our Alaskan Adventure (YAY escapism!)….my sanity is holding on by a shred.

A  fine, fine, very fine shred.

This means I am looking forward to a lovely glass of wine to kick off the week end and with this heat, it’s a gonna be a rosé . (Like my Italian accented, broken English using a French word? I am pretty much able to speak broken English in 5 languages. Amazing right? :P)

Anyhoo….here’s our week end WINE-DUP! with some of my faves to help you find a yummy pink to drink in every budget and remember pink wine isn’t ‘just’ for breakfast anymore!

$20 and Under

ESPIRAL ~ VINHO ROSE

This Portuguese lovely little, fresh and fruity rosé was a great find from Trader Joe’s and at only $6.99 I suggest buying 2 or more and inviting your friends to help you drink, because I don’t like to recommend drinking alone…you know ….after 4pm

CABERNET SAUVIGNON MERLOT ROSE – THE WILD OLIVE

A pink from South Africa that is an absolute delight for only $11.99 . Lightly floral on the nose and citrus on the palate makes this a no brainer for entertaining or to drink with your sweet thang under the light of the moon. ***note- screw top for easy beach drinking….I like how they think 😉

CABERNET SAUVIGNON ROSE – TORRES LAS MULAS RES ORGANIC 2015

Chile is a go-to for in-expensive, quaffable wines. This Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon rosé is made from organically grown grapes from the “San Luis de Alico” organic vineyard. We are talking delicate and fresh with an intense palate of ripe fruit and aromas of red berries. At $14.99  this fresh and fruity  is an easy pink to drink.

BEATO BARTOLOMEO BREGANZE – SPUMANTE EXTRA DRY ROSA DI SERA

This Italian pink bubbly is 85% Prosecco and 15% marzemino with aromas of berries and cream. It is slightly tart with just a kiss of sweetness making this a fantastic summer drink. At only $18.49  I would bring it as a hostess gift for your next summer bbq or drink at your beach side picnic out of a sippy cup like decent parents do.

JOIE – ROSE 2015

Who would I be if I did not include the leader of BC rosés?  Heidi Noble from Joie is one of my wine heros ( do you have one of those? If not, Heidi is your new hero. You’re welcome.) She crafts rosés in the Okanagan Valley that are as fine as the French and great for food pairings.  This Joie rosé is fresh and fruity with a slight spiciness….exactly how my husband would describe me….this BC beauty is only $18.99 and one of my all time faves.

 

AIX EN PROVENCE ROSE – BIELER PERE & FILS CUVEE SABINE 2015

I love me some French rosé…lets face it, they invented this beautiful drink so….

Here is how the BCLDB explains this lovely;

All the grapes were picked on the early edge of ripeness, during the cool night time hours, and go direct to press. Aromas dance between summer flowers, wild strawberry and cherry and herbs de Provence. ( I know right? combined with BC herb you can write like this too!) These same flavours carry through on the palate but in a more delicate way. The palate is surprisingly broad and rich, though not at all heavy, and finishes with mouth watering acidity. Great wine for only $19.99 cad

Prices are in Canadian Dollars so imagine the prices are much  less in U.S. and UK

Have a favourite rosé? Share it with me!!!

***Disclaimer – The Traveling beans are in no way promoting drinking in the morning or using alcohol as a crutch. This is meant to be a fun read and hope you can see it as such.

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8 Things that Surprised us about Europe

We googled the heck out of this trip before we stepped foot on an airplane, read Lonely Planet guides, and got advice from many who had gone before us. However, there were still some things that came as a surprise.

  1. Scotland actually does have a cuisine!                                                        I was prepared for deep fried everything from fish to chocolate bars….it is actually a Scottish thing.We knew we would be tasting haggis and tatties ( still not sure what that is) and were open to what ever other surprises came our way. However, what surprised us most is that we actually ate quite well. You see, the French had a great influence on the Scots ( and vice versa) and you will find hints of cassoulet and cream sauce served with game and fish. While in Edinburgh, we had some fab food on the Royal Mile at a place called The Amber Room. Items like Isle of Bute smoked salmon and lobster figs and smoky bacon took us on a taste journey from sea to highlands. They also have a killer collection of Whiskey to sample. At our friends place in OldMeldrum we BBQ’d Venison sausage and tried a fine haggis….which I had to address….will post a video for your comedic pleasure, but basically had to read a Robbie Burns poem in my best(worst) Scottish accent. All in all we ate well and enjoyed the stunning scenery in Scotland!
  2.  We felt very safe in Paris…well all of France really.                                   We had heard, like everyone, that Paris especially is unsafe. We were prepared to limit our travels and activities and almost did not go to Paris. We had a stern talk with the kids about safety and staying close (still wise) and watching for pick pockets.  Once we got out and began exploring the streets of this beautiful city, we quickly saw that Paris is a peaceful city. We walked the streets at night and we even got to the point where our teenaged daughters were allowed to go off and shop and sight see with out us. I still had moments of paranoia because past events and media sensationalism have shaped my thinking. I even expected an air of anxiousness amongst the locals and that could not have been farther from the truth. So thankful we did not act out of fear and spent time in this beautiful city!

 

 

 

We loved walking the streets of Paris at night and especially loved turning a corner and seeing this beauty all lit up!

 

3.We were told that driving in France and Italy was a bad idea because the roads are crazy narrow at times and we thought it was going to be like this IMG_5477We also  heard that the French and Italians are crazy drivers and that streets and highways are packed, but actually once we were outside of the major cities like Paris ( BTW we drove the round about at Arc du Triumph and lived ) it was easy breezy. Really glad we drove because we saw so much more and had the freedom to pull into spots of interest when the desire arose. The other surprise on the highways though was the amount of toll booths. We knew to expect them just had no idea that they would be like every 15 minutes (*exaggeration) or so it seemed AND you pay by kilometre. So anything we saved driving a diesel vehicle we made up for in tolls. Here is a link to learn more about tolls and routes to avoid them : Driving France      *The other thing to note is that we ate quite well along the way and even the gas stations have a great selection of foods. Just don’t expect coffee to be North American sized 😉

4. The Size of Elevators Our apartment in Paris was on the 4th floor and we had A LOT of luggage and sometimes our bodies hurt from walking endless hours on cobblestone streets. So the elevator was something we looked forward to….but it meant 2 at a time or one and a piece of luggage.  BTW this was not an exception and until Italy, this was the size of elevators every where we went 😛

Teeny elevator in our Paris apartment

Teeny elevator in our Paris apartment

 

 

5.How emotional I became at the WWII war memorials We stood on July 1st (Canada Day) with our Canadian flags in hand, on Juno Beach. This is where Canadian men, some as young as 17 and 18 years old, after a rough sail across the English Channel,  jumped off a boat to face immediate German machine gunfire. Chris’ grandfather was one of these brave men. We walked the beach and toured the dugouts with other Canadians and two of which currently serve in the Canadian military. I asked them what it meant for them to see this place to which they replied with a lump in their throat ” We are humbled by the courage of these men”. We thanked them for serving our country and I could no longer hold back my tears. I knew that the freedom I experience today and the fact that I stood as a Canadian on that beach came at a great expense and I was (we all were) beyond moved.

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Poppies lined the streets against the wheat fields down to the beach photo credit: Stephanie Bradburn

 

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Chris standing on same spot his grand father fought in WWII #Juno-beach

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Family shot (minus our eldest) on Juno Beach Canada Day 2016

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Photo of what our men faced that June day in 1944

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Canadian soldiers trying to find cover in German gunfire

6.Eating Gluten Free My daughter Zoe is allergic to gluten and we were concerned about her having food options while on the road. Although Scotland and France had tons of options in grocery stores, the restaurants (96% of the time) were annoyed when we asked for a gluten free menu or when asked if they had GF options. Italy , on the other hand, was totally on board with offering gluten free menus and options. Every where we went from the smallest mom & pop spot to tourist spots to fine dining had a separate GF menu and always went out of their way to accommodate us.

7.No Coffee on the Go We had a hard time shifting our North American Starbucks carrying habits, to the European slow down and drink your damn coffee habit. Our poor Scottish friends could not believe we left their house one morning with coffee mugs in hand to drive the countryside. *BTW- the drink holders in the car we rented was more the size of a beer bottle than a coffee mug so there was spillage. Malcolm (Scottish friend) felt our pain and bought us a couple of travel mugs that fit nicely  so we could maintain our coffee addiction 😉  We did find Starbucks in Paris and Glasgow and went there mostly for the free wi-fi, but also left with coffee in hand. By the time we got to Italy we were use to espresso shots and actually miss the deliciousness of Italian Coffee

8.Public Drinking The French and Italians do not cruise around with their coffee, but they most certainly can be found walking the streets or sitting in parks enjoying a bottle of wine or beer. Our gas stations in North America are typically linked to coffee shops where in France and Italy you are more likely to be able to leave with a bottle of wine or beer than you are with a grande coffee! Italy especially, we laughed that petrol stations all had bars where people stopped to grab a beer and a panini. They also had great espresso but always served in glassware so we had to stop and enjoy. The learning to slowdown and enjoy our coffee was actually a blessing and we hope to continue this back home.

*****BONUS Surprise…..okay I forgot one so editing this post and adding…..Pepperoni pizza is NOT a thing in Italy. Back home my 10 yr old son lives on pepperoni pizza and anything that requires copious amounts of ketchup. Soooooo to his surprise (and ours) peperoni is actually a pepper. Salami pizza was close enough and actually changed my son’s taste as he now prefers the yummy flat bread style pizza with less cheese and a bit of salami.

Would love to hear about what surprises came your way in your travels!

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No Whiskey for You…and other Scottish tales

First you should know that my husband Chris , by profession, is a drinker….or better known as a Sommelier. He is mostly an expert in wine and beer,  however his scope of experience includes all things brewed, fermented and distilled. So when we were invited to tour the GlenDronich Distillery in the Scottish Highlands I noticed a new little twinkle appear in Chris’s eye. He counted down the days and planned our trip around this very special opportunity.

I offered to stay home ( back at our friends place in Old Meldrum) with the kids because surely a whiskey distillery is no place for the wee ones and I was already tired of the complaining over who gets stuck in the back seat of our tiny little compact minivan. Granted the roads in Scotland are stomach droppingly narrow so the cars need to fit, but just not really designed for normal sized humans & families of more than 4 people (and their stuff). So every outing was a fight as to who first called the middle seat and if I had a dollar for everytime a fight broke out…

“This is part of real life learning” Chris reminded me, ” Plus we get to see the Highlands and the shaggy haired cattle and maybe shopping” . He was pulling out the world schooling and shopping card and using my argument against me. Smart guy!

So we stuffed our kids into the mini, mini, minivan with promises of cool souvenir shopping along the way and headed up into the emerald green hills of the Highlands.

Mist hung in the trees as the sun found it’s way setting everything aglow. Once again we were taken by the stunning beauty of this area wanting desperately to capture every turn on film, but not wanting to take our eyes off the landscape for fear we may disrupt the experience. This kind of travel has forced us into having fresh eyes and into staying in the moment. What a great feeling!

Word on the street was that GlenDronich is one of the best around and this added to our already budding excitement. We had experienced a ton of winery tours so this was going to be new and I had no idea what to expect.

The signs pointed us down a long road through farm land and into a picturesque Glen of what seemed like a wee village. This was GlenDronach. Peaceful, lovely, and steeped with history.

The kids were all happy to be out of the car and seemed happy to explore the distillery with us. We were given a warm welcome by Jeanine, our very knowledgable tour guide, and led into a room with rich wood and arched windows and seated at a harvest table. She gave us some time to watch an introductory video about the history of GlenDronich which the kids, bless their little hearts, actually sat still and watched beginning to end.

We then toured the facility and learned the process of how to make a fine whiskey. The tour started out by the stream that ran through the property and we learned about the community that thrived around the production of this product. Whiskey was seen as a farm product like any other and entire economies were built upon its premise. Distillers were originally the monks who were craftsmen in their own right and highly respected, but others began to learn the art and an industry was born.

Each distillery seemed to house a taxman placed by the King to make sure this profitable industry paid its share. Certain rules are still in play like the leaving of empty broken barrels in the very place they fell to prove there was spillage and not theft.

The kids liked the stories of the “angel’s share” in the cellar. Along the barrels and stone pillars showed black streaks and was once thought that the evaporating liquor was infact fact taken by angels. They also learned about the relationship the distillers had with the parliament of cruks (birds) that nested in the cellars. These birds would quack and flutter at the sound of anyone approaching which benefited the distillers so they knew if the taxman was approaching.

At one point in the tour our littlest bean was overwhelmed by the strong  smell of fermenting grains. She still talks about the smells on that tour and we all remember how each element from the smoked peat to the fermenting grains to the oak barrels lends itself to the process as well as represents a grander part of the landscape. This type of learning etches itself into our memories making the lessons real and lasting.

The tour ended in the tasting room and as Jeanine lined up the special glasses and pulled out bottles my husband looked like a kid on Christmas morning. I let her know that it was a bit early in the day for me to be tasting and to just pour for Chris upon which she replied “Are you the driver?”

My darling husband was the only one insured on our rental car…do you see where this is going?

Our next lesson was on how Scotland does not allow the driver to taste….even a little snip….at whiskey houses.

It may have been a tear in his eye and maybe it WAS a speck of dust. No one knows for sure, but our poor sommelier who waited weeks for this tasting had to stand back and watch me have wee sips of the very healthy pours of 21, 25, & 30 year old whiskey. Every time I spit my taste or dumped my glass into the tasting bucket I heard the whimper of his soul, dying , just a little more each time.

All was not lost as Chris did get to experience the nose as did each of the kids as they learned how to smell the characteristics of the drink. Not to mention that once they learned about his profession we were some of the few invited into the original  cellar where hundreds of barrels aged.  Our guide told us not even she had ever stepped foot inside that cellar. So that was special. Plus she did send him away with small sample bottles of some of the whiskey that was poured for me. I am not much of a “whiskey before noon” person.

Anyway, we now have more motivation to return to Scotland and next time I can learn how to drive on the other side of the road …Lord help us all 😛

 

 

 

Waiting for the movie to start

Waiting for the movie to start

A tour of the property

A tour of the property

The copper stills are different at every distil;very and are an art unto themselves

The copper stills are different at every distillery and are an art unto themselves

The excitement builds as we edge our way closer to the end of the tour

The excitement builds as we edge our way closer to the end of the tour

The teens enjoyed the tour and checking out the copper tanks

The teens enjoyed the tour and checking out the copper tanks

 

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Watching the fermentation process

The barrel room behind glass....not able to photograph inside

The barrel room behind glass….not able to photograph inside

Tasting 18 year old whiskey was a first for me and quite smooth.

Tasting 18 year old whiskey was a first for me and quite smooth. There were barrels that aged for over 35 years…imagine how much happens in 35 years as those barrels sit and wait for their time.

Named after the Parliament of cruks

Named after the Parliament of cruks

The Tartan of GlenDuronich

The Tartan of GlenDuronich

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Learn more about GlenDronach here : http://glendronachdistillery.co.uk

More on their Whiskey and history https://www.maltmadness.com/whisky/glendronach.html

The influence of religion on whiskey: http://thewhiskeywash.com/bourbon/religions-surprising-influence-on-whiskey/

Visit Scotland: https://www.visitscotland.com/it-it/

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The thing about Paris

What were we expecting from Paris?

There was the magazine ideal of what Paris should be like with beret wearing lovers stealing kisses on romantic bridges and day dreamy vistas from the iconic Eiffel Tower. There was  also the bad wrap given by the fear mongering news media painting the picture of terrorists lurking around every corner or out of control crowds ready to riot during sports events. Oh and the  stories of gypsy thieves surrounding tourists and stealing their bags or savvy pick pocketer’s slipping their fingers into your pockets with out you ever noticing. The AIR BNB scams where travellers show up and find out what they booked does not even exist! Not to mention the many stories of how the Parisiennes will turn their noses up at your attempt to speak French or simply ask if they speak English.

We heard it all and were prepared for the worst.

Here was what really happened;

  • We arranged for a driver to pick us up at CDG Airport and take us directly to our apartment. This was a smart move and made for an easy transition in a city that we have never before navigated. The vehicle seated all six of us (taxi’s are too small) and ….wait for it….the van had wi-fi. Because were not busy trying to drive we actually got to sit back and photograph and instagram our shots as it happened. The teens were thrilled! The driver pointed out shopping districts, monuments, markets , etc and was kind enough to offer his services should we ever be stuck. (www.booking.com was where we hired our driver)
  • Our apartment was in the 7 arrondissement and could not have been more perfect. It had 12 foot ceilings, tall windows, and was bright and spacious. Although we were close to major attractions, it was fairly quiet and had many fantastic restaurants, florists, markets, clothing stores, boulangeries and more. Honestly….I could have stayed with in a five block radius and been fine. The only negative about our apartment was the testy wifi which we later discovered was a simple adjustment. We did have to adjust mentally to the smallish appliances and learn how to use the european laundry machines. The showers required sitting in the tub as there was no curtain or shower door to contain water splatter….but we adjusted and it became a source of humour for us.The elevator (lift) was quite narrow and could fit me, my 5 yr old, and one suitcase…and were were on the 4th floor so….
  • We walked for miles. Everything we explored was by foot and it was an adventure of the senses. We ate. We marvelled at statues and architecture. We people watched. We ate some more. We got lost. We were taken by the fragrant air of rose and jasmine. We found unique side streets and unusual shops. We ran across busy streets to get to cafes or monuments. Our feet ached at days end and it was all worth it.
  • We never felt unsafe. Ever.  There was a major sporting event (Euro Cup 2016). There was a major concert (Muse). Still felt safe. Paris is a cultural mosaic with many different ethnicities all living a seemingly peaceful existence. That being said, at major attractions and airports there is military with machine guns. Since the Paris attacks of 2015 the French have upped their security. We were told by our tour guide at the Eiffel tower that they have snipers around the monument as well. The snipers may be there just for the Eurocup , but bottom line….they are prepared….and we felt safe. even at night wondering the streets of Paris, we felt safe. We even let our teens loose in the mean streets of Paris. They felt safe. Don’t let fear mongers control your reality…big wide world out there and it is not as bad as you fear!
  • We did run into gypsies. They have a scam where they approach you with clip boards and ask for participation in a survey. If you agree, you are swarmed and one of them will pick your pockets or purse. These were mostly good looking teens with bright smiles so I see how someone could be fooled. However, I had read about this happening so knew it as soon as I saw it and demanded they leave us alone. There was no issue and they left immediately.  Other than this one experience ( which lasted about 40 seconds) we had no issues.
  • Parisiennes were actually quite hospitable. Everyone makes eye contact and say hello as they walk by (typically). My husband speaks french fluently so when he was around we were fine. However, there were times when we were on our own. We attempted our best French and sometimes were met with giggles at our dialect (slaughter of the language) but mostly people corrected us and responded with care. We found some spoke English or a little English and with a few words, some pointing and nodding we could accomplish much. People were curious about where we were from and always responded warmly when we told them were are Canadian.
  • The city was clean, fairly easy to navigate on foot and taxi’s were abundant if needed. we never tried the subway but heard it is an efficient was to get around. The two times we took a taxi the drivers were fair and quick to get us to our destination. One driver heard we were going to Normandy for Canada day and had tears in his eyes and held his hand over his heart, to know that Chris was going to honour his grandfather who landed on Juno beach during WWII.
  • We never had to line up for much. The Louvre was not overly packed at 5:30 pm and we saw the Mona Lisa and so much more with out any issue. The Eiffel Tower was easy too but we were on a tour so able to skip the queue. Was not very busy when we re there at 10 am so not sure if the tour was completely necessary. The Catacombs were a different story and Chris and Mayah arrived a good hour before opening and the line up had already formed. They only let 15 in at a time but the line filled quickly and hundreds were trickling through this attraction. (BTW we were in Paris at end of June so this may have been a less busy time)
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Local boulangerie where we got our daily fix of baguettes, croissants, and macarons. See the littlest Bean peaking through?

 

The little corner store had an epic olive oil selection!

The little corner store had an epic olive oil selection!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The walk to the Eiffel tower from our apartment...so close!!

The walk to the Eiffel tower from our apartment…so close!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charcuterie at Malabar (our favourite bistro in the seventh arrondissement)

Charcuterie at Malabar (our favourite bistro in the seventh arrondissement)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Littlest Beans People watching from Malabar

Littlest Beans People watching from Malabar

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local pata negra shop...if Chris was missing we believe he could have been found here ;)

Local pata negra shop…if Chris was missing we believe he could have been found here 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Place Des Invalid where napoleon is buried ( small man, big ego....even bigger tomb)

Place Des Invalid where Napoleon is buried ( small man, big ego….even bigger tomb)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art at every turn...statues, architecture, the whole city is a museum!

Art at every turn…statues, architecture, the whole city is a museum!

Littlest bean climbing along one of the many gated court yards

Littlest bean climbing along one of the many gated court yards

 

 

The original selfie....just took a bit longer (The Louvre)

The original selfie….just took a bit longer (The Louvre)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you been to Paris? Would love to hear about your experience!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whiskey Barrel through the window ~ Oldmeldrum

Slainte Mhath! ~ Cheers to Scotland

 

Slainte Mhath ~ pronounced ‘slawnje var’  is a cheer to good health & to those who could not join us! ( we used this cheer…like a lot)

 

Highlights

  • Scotland is stunningly beautiful at every turn
  • The people are bright eyed, unpretentious, and kind (even customs was friendly and funny)
  • The countryside is made up of expansive rolling hills and farm land
  • There are more sheep than people
  • You are more likely to find a pub before a grocery store
  • Scotland exceeded our expectations and can only be described as majestic
  • We have never felt more safe than we have in Scotland…never feared for anything…except maybe how narrow the roads are !

 

When we began to dream and plan our trip to Europe we had only intended to visit Italy and France; food, wine, and art was the dream. However, when our friends in Scotland heard we were headed across the Atlantic they ‘piped up’ (see what I did there) and said “Why not come to Scotland?” and so our dream began to stretch and become something new. Let me tell you….a few days into Scotland and it would have been a HUGE mistake to not visit this majestic land. We. had. NO. idea.

I have to mention that our flight from Toronto to Glasgow was a shock to our systems. Airplanes are not really designed for adult humans to sit for long stretches let alone sleep (at least not in coach). This is the point that the glamour began to wain as restless legs and sweaty bodies tried to feign comfort and pretend sleep. Sophia fell asleep on take off with her pink travel pillow around her neck and her face rested on her arm.  ***NOTE These pillows are sort of helpful, but did not really support her little head which still hung forward, and a half hour into the flight we realized her nose was bleeding profusely soaking her shirt, pillow and smeared and crusted from nose to chin.  I mildly panicked and quickly headed to the galley for a cold wet cloth to be met by an annoyed flight attendant who was less than sympathetic to the fact that my child was covered in blood.

Long flight story short…..we had about 34.5 seconds of sleep and landed 10:30 am Glasgow time (2:30 am Vancouver time) creating an excited delirium. This had us in a mixture of laughing at things that would not normally be funny and cranky because we could hear each other breathing.

Hell bent on making the most of every minute of our trip we dragged our travel weary bunch to the first castle we could find….well after we spent 2 hours trying to figure out the ….ahem….challenging roundabouts and understand how to get out of Glasgow using Siri (who BTW does not have a Sean Connery setting…we tried).

The kids passed out enroute to Stirling Castle , however, Chris and I were jacked up on the bean (airport coffee) so we pulled into the first sight of Robert Bruce & the battle of Bannockburn. our 17 year old agreed to hang out with the sleepers while we explored….barefoot in the grass….the battle sight. It was powerful and we actually teared up reading the Robbie Burns poetry written on the monument. It all began to have context….have read Robbie Burns in the past, but it just did not have the same effect….our first realization that context is a powerful learning tool!

The Battle of Blockburn site in Stirling, Scotland

The Battle of Bannockburn site in Stirling, Scotland

Robert the Bruce statue Stirling, Scotland

Robert the Bruce statue Stirling, Scotland

Bronze Sttaue of Robert The Bruce ~ Stirling, Scotland

Bronze Sttaue of Robert The Bruce ~ Stirling, Scotland

Mural of the battle of Bannockburn

Mural of the battle of Bannockburn

The medieval helmets they wore in battle (not the t-shirts LOL)

The medieval helmets they wore in battle (not the t-shirts LOL)

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Flavours of Scotland…..we forgot to try these babies!

 

Graveyard from Medieval times near Stirling Castle

Graveyard from Medieval times near Stirling Castle

Stirling Castle...we were too tired to our but walked the grounds a bit.

Stirling Castle…we were too tired to tour inside but walked the grounds a bit.

 

The drive from Stirling to Oldmeldrum was long and we should have accounted for traffic , but honestly when we planned for Scotland we did not think of normal things like rush hour 😛

We were welcomed in Oldmeldrum with a hearty Scottish stew and our kids promptly headed to their rooms to charge devices and FaceTime friends…because they had been away almost a whole 24 hours. 😉

Lots of good conversation began with our friends the Stewarts and we found out they were headed to vote on wether or not they wanted the UK to remain part of the EU. This re-charged my weary husband’s battery and we set off on foot through Oldmeldrum to chat with the townsfolk. Oldmeldrum is a sleepy little village with winding roads that all…read ALL…lead to the town distillery. 

The voting booth was humming with excitement and Chris tried to strike conversation with voters coming and going at the local Scottish Legion. People were probably weirded out by some random Canadian dude asking questions so answers were brief.

Chris: Why do you think the UK would want to leave the EU?

Random Scottish person: Pride my friend. Pride.

(At least that is what we heard…it is not always easy to understand the Scottish accent)

We knew that more conversation needed to happen to dig up the politics on this topic so headed to find the expert on such things….at the local pub of course. The Redgarth Pub was our first real taste of Scottish hospitality (outside of the Stewarts) and local Scottish beer. The bartender sat with us and explained in detail his thoughts on the politics of the vote.

The Local distillery ~ Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire

The Local distillery ~ Oldmeldrum, Aberdeenshire

Chris outside the distillery

Chris outside the distillery….all roads lead to this one

The Redgarth Pub, Oldmeldrum Aberdeenshire

The Redgarth Pub, Oldmeldrum Aberdeenshire

Chatting with Stuart (bartender) on beer, gin, and UK politics

Chatting with Stuart (bartender) on beer, gin, and UK politics

A selfie with these chaps who asked if I was American and then cheered when I told them I am Canadian. could not understand much of the conversation, but enjoyed every minute!

A selfie with these chaps who asked if I was American and then cheered when I told them I am Canadian. Could not understand much of the conversation, but enjoyed every minute!

What was on-tap

What was on-tap

Stuart introduced me to this local gin....changed my world!

Stuart introduced me to this local gin….changed my world!

As you know, the UK voted to leave the EU and the Scots largely had hoped for a vote to stay. The next day was a shock for everyone we came across and lots of talk about Scotland now having good reason to separate from England. I have no opinion on the politics one way or another, however, I have a new love for the Scottish people and their land and understand their fierce pride in their country.

The Traveling Beans give Scotland 5 out of 5 beans for being AMAZING!

 

 

Audrey-Hepburn-Vespa

Planes, Trains, & Vespas

Audrey-Hepburn-Vespa

That’s it!

Au revoir!

Arrivaderci!

The Bradburns  (all six of us) are hitting the road and back packing parts of western Europe….and by back packing I mean Chris will be carrying stuff while I wheel my fancy wheely suitcases all over from plane to train to villa.

Stay tuned for posts on our travels in Scotland as we look for the best whiskey, try and figure out what Scottish cuisine is and for heaven sakes we want to learn how to do a Scottish Jig…or is that Irish….what ever…we are going to dance Scottishly

In Paris we will be hitting the usual suspects, Eiffel Tower, Louvre, etc and eating….everything…in sight. Then we will load up our French minivan and tour the country until we have had our fill of everything bubbly, bordeaux, and burgundy (read: Our kids will have had enough winery tours). My darling husband will also be leading us straight to the sites of epic war battles like Vimy and Juno. We are talking real life history lessons and an homage to our grandparents who fought in some of these battles.

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