Monday, November 30, 2009

Edinburgh, Scotland

Tom and I spent a wonderful, long weekend in Edinburgh.  At night, the lights make the city magical.

There was a Scottish and a German holiday market.  My new favorite drink of the week is the hot spiced Scottish honey wine.

And it comes in the cutest mug!

Tom, in front of the Edinburgh Castle, which was started in the 11th century.  We were here on St. Andrews weekend so the admission to the castle was free!!

Of course, a visit to Scotland would not be complete without a visit to the Scottish Whiskey Heritage Centre.  We got to smell whiskey from the different regions of Scottish and then we were able to taste the whiskey from our favorite region.


This center has the largest number of Scottish whiskies in the world !!

The view from the top floor of the whiskey museum - the large building with the black clock in the center and Edinburgh castle were JK Rowlings inspiration for Hogwarts (in the Harry Potter stories).

I had the most amazing salmon in whiskey sauce at this restaurant!

We ate at Deacon Brodie's Tavern.  This tavern, established in 1806, has an unusual story.  The namesake inspired R.L. Stevenson to write The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  Deacon Brodie was a respectable city councilor by day and a murderer by night.  In 1788, he was convicted of his crimes and hanged on a gibbet that he himself helped perfect.

Tom's clan, the Douglas' are listed on the board inside of the tavern.

Before leaving for Scotland, I met a couple living in Paris who were from Edinburgh.  They recommended the night walking tours lead by a "dead" guide.  These tours explore the darker history of Edinburgh including the witch trials, hangings and plagues.  It was a very entertaining tour.

Leaving Scotland...

Friday, November 27, 2009

Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants

Once again, we went to our favorite wine expo in Paris.  Twice a year, the independants wineries have a 4 day wine expo in Paris.

A cute puppy who took a liking to me -

Tom and his colleagues discussing the wine..

Our FAVORITE  champagne!!!

Our favorite red wine - Domaine La Tour Penedesses in the Langedoc region (southwest) of France.  It's a little embarrassing when the vignerons recognize us...

Big cheese...

Part of the group that we were with...we were an international group with friends from the Ukraine, Tunisia, Japan, Mauritius (an island 500 miles east of Madagascar, South Africa in the Indian Ocean), and France.

This is a wonderful place to learn about the different wines and regions of France.  The independant wineries explain why their wine taste the way it does - whether it's due to the soil, the climate, the grape, the geographical location, the way that it's prepared etc.  This is a great educational experience!!

Holiday Decorations in Paris

Galeries Layfayette

Au Printemps...yikes! - I just noticed the RER sign in this picture...I'll have to go back and try again!

Interesting window displays at Au Printemps

Weisbaden - Part 4

I had to leave Weisbaden a day earlier than Tom.  I was thrilled to make it back to Paris without getting lost at all!!  Walked about half a mile from the hotel to the Weisbaden train station.  Then, found the train that would take me to the Frankfurt train station - about a 45 minute train ride.

Arrived at the Frankfurt train station early enough to do some shopping at their Christmas market.  Then, boarded the train for the 4 hour journey back to Paris.

Once in Paris, took 2 different metros to get back to our flat.  Overall, a very relaxing day !

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Weisbaden - Part 3

The Weisbaden Christmas Market just opened today and that means Glühwein - hot spiced red wine!!  Yum!!

At night, we were invited to Schloss Freudenberg along with 18 of Tom's co-workers.  This was the most unique and fantastic experience.  The Schloss Freudenberg is a huge 106 year old mansion that challenges the mind and senses.

The highlight of the 5 hour evening was eating in Der Dunkelbar (The Dark Bar).  We were led into the bar by holding the shoulder of the person in front of us as well as feeling the walls.  We had a  5 course meal in total darkness.  It as an incredible experience!  Below is a "picture" of our dinner.