I think one of the best parts about being a tourist is noticing the subtle differences and beauties of being in another culture. Small things you would never think of before, but suddenly make all the sense for the culture and world in front of you.
Small things… in the UK they dont say ‘to-go’, they say ‘take away’. And at first I was taken off guard, partially because I cant hear very well so I heard the woman say, ‘I’ll take it away.’ And I thought, I just bought this lady! Why would you take it away!! But as she continued to pointedly stare at my bemused expression my brain realized what she meant and I squeaked, ‘oh, take away!’ I got my coffee and my macarons and I scuttled out of there feeling oh so very american.
The UK legit doesnt do drip coffee, they make fresh and delicious coffee all the time. So when I was sitting in a cafe for breakfast in Edinburgh and asked the woman for a top off on my latte, she looked at me funny and I realized I just made another american oopsie. She replied with, ‘Americano?’ And I smiled and said, ‘yes please.’ She brought me a fresh cup of coffee and I promptly poured it into my latte bowl/cup.
So a favorite part of Scotland for me is taking the tours. Two things, Scotland makes the bulk of its money in tourism so you can TOTALLY be scammed, but I won’t lie, these tours are worth every damn penny. While staying in Inverness, we had the pleasure of doing a Rabbie’s Tour to Isle of Skye. Most amazing tour EVER. We truly were able to see the highlands in all its glory. Up close and frigidly personal….yeah it was cold. On this tour, our amazing tour guide told us a plethora of Scottish history, and there is MUCH to say about Scottish history. We drove past a brown, hairy, scottish cow and three of the passengers went, “awwwwwwwww!” So the driver stopped and said, “al’right, you want to see the wee Scottish coo’s?” And all of us silly americans squealed and replied, “Yes! We want to see the Scottish Coo’s!” Needless to say I will never call a cow a ‘cow’ ever again.
On our last night in Inverness, my husband and I wanted to do dinner justice. Because it’s such a small yet busy town, we spent our morning touring the town and slipping into restaurants to make reservations for the evening. Yes, we had to go to multiple places to check because at 2pm in the afternoon places were already solidly booked. Crazy talk, right!? Well we found a place for dinner and a second place for drinks and desserts. We went to dinner at Prime Steak and Seafood, it was really very good. When the waitress asked if we wanted dessert, we said, ‘oh no, we are good,’ before smiling at one another knowing we were going to a other location to get yummy desserts. As we walked from one restaurant to the next, we felt giddy about our evening. And then we approached our venue and saw a mass amount of crazy lights and hard hitting club music and we turned to each other with befuddled expressions. When we walked inside and screamed at the attending bartender that we had a reservation he looked at us oddly and screamed back, ‘kitchen closed at 9pm! No food service, only drinks!!’ Well it was a good thing we’d already eaten before the fine dining restaurant turned into a college dance party. Silly Americans, first you eat dinner and then you bump and grind, obvi!!!
We are now sitting at the airport waiting for our flight to Belfast and we got here EARLY because you ALWAYS get to the airport 17 hours early for international flights, right? That’s what my mother told me, and I stick by that advice…..when in a huge airport. We are not in a huge airport and the three hours early we got here was pointless because we can’t check our bags any earlier than 2 hours before the flight. So here I sit, waiting for my flight to arrive and I sincerely look forward to all the sights to see, food to eat, and silly american snafoo’s to come my way in Ireland.