Tourist at Home

I’ve been making the most of my days off over the past week or so to try to add to my list of fifty new places visited.

Souvenirs! The Nemo(esque) keyring looks a lot more cute and a lot less dead when it’s not on its side.

First up was Deep Sea World. I’m not putting this on my list of new places because I think every kid in Central Scotland probably has memories of school trips to Deep Sea World. I remembered starfish in the rock pool, because they would make you touch the starfish then say you’d just touched its bum. Apparently that’s the way to get kids’ attention! I also remembered the underwater tunnel, where crabs click their claws beside you and sharks swim overhead. This time, we also saw the seals being fed and they were adorable.

Seals are so cute!

Shark! 

After that we went to Adventure Golf Island in Dunfermline. I am pretty terrible at golf, but I got a hole in one! It was awesome, if I say so myself.

DSCF9876croppedEdinburgh Castle counts as a new place even though I’ve been before, because I didn’t remember it. The steep entrance fee has put me off in the past, but I got to visit for free courtesy of my work and realised that perhaps the £16 isn’t quite as unreasonable as I thought. We spent two and a half hours there and we managed to see everything, but we certainly didn’t spend as much time as certain people will, looking closely and reading carefully. If you read all the information you would be there for days. And there is a lot to see, with different buildings and museums making up the castle itself. I could go on, but some highlights were St Margaret’s Chapel, Edinburgh’s oldest building; the Crown Jewels; and the War Memorial, which I was so moved by. It is like one of those very old buildings, built to last, even though it is relatively new (1927).

View from the Castle: Edinburgh, with the big wheel for the festive season!

Then there was the Scotch Whisky Experience. I don’t like whisky, but it doesn’t mean I can’t learn something about it! The Whisky Experience Silver Tour begins with the barrel ride, which takes you through the making of whisky with the help of an informative video/apparition that looks like Nearly Headless Nick, as well as visual and sound effects and even the smells at certain stages of the process. Afterwards there is a quick guide to four of the main types of whisky – Lowland, Highland, Speyside and Islay – before you choose one to try. I wanted to try Lowland whisky since apparently it could have citrusy tones, but the one on offer apparently tasted like coconut so I opted for the Highland one, a Glengoyne. Aside from the particularly smoky Islay whiskies, I’m not sure they really taste that different. It still burned my throat the whole way down, and certainly won’t turn me into a whisky drinker. However, the collection of nearly 3000 whisky bottles at the end of the visit was really impressive.

The largest collection of Scotch Whisky in the world.

Each of the chess pieces contains a dram of whisky.

That leaves the Scott Monument as the one definite Edinburgh place to visit before the end of the year! That will still leave about ten new places to be visited in the next month. I thought this was going to be an easy goal, but I’m running out of time! Suggestions (in Scotland, preferably Central) welcome!

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