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A Scottish Experience

While I continue globetrotting, this time my stop was Athens of the North, Edinburgh.
Also, home of the Scottish Parliament!

I started my day with a lavish breakfast buffet at Edinburgh Marriott Hotel and then straightaway took bus# 100 (24 hours service/Wi-Fi enabled) to the city centre. The bus dropped me at Princess Street which is 15 minutes ride and apparently the last stop. From there I started walking using a route planner available at www.walkit.com.
My plan was to cover all the main tourist attractions and interesting spots before the day comes to an end. My on foot journey included:

Princess Street Garden:
a beautifully landscaped public park in the centre of Edinburgh. Various concerts and other events are also held here during the festival time.

Edinburgh Castle:
a magnificent historic fortress.
For ticket pricing and timings refer to – www.edinburghcastle.gov.uk

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Scotch Whiskey Experience:
a large tourist attraction, offers a whisky tutoring session that takes place in the form of a virtual tour.
For ticket pricing and timings refer to – www.scotchwhiskyexperience.co.uk

Grassmarket:
the Grassmarket lies to the south of the Edinburgh Castle and is famous for a lot of pubs and cafes.

Greyfriar’s kirkyard & Greyfriar’s bobby:
a graveyard related to multiple paranormal activities.
For people who like adventure you can also book a ghost tour at – www.cityofthedeadtours.com
(Strictly Not For The Faint Hearted)

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Royal Mile:
the busiest tourist street in the old town.

After walking so much already, it was time to have lunch. What could be better than the traditional Scottish delicacy – Haggis?
Now, I admit that the description of haggis may not sound all that appealing but it’s definitely worth trying if you’re ever in Scotland.

“A haggis is a simple dish prepared by using the lungs, heart and liver of a sheep, to which is added suet or fat, oatmeal, onions and a little stock and seasoning, filled into some sort of casing or skin (traditional way is using a sheep’s stomach) which is then boiled for several hours.”

I headed straight to Whiski Bar where I was welcomed by Ms. Karen and was given a comfortable, cozy place to settle down. By the time chefs were busy preparing the dish for me, I was being introduced to few of the many scotch whiskeys they have. Established in 2012 this place has bagged many awards already in the past few years. Promising to give everyone fresh Scottish food using the very best local produce this place is mostly crowded with locals and tourist. Keeping in mind this large footfall per day advance reservation is recommended and could be done here – www.whiskibar.co.uk

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At last my most awaited dish was presented on the table with absolute finesse. Honestly speaking I found it very tasty and the scotch was pairing well with it. For the sweet finale I tried cheese cake of the day and must say it was extremely pleasurable!

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Lastly, to conclude the day and to digest the food I started walking towards the Holyrood Park which is adjacent to the Holyrood Palace. The parks highest point is Arthur’s Seat, a massive hill just outside of town providing a bird eye view of the city and is popular for hill walking. Within the park you can also visit St Anthony’s Chapel – a 15th century medieval chapel, as well as Duddingston Loch – a natural fresh water loch (an important site for bird breeding)

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Edinburgh is definitely an ancient city with interesting history and a cosmopolitan capital with a wide selection of restaurants, hotels, shops and active nightlife spots. It is not the most exotic destination but different in terms of culture. Flashes of tartan can be seen on the kilts of men playing bagpipes to the shortbread packs displaying a true Scottish character. In Scotland, traditions run deep and locals are more than happy to share them with you.

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Will surely visit again!

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The Wine Story

One of my very favourite wine.
One of my very favourite wine.

Just like any other wine beginner I too was lacking clarity of thought when I decided to open my first bottle of wine. Believing it to be just a grape juice I felt kooky when people suggested that some of them also tastes like tobacco.

Finally got settled with logic that everyone has to start somewhere and the only way to learn about wine is by drinking it. Knowing very little about wines I went with the bar tenders decision and tried Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand.

The first experience was amazing; I got some interesting information about the wine, grape and the region.

A little bit of wine knowledge is good when it comes to trying different wines. It could be anything starting from serving temperatures, taste, body, aroma or sweetness.

Wine is best enjoyed in the company of others but for little peace loving people like me surroundings are also very important. I generally prefer finding quite places free of any kind of smell as I can concentrate better and get a clear sense of wine aromas. Sitting by a calm river or watching a sunset is what I like to do while I am enjoying my lovely!

Over the last few years I have tasted many wines in different countries. They all have different taste notes ranging from berries to bell peppers, black currants to green apples. But what I have learnt from this ongoing wine journey is, to drink wines I like and keep trying the new once.

Some people find the massive wine world complicated but for me it’s all about enjoyment.

 

Berries

Small in size but big at benefits. This colorful, fleshy, super food always attracts me whenever I am strolling in the busy streets of Germany. Not only are berries delicious and convenient to eat, their antioxidant qualities make them the essential component in the diet of anyone who wants to be healthy.

All fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants, but berries have something extra to offer. The antioxidants contained within these berries are known to help cells across the body to fight cardiovascular diseases and cancer. It also helps your body fight stress that can lead to illness. Vitamin C is another strong antioxidant found in berries. Eating vitamin C–rich berries adds to the radiant skin and healthy hair, and may reduce the risk of arthritis and cataracts.

In addition to antioxidants, berries are fibrous juicy foods, which mean they contain mostly water (up to 85%). Juicy foods are great for losing weight because they fill you up quickly and drive down the calories. Fiber aids in weight loss and helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

Frozen (unsweetened) berries are a good substitute during off seasons, but if you are a berry freak just like me try going on a berry picking spree. There are many berry farms where you can spend a day picking berries right from the bush, eating it there or taking home as much as you like. The best time to go berry picking is July to August. For more information refer to http://www.hofreiter.de/

Eat them fresh or juice them all! Do whatever it takes to utilize this fat-free, low in sodium and nearly calorie-free gift of mother nature.

Books and their importance !

While I travel, mostly I see people around me reading. Probably that’s the best thing that could be done to keep the boredom away. Reading can make us more intelligent. At the same time they take us in a dream world and inspire us; remember, Alice in wonderland or Romeo and Juliet.

The writers of these books put in a lot of efforts, imagination and time along with their experiences with which we learn today and behave in the society. Their ideas could be anything from a loyal animal to a beautiful fairy.

I don’t read books any more but what my mother read out to me while I was young has helped molding my strengths and shape me for what I am in today’s world. Certainly, books are the foundation stone of what this world is all about.

Books are present in our world from many centuries in different forms and shapes.
Our forefathers have taught us more than we use to know. That’s only possible because of the preserved text which we received in today’s world from different places.

Books also play a very important role in a child’s development. They are the primary tools for children as they are fascinated by the color, contents and texture of a book. They might throw or destroy a book initially but this will be the beginning for them to become a successful reader. A book provides a child with vocabulary & helps them understand the world better and develops Social skills.

Today, we can find books in digital formats as per the need of people. Though, all these books provide same knowledge but at the same time they have reduced our packing weight. Imagine if you have to carry a dozen of books for a vacation??

We might be living in a time where computers have become the source of entertainment and knowledge, but the wonderful world of books is still alive. Traditional or digital, both the reading tools can be a faithful friend or a companion and that someone who can guide us forever.

The Perfect Barbeque

Flaming Barbeque

A little barbeque now and then is enjoyed by everyone.The winter approaches, the sun gets cooler, and the backyard invites you. Everyone with a love of smoked meat in their heart feels like heating up the barbeque too. After all, it’s so much fun gathering friends and family for a sunny backyard get together or an evening garden party. But, before we start it is always better to keep few things in mind so that the meat cooked is actually worth the efforts.

The plain fact remains that the outdoor cooking shouldn’t taste like indoor cooking.
The characteristic taste of barbeque comes from the fragrant fumes of slowly burning hardwood or charcoal. At the same time using a right marinade to tenderize & flavor the meat is also essential.

Marinade is a combination of acids, oil and spices.
The acid is used to help break down the meat, the oil is used to keep the meat from drying out, and the spices are used to add additional flavor to the meat.

However you need to make sure that you do not keep the food in marinades for too long. Surfaces in direct contact with a marinade can become soft and mushy, not something you would want to serve. This is particularly important with seafood, which can actually cook, in an acidic environment.

Whether it’s a steak or a chop, tenderness and texture is also associated with the quality of the meat.

I personally believe that a little bit of planning can take a perfectly nice meal outside to the next level and make it a truly memorable event. While the grilled meat remains the evening attraction, side dishes are important too, especially if you have vegans in the group. Take advantage of seasonal vegetables to prepare amazing salads which goes really well along with brazier food.

Feel free to share some chilled beers .

Chin Chin!