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FyneFest Trip – Day 8

Edinburgh

After a very good night in the DogHouse—just a tiny bit more comfortable and warm than the yurt—it was time for some waffles and chicken, to get ready for a full day in Edinburgh, starting with a coffee at The Milkman.

The National Museum of Scotland is always a pleasure to visit, even after having seen all the permanent exhibitions. An interesting free temporary exhibition this time was about The Typewriter Revolution, which I then visited, before enjoying the views from the rooftop terrace.

Then it was about beer o’clock again, starting at where it all started for me, BrewDog Cowgate, followed by a place new to me, the Salt Horse. In between I simply had to grab a tattie dog at The Piemaker, because, why not? To change things up a bit, I also had a wee dram at the Bow Bar, where I had a nice chat with some other patrons, who recognised me from FyneFest.

Another place I won’t skip whenever I’m in Edinburgh, is Wings. This time, I tried the Deep Spice Nine rub, and The Ghenkis Khan, Pyong Damn, and Schticky Wingsh sauces. Again very tasty, but apparently hotness level three is still quite mild for me, so the next time I’ll have to make sure I pick some of level four and higher!

After dinner I had a couple of bar stools booked in The Wee Vault, Vault City’s taproom. Since the place has more taps than seats, a booking was very much recommended! Enjoyed some great pastry sours there, and couldn’t resist the temptation to buy a glass. So add that to the FyneFest festival pint glass, and the whisky glasses received after the distillery tour…

While in the area, I also visited Monty’s—quite a classic bar, but with some great beers, even on cask—and BrewDog Lothian Road. To finish the evening—and basically my visit of Edinburgh—I had a couple of beers in the DogHouse Edinburgh, since it was basically already closed when I arrived late the night before.

FyneFest Trip – Day 2

Glasgow

My second day in Glasgow started with a hearty breakfast—including haggis—at Euro Hostel, followed by a long overdue visit to the Gallery of Modern Art. But yes, de duke of Wellington in front of it is still wearing his traffic cone, in case you were wondering.

After a coffee and biscoff brownie at Gordon Street Coffee, and a long walk, it was time to discover a new place: the Clydeside distillery. New, but just old enough to already have their own whisky, which—as you probably know—has to be matured in oak in Scotland for at least three years, to earn that name.

A quick stop at the Riverside Museum, and a short ride on the Glasgow Subway, and is was time for a bit more CRM: the Mackintosh House in the Hunterian Art Gallery. There I learned that coincidentally, it was a MacLaren—professor of art history Andrew McLaren Young—who saved the interiors when Mackintosh’s house was demolished.

By then it was well past beer o’clock, so a couple of cups (sic) at Inn Deep soon followed. After a nice walk along the Kelvin, I inevitably ended up at my home away from home, BrewDog Kelvingrove, which since the closure of BrewDog Rome, must be the BrewDog bar with the best view again!

FyneFest Trip – Day 1

Helensburgh & Glasgow

After arriving in Glasgow and dropping off the luggage at Euro Hostel, I went straight back on the train again, to Helensburgh. As a Charles Rennie Mackintosh fan, I went there to visit the Hill House, of course.

Back in Glasgow, I had a donut with coffee at Tantrum Doughnuts, and then another coffee at Riverhill Coffee, since it was right next door. By then I thought it was already late enough for some beers, at the Drury Street Bar & Kitchen, and at The Raven.

After a pie for dinner at the Babbity Bowster—and a pint of Jarl—I wanted to go to Blackfriars bar, but unfortunately it seems it hasn’t survived the pandemic… The rest of the evening was then spent at BrewDog Merchant City, which had quite a few very interesting guest beers on draught.

Flying Scotsman Trip – Day 8

Edinburgh & Leith

My last full day in Scotland started with breakfast at Papii, and coffee at Lowdown Coffee. Then I was off to Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. I knew there wouldn’t be any demonstrations of the actual camera obscura, but I didn’t expect it to be completely closed off for the public! So that left me with the World of Illusions—nice, but it wasn’t what I came for—and the observation deck, which at least gave me an interesting perspective onto Edinburgh.

The visit was over a bit quicker than I anticipated, but that at least meant I had time to revisit Oink for some pulled pork and crackling, and find a good spot to hear the One o’Clock Gun, and see the time ball drop on the Nelson Monument. I’ve been in Edinburgh a few times already, but somehow I’ve always missed it… I found a great position, one o’clock came, the gun blasted loudly, and the ball… did nothing!

Oh well, to Gladstone’s Land then, which is other than you might expect, a house. Each floor is redecorated and refurnished as it would have been in a certain period of its long life. Hats off to the NTS volunteers, enthusiastically telling the story of their floor, and pointing out all kinds of interesting tidbits.

Another coffee or two, at The Milkman this time, and it was time to discover Edinburgh’s bus network, and head over to Leith. Apparently, that’s where all the cool, new breweries open up (a taproom) or move to nowadays.

I actually went to two locations of Campervan Brewery: their Lost in Leith taproom, and their taproom—beer garden?—at the brewery itself. In between I tried to visit Pilot for a cheeky canny, but I didn’t think to check until what time their shop would be open…

Back in the centre of Edinburgh, I then headed to The Hanging Bat for a chicken club sandwich for dinner, and a beer, of course.

Then it was time for a special moment: my visit to the final Scottish BrewDog bar, BrewDog Lothian Road! Exactly one week after I entered the first Scottish BrewDog bar on my trip, I stepped into my last. It might sound silly, but I was actually even a bit emotional about it! Before I left, I collected the final stamp in my Beer Visa needed to complete the Flying Scotsman challenge.

As promised to the Fierce crew, I then finished the night at Fierce Bar Edinburgh, for my last beers on Scottish soil…

Flying Scotsman Trip – Day 6

Glasgow and its Southside

My Thursday started with some poached eggs at the Bucket List Café, conveniently right next to my hotel, and a bus to Glasgow’s Southside, more specifically Pollok Park, where I went to see some Highland coos, and to visit Pollok House. I already mentioned I recently became a member of the National Trust for Scotland, but when I booked this visit, I didn’t realise this was actually the place where the NTS was founded. I’ve even been in the room where the actual foundation meeting was held! The house had an awesome library as well.

After my visit and an enjoyable walk out of the park again, it was time for the first of my joyful reunions of that day. I met up for lunch—Mac ‘n’ cheese—at Eala Bhán with Mark and Emma. They’re two food and travel writers I’ve first met the very first time I visited Glasgow, and probably every visit to Glasgow since then.

I then rushed to the Wee Beer Shop, to visit it just before it closed at 15.00. I then spend some time in The Allison Arms, where they had some beers in the fridge by Brew Toon, the brewery in Peterhead that was sadly closed when I visited it last Sunday.

The main reason for sticking around in the area however, was the Koelschip Yard, which only opened at 16.00. There I met up with its owner Dom, and with Andy, whom I both know back from their BrewDog Glasgow days. Lots of beers and laughs were had, and it was great seeing them again! The bar and its beer selection is awesome as well, of course!

For dinner I—finally—went to a Glasgow institution, Mother India’s Café. It absolutely lived up to its fame, that was some really good chicken saag!

The night ended at BrewDog Glasgow—that’s the Kelvingrove one—which still is my most-visited BrewDog bar after my ‘home’ bar in Brussels. They just started the Amundsen showcase, so that was my night sorted!

Flying Scotsman Trip – Day 5

Stirling and Glasgow

After a breakfast burrito at The Bulldog Frog, and a coffee at Blend, it was time to head back to Perth’s railway station, to take the train to Stirling.

After some hassle to pre-book while already standing in line, I finally visited Stirling Castle. I say finally, because the last time I was in Stirling, I simply didn’t have enough time for a visit to justify the entrance fee. It was nice to see reenactors telling us about where we were and what would have happened there, but it kinda defeated the purpose of the (paid-for) audio guide…

Castle visit over, I had some crispy haggis bon bons at BREA, followed by their ‘malt of the month’. A quick coffee at Unorthodox Coffee, and it was almost time for BrewDog Stirling to open.

I could easily have stayed about half an hour longer, because my train turned out to be delayed. My £3 upgrade to first class made me quickly forget about the delay though. I arrived in Glasgow Queen Street station, which meant I was able to check into my easyHotel not long after that.

Nevertheless, I still had to hurry along to be in time for my 19.30 booking in BrewDog Merchant City—or is it still DogHouse? After a first drink to catch my breath, I ordered the Trinity Sampler, which, in the end, turned out to be a little bit too much, even for me. I loosened my kilt straps and belt a little, and stayed in the bar for the remainder of the evening…

Flying Scotsman Trip – Day 4

Dundee and Perth

My morning in Dundee started with a Kiwi breakfast at the Bach. No, not the fruit I’m allergic to, but a breakfast dish from New Zealand: mince on toast. Right across the street was my next destination, the McManus Galleries and Museum, where I learned about the three J’s of Dundee (Jam, Jute, and Journalism).

On my way to the station—and after a coffee stop at Empire State Coffee—I caught another glimpse of the—unfortunately closed on Tuesdays—V&A, and the ship Discovery.

Only a short train ride later, I arrived in Perth. Here I first visited The Black Watch Castle & Museum. An interesting history to say the least, but especially items from more recent history—like a kilt with bullet holes, and the mud from the banks of the river Somme still stuck on it—brought it very close to home.

Before finally checking into the hotel, I stopped at the Craft Beer Bottle Shop for a couple of beers, a chat, and a great breakfast spot recommendation (but you’ll have to wait to see until tomorrow).

For dinner I picked an Indian-Nepalese restaurant recommended to me by local EFP ScottyMC, the Everest Inn. I had some haggis pakora, and chicken Nepal curry, with some garlic naan, and life was good…

After dinner I finally went to BrewDog Perth. Unfortunately I was too late to meet the aforementioned EFP, but he very kindly left me a welcome drink—which I already had in front of me before I was even properly sitting down—and thanks to him warning the staff about my arrival, there was a table waiting for me, even though it was fully booked quiz night!