Thursday, September 21, 2017

Scotland and Northern Ireland 2017, Part four...

By the time we got back to Glasgow, it was late afternoon.  It was still kind of cold and wet outside, so we went back to the hotel and got cleaned up.  Later, we ventured into the "Executive Lounge", a privilege granted to us because we booked a "Club Room".  Every time we stay at the Carlton George, I upgrade our room.

The first time, we stayed in their "Superior Room", which is their most basic model.  It's a pretty comfortable place to stay, complete with a free mini bar which includes decanters of vodka, scotch, and whisky, but you don't get to use the lounge with that room.  You are also pretty much bound to have a view of an elevator shaft or something like it.

Last year, we visited in March and I got us an "Executive Room", which is a larger room with a free mini bar and access to the lounge.  But again, you're likely to have a view of the elevator shaft.

There is only one category higher than the Club Room and that's the Club Room with a balcony.  Given the weather in Glasgow during our stay, it was probably good that I didn't go that far.  Maybe next time I'll pull the trigger.  Here are a few pictures of our Club Room.


The all important free booze.  I think I tried the whisky, which naturally was decent quality.


Nice coffee set up.


The ever important bed.



And the bathroom.  Once again, I was tickled by the need for instructions on the wall for using the shower.  The Holiday Inn at the Glasgow Airport needs to take a memo.  More on that later.

We decided to have a drink in the lounge, then got really lazy and had dinner in the hotel's restaurant, Windows.  We had not eaten there on previous visits, so it was good to try it.  Now that I've tried it, I don't know that I'll try it again.  That's not because the food was bad; it's more because Glasgow has a lot of great restaurants and Windows, while not bad, is not among the best there are in Glasgow.  In any case, here are a few pictures of our Sunday night repast at the hotel.  One of the nicest aspects of a dinner in Windows Restaurant is that you do, indeed, get a nice view of the city... which is a great thing when the skies are clear.  We did experience that at breakfast.


A nice bottle of red to go with dinner.


Bill went with a sirloin steak, which was served with tomatoes on the vine, chips, and a mushroom.  He said the steak was cooked very well.  As many readers may know, mushrooms give me the creeps.  


I went with seabass, which was served in parchment paper.  It came with a slice of white bread and lots of vegetables on the side... 


It was also stuffed with lots of fresh vegetables and was very healthy.  Looking at my figure lately, I realize I probably should eat more fish.  If you like fish, Scotland is a great place to be.  

Unfortunately, my disdain for mushrooms got the better of me when the lady sitting at the table behind Bill ordered a vegetarian dish that smelled like it was loaded with mushrooms or truffles.  The aroma was overwhelming to me.  People who love the smell of truffles, like Bill, would have been enchanted by it.  As for me, you would have thought I was pregnant or something.  I had to beat it.

After a good second night's rest, Bill and I awoke Monday morning with big plans.  We were going to get Bill fitted for a kilt!  I am very excited to get this done, since I have been nagging Bill to get a kilt for years now.  Granted, he's more of an Irishman than a Scot, but there are only so many years a man can get away with wearing the Army Service Uniform post retirement... especially a man who enjoys food and booze as much as Bill and I do.  Aside from that, I think kilts are pretty damned sexy, especially when they are worn "properly".

Bill was originally going to visit a kilt maker called MacGregor & MacDuff.  He chose it because it carried the Donegal tartan, which is the Irish county where Bill's people come from as evidenced by our surname, Crossen.  MacGregor also happens to be the name of our very sweet dearly departed "bagel", whom we lost to canine cancer a few weeks after our first Hebridean Princess cruise.  I ended up talking him out of MacGregor & MacDuff because it appeared to be a large operation.  Instead, we visited the much smaller James Robertson, Kiltmaker.  I am so glad we did.  We spent a couple of hours there with the delightful proprietor. 


He has a tiny little "hole in the wall shop" next to a tattoo parlor!


Bill gathers his gumption for the fitting.


We settled on the Donegal pattern displayed above.  There was another Donegal pattern that was mostly oranges, greens, and reds, but the blue, green, and red seemed to suit Bill better.  I could wear tartans for a few Scottish clans myself due to my heavy ancestry, but if I ever get a stole, I'll probably get one to match Bill's new kilt.


The tartan Bill is wearing is not the one we're getting, just to be clear.  However, I was impressed by how well it matched his shirt!


Bill ordered the whole "kit", which set us back about $1200.  However, it includes everything but a tuxedo shirt and the kilt will be handmade.  Aside from that, the jacket comes from County Donegal. ;-)


I get excited just thinking about it.


Bill tries on shoes.  The proprietor even asked me to film him showing how to tie the laces.  See below.


This is how you do it, guys.


Bill checks out the rest of his accessories.


First time I'll ever get him to wear a purse...  ;-)



Settling the bill...  We noticed a bottle of whisky sitting by the desk.  I have a feeling if it had been later in the day, we might have shared a wee dram with the kiltmaker.



On the way out...


Edited to add:  This was the finished product.  It got to us in time for Christmas!

The kiltmaker advised us to visit The Pot Still, a very cool pub that serves food, beer, and, most of all, lots of whisky.  Apparently, it has one of the best selections of whiskies in Glasgow with over 700 varieties.  And though it wasn't quite noon, we decided to stop in to try a few.  


A rather unassuming looking place, isn't it?


We started with a Longrow from Campbeltown's Springbank Distillery, a place we've visited twice, thanks to our Hebridean cruises.



A look at the loot.


We tried a couple of others, included blends we had not heard of prior to our visit.  The proprietor looked to be about my age and was busy with inventory, but he was very friendly.  We shared a moment when he started whistling a tune and I quickly identified it as "Can You Feel It" by The Jacksons.  Every time I come to Scotland, I'm reminded of just how strong the musical vibe is there.


A look at the dining room.  I was tempted to stay for lunch, but it was still a little early.  We decided to walk around a bit more.

At around noon, my nose caught a whiff of something delicious.  We happened to be standing in front of Iberica, a Spanish restaurant chain in the United Kingdom.  Since we knew we'd be eating a lot of Scottish food on the boat, we decided to stop in for a Spanish repast.  It was a good decision.  We split a couple of tapas and paella for two, then had lovely desserts.


Bill checks out the menu...


While I check out the bar...  Our waitress was beautiful.  She looked like a young Rachel Hunter circa 1990 or so...  She recommended we order a couple of tapas to hold us over while the paella was being prepared.  It takes awhile.


Bill picked the sausage and cheese tapas which came with bread and fig jelly.


I had the crispy chicken, which was absolutely delicious.  I could have enjoyed a whole lunch of this.


Seafood paella.  It was very good, although I liked my chicken tapas even more.



This was just the beginning of our week eating seafood...


For dessert, I had churros, which were so good... but man, my ass didn't need that present!


Bill was a bit more sensible and had something lighter.  Looks like it involved apricots.  I remember the waitress told us about a dessert that involved Parmesan cheese and strawberries.  I wrinkled my nose at first, but then realized it was a pairing of sweet and salty.  And given the time of the month, that was kind of appealing.  I'm glad I went with churros instead, though.


Stay tuned for part five!
  

2 comments:

  1. Quite the international smorgasbord this day -kilts and tapas and whisky.

    I want to go to there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You and Amy should make it a priority. Scotland is one of my favorite places on Earth. I have never felt more at home anywhere else, except for parts of Virginia.

      Delete

Comments on older posts will be moderated.