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October 29

To those of you who advised me to go to Scotland: YOU WERE SO RIGHT. I get it now.

In order to get there, I had to endure a bout of verbal abuse from a disgruntled airline employee whom I will henceforth remember as Psycho EasyJet Guy, but I made it. My friends greeted me in Edinburgh with a bag of Mini Cheddars, and shortly after, there was a homecooked meal and a long sleep on a very comfortable air mattress, and then I fell in love with Scotland.

Christophe and Gemma, my friends in Edinburgh, are good walkers. I admire that quality. They might say, Let’s go for a walk, and you’ll be out for six hours. We spent an entire long weekend that way.

Around midday on Saturday, we walked up Calton Hill, stopped for espresso at Artisan Roast, and then picked up sandwiches at Broughton Deli. I ordered ham, Isle of Mull cheddar, and tomato chutney. It was my first time having chutney on a sandwich, and it will not be my last.

We took our sandwiches to the Water of Leith Walkway, and the sun came out while we sat on a bench to eat. Then we continued on to Dean Village, where someone’s laundry waved enthusiastically from a line in a courtyard, and beyond that, to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. (I would like to live, though probably only for a couple of days, in the studio of Eduardo Paolozzi. I would open the blinds, even if I got in trouble for it.)

We walked.

In the early evening, we ducked into the Cumberland for a restorative pint. Later, back at home, Gemma made haggis with neeps and tatties for dinner. I think she felt silly about trotting out the Scottish national dish for the visiting American, but I wanted to taste it. Christophe made sure that we approached the event with proper solemnity, reading Address to a Haggis over the steaming pots. I cleaned my plate. I was made for Scotland.

I’ve never minded traveling by myself. But what I liked most about this trip, and what I think I will always remember about it, is that most of the time, I wasn’t actually alone. I owe my friends a lot for that.


Anonymous A Plum By Any Other Name said...

You've inspired me. I have a jar of tomato jam in my freezer than I'm absolutely making a cheddar tomato jam sandwich with. Just do me a favor. Don't tell Psycho EasyJet Guy. He sounds scary.

4:51 PM, November 09, 2011  
Anonymous betsy said...

Oh, Molly, I'm so glad you went! I knew you would love it. Edinburgh is a hard city not to fall in love with. When we lived there, they always got the Americans to read Burns' Address to a Haggis for the entertainment on Burns Night. Personally I'm a big fan of haggis, neeps and tatties. Especially with a dram or two of Laphroaig.

5:00 PM, November 09, 2011  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Seems like you made the very best of a disappointing start. brava!

5:02 PM, November 09, 2011  
Anonymous jamieofalltrades said...

Beautiful! This Scottish girl needs to get over there soon!

5:03 PM, November 09, 2011  
Anonymous Michele Kingery said...

I got hooked on Edinburgh watching Masterpiece Theater's Case Histories. After your post, I'm definitely thinking about a trip. Thank you for the inspiration.

5:03 PM, November 09, 2011  
Anonymous emily said...

you have me wanting to pack my bag.

5:07 PM, November 09, 2011  
Anonymous Victoria said...

I have never had Mini Cheddars, and it's a good thing too. They sound dangerous. I do not allow Pepperidge Farm Goldfish to cross my threshold, and I keep thinking eating Kettle Chips should be reserved only for New Year's Eve and my birthday, but so far I haven't been able to make that resolve.

I recently had Isle of Mull Cheddar (from the new East Side Fairway where the girl behind the cheese counter didn't know where it was from), and it was delicious.

I applaud your enjoying Mini Cheddars, that sandwich, good, good friends, and wonderful Edinburgh.!

5:17 PM, November 09, 2011  
Anonymous Ilke said...

I will definitely include Scotland on the list then when we are visiting that side of the ocean!

I have never had fun when I go somewhere thinking "oh I am going to have so much fun"
It is always the least expected trips, visits and events that I have had fun or were worthwhile.

5:18 PM, November 09, 2011  
Blogger EH said...

"I was made for Scotland." That's exactly how I felt when I visited Edinburgh for a couple of days last summer. I'm fairly certain I am 0% Scottish but I think I could live there very happily.

5:26 PM, November 09, 2011  
OpenID thelivingroom said...

I spent a semester abroad in Edinburgh in my youth (read: six years ago). It's a lovely city, albeit rainy, and one day I want to retire there. It's a shame you weren't there for Guy Fawkes Day; I spent one on top of King Arthur's Seat watching all the fireworks go off.

5:26 PM, November 09, 2011  
Blogger Vanessa said...

This sounds dreamy! More pics, please!

6:10 PM, November 09, 2011  
Blogger s'mee said...

So happy the trip went well, I'm rather jealous! I can only imagine all the wonderful sights!

Although I've never been to Scotland, there's some heritage there. And although it has adopted American nicknames, holidays at my mother's would never be complete without neeps and tatties (rutabagas and mashed potatoes).

6:27 PM, November 09, 2011  
Blogger georgie said...

I knew you'd love Edinburgh.
Making haggis sounds like a tremendous amount of work but it is a tasty dish. You can borrow my copy of Ena Baxter's Scottish Cookbook any time.

6:31 PM, November 09, 2011  
Blogger Kristina said...

I want to go back to Edinburgh so badly! Glad you had a great time...

6:31 PM, November 09, 2011  
Anonymous lauren@spicedplate said...

I've never been there, but heard such great things about Scotland -- my husband hiked along its borders with his dad (who is from wales) years ago and speaks of it so fondly...he has no photos but his stories are so vivid that I have my own image of the countryside there in my mind. What lovely photos, too. Thanks for sharing your experiences -- it feels like we're traveling alongside you.

6:44 PM, November 09, 2011  
Anonymous Molly said...

The green grass of the first photo is exactly how I remember Scotland.

When my sister and I backpacked through the British Isles a dozen years ago, I fell for pickle, and now I love to spread it on thick slices of bread and cover it with cheddar cheese. (Cough, cough, I then might wrap it in foil and sit on it, a la pan bagnat.) Good stuff, definitely worth exploring now that you've crossed into that chutney realm.

6:46 PM, November 09, 2011  
Anonymous Virginia said...

In summer 2010 I fell in love with Glasgow. I also fell for the white chedder, chutney, crispy lettuce sandwiches form the organic bakery I could walk to from my flat. Thank you for reminding me. I will make one for work-lunch tomorrow and pretend I am back there.

6:49 PM, November 09, 2011  
Blogger Michelle said...

Chutney makes a sandwich. With ham. Or cheese. Or baked chicken. I love chutney. My current home made one is plum, onion and sultanas, with a dash of curry powder. It's delicious!

8:14 PM, November 09, 2011  
Blogger Jessica @ Quirky Bookworm said...

Oh jealous! Edinburgh is number one on my places-I-want-to-go list. (Thanks to reading too too many Ian Rankin novels). Sounds absolutely divine. Except for the haggis. ;)

8:48 PM, November 09, 2011  
Blogger Urban Girl said...

Sounds lovely, and your pictures are so beautiful. Glad you had such a great time.

8:59 PM, November 09, 2011  
Blogger Anna said...

I meant to just "pass through" Edinburgh for a day or two, but ended up staying longer and enjoyed every moment. So glad to hear you had a good experience.
If you are looking for more tomato chutney on sandwich action, try Brass Tacks in Portland.

9:12 PM, November 09, 2011  
Blogger Sally Hill said...

I spent two hours in Perth, on layover, under circrumstances which allowed me to walk about at 6-7am (lovely time to form an impression with the world mostly asleep!) Please investigate scones for us!

9:55 PM, November 09, 2011  
Blogger Dancing Branflake said...

My friend posted your blog on my facebook wall and said, "I think I met your blogging twin." I went to Scotland this summer and absolutely fell in love. I mean, it was heaven with a brogue. I spent a week in the Highlands and a week Edinburgh. I think we should be blog buddies :)

9:57 PM, November 09, 2011  
Anonymous Hilary said...

It sounds like you're having such a wonderful time!

PS - chutney is basically good on everything, I've come to find. A chunk of homemade bread with tomato chutney and goat cheese is a snack of heavenly proportions. Add a basil leaf and you might as well just await the rapture.


10:43 PM, November 09, 2011  
Anonymous Cristina said...

Oh yes! The Water of Leith walkway and Dean Village are indescribably enchanting, aren't they? Thank you for filling my head with those images on a chilly morning. So glad you had a great time.

12:22 AM, November 10, 2011  
Blogger Irma said...

I live in Edinburgh and I have haggies at least once a week. They are awesome! I'm glad you enjoyed Edinburgh!

12:53 AM, November 10, 2011  
Anonymous Kate Minor said...

Gorgeous! Scotland is definitely on my list of places to go. Also-your book kept me company for a week or so (I couldn't put it down!) when I was waiting for the trains on my commute. I loved it!

2:09 AM, November 10, 2011  
Blogger A Gift Wrapped Life said...

We are heading to the British Isles in June and you already have me craving a chutney sandwich, not so sure about the haggis. Your friends sound lovely. XO

3:31 AM, November 10, 2011  
Blogger em said...

I have just loved your posts from this side of the ocean. Its great to get a perspective ont he things we see as normal. Like mini cheddars {I do not buy them, as i may never stop buying them!} But it amazes me that you guys don't have chutney on your sarnies. One thing you ought to combine is the chutney and bacon butty. divine.

4:02 AM, November 10, 2011  
Anonymous JudyB said...

Sigh. Spent two weeks in Scotland fall 2010. Such a beautiful country, and so much more we didn't see. Ready to go back.

5:15 AM, November 10, 2011  
Blogger Peter said...

You must be in good physical shape, you didn't even comment on how hilly Edinburgh is. Most Americans are done in after a day of walking. I know I was!

5:25 AM, November 10, 2011  
Blogger clairehelene7 said...

Oh that sounds so lovely! I loved Edinburgh when I was there - that city/country was MADE for walking. And I love that you had haggis! My friends made a veg one when I was there. (Plus my family always throws a *rocking* Burns Night Supper and we have it then too.) You were definitely not alone on this trip.

6:15 AM, November 10, 2011  
Blogger jenngator222 said...

Your photos are just beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

6:56 AM, November 10, 2011  
Blogger Ashley said...

Hooray! So glad you went. I did a semester in Scotland years and years ago and it's forever imprinted on my heart. I love it there.

6:58 AM, November 10, 2011  
Blogger Kristine Kelly said...

I'm so happy you enjoyed it! I spent a year abroad in Edinburgh and miss it every day. It is one of the most beautiful, friendliest cities I've ever been to. Have a pint for me!

7:00 AM, November 10, 2011  
Blogger Raquelita said...

Chutney! Mmmmm. Chutney and cheese and bread! Divine.

Haggis, neeps and tatties are not complete without Burns' address!

Did you make it to Valvona & Crolla?!

7:15 AM, November 10, 2011  
Blogger TerryKess said...

"They might say, Let’s go for a walk, and you’ll be out for six hours." That's my favorite activity when visitng any new, lovely place. My husband says whenever we vacation together, it requires him to bring three pairs of shoes! Bliss.

7:20 AM, November 10, 2011  
Blogger J said...

I'm glad you enjoyed it, Molly! Scotland is a country simply made for walking. That's a comment one could make about any number of nations, but there's something about the high green wilds of Scotland that just sings to me of adventure somehow.

I also love Edinburgh with its Gothic architecture, soot-stained buildings and windy little roads. It has tremendous character, especially when someone's window box of bright flowers blazes out at you from among the dark stones.

I never understood the hate for haggis and the venison and salmon (and the whiskey!) are remarkable.

8:31 AM, November 10, 2011  
Blogger Gemma said...

We do have a bad habit of not quite knowing when to stop with walks but I guess it makes the beer and the mini cheddars taste all the sweeter when we eventually sit down!


9:05 AM, November 10, 2011  
Anonymous Bridget said...

It really sounds as if you made the very best out of this bonus journey....and not wasted any time in regretting what you were supposed to be doing.

Serendipity is one of my all time favourite words...and is a wonderful thing.

9:11 AM, November 10, 2011  
Anonymous Cynthia A. said...

I love haggis too! Just don't like to think too much about what goes into it. Sounds like a grand trip.

9:15 AM, November 10, 2011  
OpenID lizlemonnights said...

I love the photo of the moss on the rock. It's absolutely beautiful. I am so glad you went! Edinburgh is a lovely place.

I'm wondering if I know what airline you're talking about... Were you surrounded by yellow and ads everywhere on the plane? Cheap tickets, but they make sure you get what you pay for.

9:42 AM, November 10, 2011  
Anonymous Elissa said...

There is something about Scotland, and Scots, that I find wonderful, and magical. Sorry about abusive EasyJet guy, though. I'm so thrilled that you went up there!

10:11 AM, November 10, 2011  
Anonymous Cookie and Kate said...

Sigh. I loved Edinburgh. I also loved taking the train up to St. Andrews and back with my dad. I've never seen rolling hills so green or clouds that felt so close.

11:27 AM, November 10, 2011  
Anonymous Kate @ Savour Fare said...

I knew you would love Edinburgh. There's so much scope for imagination there. I think if you love Paris you'll have a soft spot for Scotland as well -- the auld alliance lives strong.

11:55 AM, November 10, 2011  
Blogger the actor's diet said...

i fondly remember my time in scotland as a teenager, and i also remember it being FREEZING!!! we have friends now in ireland, am thinking about a trip...

12:09 PM, November 10, 2011  
Anonymous erin @ from city to farm said...

And thank YOU for sharing. Magical.

Wish I had friends in Scotland, it sounds like my kind of place.

12:41 PM, November 10, 2011  
OpenID liveimpressions said...

1. Love your shoe study. I did one of my own when I was in Paris this summer (sorry...but I DIDN'T get to go to Scotland which sounds sooooo lovely). Shoes can tell a very interesting story.
2. Hats off to you for traveling alone. But it's true, you meet more people that way. Takes courage.
3. Haggis? Really? What did you think? It's one of those things that at first sounded so lovely when people spoke longingly of it but then when I found out what's in it...well...uhm...it would take several pints to get me there, I'm afraid.

1:53 PM, November 10, 2011  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it possible that one person could be such an amazing chef, write so beautifully, and have an amazing eye when it comes to taking pictures? You are an artist in the true sense of the word. Your blog rocks!

4:11 PM, November 10, 2011  
Blogger First said...

I LOVE your pictures! I'm so bummed my camera, that I had for five years, died when I went to Turkey last month; leaving me with half of the pictures I had taken :(

4:34 PM, November 10, 2011  
Blogger Deb's Lunch said...

hey nice - the Scottish National Gallery is featuring the work of an American for your visit - those big blue letters are Jenny Holzer's idea.

5:38 PM, November 10, 2011  
Blogger kyleen said...

Scotland is gorgeous! I'm really hoping that I'll be able to study abroad in university.

9:26 PM, November 10, 2011  
Anonymous camilla said...

Chutney is the happiest condiment in the world! adore this lovely snapshot of scotland.

12:47 AM, November 11, 2011  
Blogger tori said...

So glad you loved it- and that you found Artisan Roast (for me a day on holiday is really only great if there's a proper coffee somewhere).

3:38 AM, November 11, 2011  
Blogger Stephanie said...

This is beautiful. I missed my chance to go to Scotland and I am forever regretting it. I spent a semester studying in Ireland and ran out of money as it was. It's certainly on my list as one of those places I need to get back to see. Thanks for sharing this. Love the photos.

3:45 AM, November 11, 2011  
Anonymous Ginger Boden said...

I spent 2 weeks last year traveling through the Scottish Highlands. What a fantastic trip! The beauty of the landscape, the lovely people, the amazing food, the history. I only spent a couple of nights in Edinburgh and hope to return again to further explore that wonderful city. You have brought back many wonderful memories!

8:50 AM, November 11, 2011  
Anonymous Kacie @ A Collection of Passions said...

I am heading there for two weeks next year! My husband is finishing up school and I can't wait to explore the city. Thanks.


11:43 AM, November 11, 2011  
Blogger Claudia said...

Whenever I travel - I walk everywhere. And then I come home and drive. Forgot about the allure of tomato chutney. Looks like a sweet time was had by all.

3:05 PM, November 11, 2011  
Anonymous Elizabeth said...

Molly, I am so glad you came to Scotland and that you enjoyed your time here. You will need to visit Glasgow and our beautiful Highlands the next time you are here! And chutney is amazing-you should try caramelized onion chutney with goat's cheese and rocket (or arugula ;))-bliss!

5:16 PM, November 11, 2011  
Anonymous blair/wise craft said...

I love how you are immersing yourself fully into your trip. Enjoy!

8:45 PM, November 11, 2011  
Blogger fashionandrelationships said...

I live on the border of Scotland, Carlisle. Great place but luckily the accents are very different.

9:09 PM, November 11, 2011  
Blogger lola said...

Molly, I would love to know more about your photography. You have gotten me interested in trying film again. Do you just have a CD made instead of photos? I dislike photo shopped pictures and love the look of your pics!

8:47 AM, November 12, 2011  
Blogger Neeley said...

I am so pleased that you went and fell in love with Edinburgh. I teared up as soon as I started reading your post. Edinburgh is a truly special place. It is also one of the best wandering cities, even when it is so cold that you can no longer feel your neeps & tatties.

12:21 PM, November 12, 2011  
Anonymous Mairi @ Toast said...

So lovely to hear you loved Scotland, my mother country...Edinburgh is especially beautiful & you like haggis!! Yeah! Good haggis really is soo good!

9:10 PM, November 12, 2011  
Blogger Lexi Earl said...

I love Edinburgh! It's one of my favourite cities. I was there recently and my friends took me to Artisan Roast! And I had to have haggis because I love it. My favourite thing about the city and Scotland are the legends and fairy tales and history that just permeates everything. It's such an amazing place, I'm returning for Hogmanay!

11:13 AM, November 13, 2011  
Blogger Pia said...

we keep going back to edinburgh. it's not a city that you can stop at 'once'. and yes, neither is chutney on bread - something i discovered when we moved to england.

2:07 PM, November 13, 2011  
Anonymous Emma said...

So lovely to see you in my home town Molly and you're welcome back any time!

4:07 AM, November 14, 2011  
Blogger becoming claudine said...

Oh Molly, Scotland is magical! My husband, when he was my boyfriend, and I spent time there years ago. It was love at first walk.

12:22 AM, November 17, 2011  
Anonymous Caitlin said...

Chutney is a good good thing. Sharp cheddar is its mate.

9:02 PM, November 17, 2011  
Anonymous Meagan said...

Oh my gosh - again! So many memories just flooded back from my summer living there. Your day going to Leith Walk, cheddar sandwich with chutney (btw, it doesn't taste the same in North America!) and a trip to the Museum - a typical day for me that summer! Lovely!!!
So jealous you were just there.

7:28 PM, November 28, 2011  
Blogger Charis said...

I've only ever been to Scotland for a week. I went to Glasgow & worked the whole time. I also fell over, bashed my face up & got a black eye but that's a whole different story!

Would love to go back again & do Scotland properly.

2:26 PM, November 30, 2011  
Anonymous sarah said...

I've not commented before, but have enjoyed your writing for a long time. This series, of your trip, is very beautiful, very gentle and considered and while I always so love the recipes you include I haven't felt them lacking. It is refreshing for me, as someone who really struggles to keep my blog up to date, to remember that a simple sentiment or beautiful image is worth sharing. Your photography is always charming and these tit-bits of what you are getting up to provide a fantastic context within which to more appreciate the recipe posts.

It feels very satisfying to me that you had mini cheddars - they are one of the ultimate guilty pleasures

3:12 PM, December 01, 2011  
Blogger Jody Johnson said...

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing. I plan to go to Ireland/Scotland this next year!

12:28 PM, December 04, 2011  
Blogger *Dream Weaver* said...

Love your photos :)

1:03 AM, December 21, 2011  
Blogger lesley said...

glad you enjoyed your time in Scotland.. My sister in law Alison makes chutney in San Francisco.. Look her up at McQuade Celtic chutney, I'm sure she will send you some :]

11:26 AM, December 22, 2011  
Blogger Lucy said...

I live in Edinburgh and it is beautiful - Georgian architecture in the New Town, good walks in and around town, Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags. Glad you had a good time.

3:03 AM, December 26, 2011  
Blogger Rachel said...

I've just read your lovely memoir and came by Orangette to see what's new. I am so glad you went to Edinburgh and loved it. It was to me what Paris was for you--I spent 2 years there as a student, met my husband there and still think of it as my second home. The view from Arthur's Seat is one of my favorites in the world.

Chutney on sandwiches is great! Very few cheese sandwiches can't be improved by adding it.

1:52 PM, January 07, 2012  

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