The Royal Yacht Britannia

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EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND – One of my favourite sights in Scotland was the Royal Yacht Britannia. It’s vintage and classy and used to sail the royal family around the world. But the Queen’s no longer allowed to use it as it’s too expensive to keep up (also the Labour government decided not to replace the yacht when they came to power in 1997) so now it’s berthed at a dock in Edinburgh where tourists such as I get to peek inside and get a glimpse of her former life for £12 (headset included).

Boy is this queen spoiled. The yacht was used for 40 years and travelled over 1 million miles to faraway places including the South Pacific.

Surprisingly, the Queen and her husband didn’t even share a bedroom! She slept on a single. I guess she just needed some space.

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The one thing that stood out to me was the class structure that was so visible on this ship. The upper class on the upper deck and the working class below. Apart from that, it was the special telephone that was used to call the Queen and Duke that had me smiling as well as the Phantom Rolls Royce they had aboard. I wish I could remember the statistics more, but the crew on board was large and there was even a mini hospital too. But even larger than that was the laundry room. Also, all the clocks were stopped at 3:02…not sure if it was AM or PM or even what the significance is behind this. But it was an interesting detail.
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Apparently the Queen cried at the decommissioning ceremony attended by senior royals. Did she shed any tears for Di? Anyway, what’s your favourite royal attraction?

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Scottish tablet

LONDON, ENGLAND – When I was in Scotland, I strolled up and down the Royal Mile. It’s a long street that connects Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood Palace, two must-see places. It’s also lined with tourist trap shops that try, in a rather tacky way, to sum up Scottish culture in a few necessary objects.The most popular of course is tartan. Then, next would be tweed, which isn’t cheap. But one thing you can buy that’s Scottish is tablet and it will only set you back £1.

No, Scottish tablet is not something to write on but rather the Scottish answer to fudge. It’s different in that it’s a bit crumblier, but it looks like the same old fudge you grew up eating. I’ll say this about tablet – it’s a mega sugar rush. I can’t eat it in large quantities at all. It’ s just too much. So Instead, I break off a bit here and there.

The good think about this recipe is that it only calls for 4 ingredients, so it’s easy to make at the end of the month when the money is thin. Take a look.

Scottish tablet

125 ml water

2 cups sugar

75 grams condensed milk

175 grams butter

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When I started making tablet, I hadn’t read the full recipe. I just started boiling the water and then chucked in the butter and away I went. I got a bit surprised when I saw that it said you needed to stir it for 20 -3o minutes by hand. I googled the recipe again in hopes of finding a shorter version. But the second recipe was almost identical in the time requirement. So I soldiered on.Scottish tablet8

My roommate said she liked it, but I think she was just being nice. It’s sugary folks. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Are there any Scottish recipes that you would recommend? Don’t say haggis!

Three days in Scotland – part 2

HOLYROOD PALACE, EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND –  One of the highlights of my trip to Edinburgh was Holyrood Palace. It’s one of the queen’s residences in Scotland. She has many. I’ve been to a few royal palaces throughout the UK and each one is special. This one typically gets national attention during Holyrood week in late June. Other than that, it’s a little forgotten. But to me it was something to remember.

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You can’t take photographs inside, so unfortunately I can’t show you any this time. But I will say that it was grand and stately. As it should be.

There was also a ruined abbey that was clearly past its heydey. But it had the most beautiful arches and the sudden blue sky highlighted its particular architecture.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe gardens were elegant. Even though the noise and clamour of the city was just metres away, it was so peaceful and serene. Beautiful colours and romantic trees.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom nearby you can also walk up Arthur’s seat. But I was short on time and so had to skip it.

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Finally, I finished the day off with one of these. One of the best I’ve ever had actually.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat’s your favourite royal palace?

Three days in Scotland – part 1

SCOTLAND – Three days in Scotland just wasn’t enough. I left wishing I could stay longer. The thing I loved the most were the colours, especially when the sun came out, which, lets be honest, is not often in Scotland.

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A highlight of the trip was a tour through the highlands, including Glen Coe (remember Skyfall), and a boat trip on Loch Ness with Scotline Tours. No sightings of the monster, but plenty of water to look at and beautiful, peaceful scenery. I found Loch Ness a bit scary actually. The water is deep and dark. And it’s all around you on your small boat. You feel a bit vulnerable but that also makes it a bit exciting. We did see one old, ruined castle.

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I would love to go back and do some hikes and fishing and explore more castles. Can you recommend any places to visit in Scotland?