Scotland was never a place Nihar or I had ever wanted to visit. But, given a work trip for Nihar it made a good “meet in the middle destination” for the two of us. The first day in Aberdeen was spent exploring on my own. Nihar had to still work that day so, a day just to myself in a new city was much welcomed. There was something familiar about being in Aberdeen. I didn’t feel so out of place. Being a minority was normal. People being friendly was normal. The service industry is so vastly different in the States and Europe compared to India. Getting a little flirt back with my credit card was normal. Or striking up a lovely conversation with the elderly cab driver was normal. I don’t think I always noticed how those “normal” things were lacking in my life until I was presented with them again.
I ended up at the cutest book cafe called Books and Beans to start off my day. Spending a couple hours there just reading, writing, and drawing while people watching was just the right start to the day. Something I noticed about a month in of being in India was how no one really shows affection. I didn’t realize it until I was watching the show Atypical on Netflix. I don’t often get to see affection out in public. So, while sitting at this book cafe and seeing a guy meet his girlfriend and greet her with a kiss on her head just warmed my heart in a way I didn’t know I needed.
After leaving the cafe, I walked around for a little while and ended up at a bar/restaurant called The Craftsman.
Now, this place was my kinda spot. I sipped on a few whiskeys while drawing and waiting for Nihar + his co workers to meet me. After my first drink I had the bartender pick out the next two and she did a good job of pleasing my palette in the correct order.
The night ended at Brewdog after tapas for dinner. Being in the basement of a punkish craftbeer spot also felt very normal and drinking an IPA that actually had some alcohol percentage to it. In India, there is actually beginning to be a decent craft beer scene. But, most beers aren’t above 5% alcohol percentage because then a higher tax has to be paid. It frustrates me sometimes when I am drinking a nice IPA that tastes like a 6% or 7% beer and nothing happens!
The next day, we were off to Edinburgh!
We stayed at THE cutest airbnb in Old Town. The area was definitely too touristy for us, but the plus side was we were walking distance to everything. We found my first hipster coffee shop on the list called Milkman and then headed up to see the castle. Something about the juxtaposition of grey winter met with the lush green was truly stunning. But, then again something about the the architecture just didn’t excite us. We liked all the stone walls and some of the vibe, but overall it wasn’t our favorite city we had visited.
We then did the Scottish Whiskey Experience. And if you think I’m pretentious or bougie about beer or wine, well you can add whiskey to the list now!
By this point all we had consumed during the day was coffee and whiskey so Nihar dragged us to Dishoom. After living in India I didn’t want Indian food especially at a place like Dishoom. But the chai was pretty good, the old Bollywood songs were lovely, and I think Nihar enjoyed himself there.
Overall the food in Scotland was just aight. It’s not the most vegetarian friendly city. Nihar and I are big foodies and we think food is such a big part of the experience so, we always end up in these places with a rich food culture. But! I did have vegan haggis! We did end up at a counter culture pizza place that was a pleasant surprise. One night we ended up at The Tron and stayed in the basement for that on point playlist. It started with 90s throwbacks and transitioned into good house party music. Reminded us of Rudy’s the way it used to be on a Saturday night long ago.
We did come across some of the Harry Potter sights including walking down Victoria St and going to The Black Medicine Coffee shop. I am not big into buying souvenirs, but I always try to find some paper goods to take along. Like a letterpress card or a handmade postcard. The red door was the perfect spot for this. I have a collection and at my last apartment we had a salon style wall of some of them. One day I will have a wall full of ALL of them! Before we knew it, we were back to Aberdeen to fly out, but not before going to Brew Lab as the last coffee shop to visit. This was one of my favorites for sure. Back in Aberdeen we went to Bonobo Cafe for a vegan lunch. This was definitely a cute spot with a great interior and garden, but again the food was just aight.
I had a long layover on my way back in London and I spent the day at The Tate Modern. Not really sure why I was such a London hater before this trip, but I LOVED London. I got lucky with magical weather and the Tate was one of my favorite museums I have EVER visited. I left oozing with inspiration!
The trip resulted with a new color theme. I have been in my blue period for years now and rust is the new color. The combination if wearing this rust colored sweater, the color of whiskey, and this bronze rat cage I have been working with at work - it all comes full circle and turns into a lifestyle.