My sister and I make a pretty good travel team.
For example, she is Always Prompt. I am not. Together, we're a bit on the later side of "on time."
She is good at reading maps. I tend to rely too much on my intuition. (As in . . . I think we should go THIS way.) Together, we still get lost -- but tend to find our way for the most part.
She is a thoughtful and cautious planner. I tend to just wing it. Together, we hit that middle ground of staying safe while having a bit of adventure.
But when it comes right down to it, I'm older.
So, while in Orkney, I suggested a tour of the Highland Park distillery. (Strongly suggested.) (Maybe even demanded.) (Ahem. Older sister.) You see, she has never tried whisky. I love whisky. I hoped we might meet in the middle.
(In truth, I did not have to put on my bossy pants; she was totally game to go.)
The tour was fascinating. (Also incredibly charming. The flower boxes and container gardens just pop in moody-broody Scotland. See?)
We learned a lot on our tour. Things like . . . Highland Park is the northern-most whisky distillery in Scotland.
And . . . Highland Park is one of the few distilleries that still malts their own barley.
They also use locally cut peat. And they shovel it by hand.
We learned a lot about barrels and flavors and timing and how long whisky really lasts.
And, finally, we visited the Tasting Room.
Here, we learned all about the various selections (we had samples of 15-, 18-, 21-, and 25- year old Highland Park whisky). We also learned that to properly enhance and truly enjoy the full taste of whisky, you need to chew it.
Somewhat like gargling ... but not quite the same.
Before . . .
After . . .
Let's just say . . . YUM. Chewing really does enhance the flavor!
(My sister? Not so much. She was a very good sport about it though!)
(And I'm sure she'd want me to point out that she had no reservations about trying the whisky. She even chewed it. It just wasn't her cup of tea glass of red wine.)
Another thing we learned about whisky? It's whisky (no e) if it's distilled in Scotland; whiskey (with an e) if it's distilled in Ireland. (I always wondered, and never bothered to look it up.)
And then . . . it was time for us to leave the Orkney Islands.
I had been hoping to see a puffin or two while we were there, but did not. We did, though, see a pod of porpoises swimming alongside the ship as we left the Islands. So lovely to see! (I didn't even try to photograph them. It was such a treat to just watch and enjoy.)
Have a great weekend!