Scotland, Day 15: Pre-Travel Covid Testing, Drinks at Ensign Ewart Pub, Dinner at The Table

This was the view outside our bathroom window, which was situated directly above the sink. It was a bit odd at first to not have a mirror, but I eventually liked being able to peek out into the city at the start of each morning.

We found a nearby pharmacy that did Covid testing. While the UK does offer free testing, it’s for citizens only (and even then, testing for travel isn’t covered).

We had to pay out of pocket for the tests, which wasn’t too terrible. It was a bit unnerving that the actual testing site looked a partial shipping container, dropped just outside the pharmacy itself by the trash bins.

I had scheduled our tests at 1:30, and 1:45 PM (today was Thursday). Our flight back to the States departed on Sunday, at 1:40 PM. According to our airline, we needed a negative test within 72 hours of our departure.

I’d seen some mentions online where the requirement was 3 days prior to departure (which gave more latitude to a person to schedule a test), as opposed to 72 hours. To play it safe, we ended up waiting until 1:45 PM to actually take our test.

The gentleman we met with was very kind, and the test itself was pretty quick (although he did go pretty deep with the swabs).

We had to wait about 20 minutes for the results, so we wandered around and went into a nearby bookstore to kill some time. After returning, we got our tests (we were both negative), and were free to resume our day.

This was another big hurdle for us, in terms of Covid testing during our travels as we needed negative tests to board our plane home. If either of us had tested positive… I’m not exactly sure what we would have done. I’m guessing we would have had to self-quarantine in a hotel for 10 days. Which would have made for an interesting last leg of our trip.

At Ensign Ewart, having a few drams with a light lunch.

We were introduced to independent bottlers, thanks to Charlotte and our visit to the Malt Room in Inverness. We had learned about Adelphi (and tried several bottles there), and had started to hear a few other names as well: Infrequent Flyers, Derestricted.

We had heard of Gordon & MacPhail, and knew they did their own bottling. But I don’t think it quite clicked for us, until we talked more with Charlotte (who told us she’s never had a bad bottle of Adelphi).

This afternoon, at Ensign Ewart, we tried a lot of newer things to us: Glen Allachie 12 (Adelphi), Teaninich 11 (Adelphi), Glenturret 10 (Infrequent Flyers), Miltonduff 11 (Infrequent Flyers), Strathclyde 30 (Derestricted).

They were all quite delicious, and Liz and I had a fun time comparing and tasting one another’s selections.

A big highlight for me: our server, Andy, told us as we were leaving that we chose some really nice whiskies to drink. While I definitely know there’s a lot for me to learn yet, hearing this made me feel like Liz and I were a few steps beyond generic American tourists, looking to drink a bit of scotch.

We definitely feel like we’ve learned a lot more about the process, our preferences, and the kinds of things we’re interested in trying out (mostly just bottles or brands that would be harder to come by, in the States).

Getting a compliment from a server though, about our whisky selections? Made my day.

Around here I have a terrible confession to make: we were back at the hotel, and had reservations for an Italian restaurant… and we had some time to kill. Liz and I were lounging around on the bed, when she got a notification on her phone.

The notification was for a different dinner reservation we had made. In ten minutes. And was somewhere too far for us to actually walk.

We threw on our nice clothes in a hurry, ran downstairs, got the hotel to call us a cab, and were making our way through traffic to our original reservation. I ended up calling to apologize for our late arrival, and also had to call the other restaurant to cancel our reservations. It was a hectic, hot mess.

Liz was really good about finding restaurants and making our bookings ahead of time, given that many places would fill up due to popularity (and also reduced seating, due to Covid).

I made a separate Itinerary doc, which had all our travel plans, flight info, reservations, etc. But somehow, we missed today’s reservation. Which was… a very important reservation that we really couldn’t miss (it was a custom prepared meal, with only 10 guests, seated at a large table while the chefs prepared every meal in front of everyone).

We arrived a little harried (and of course were the last to sit down). But everyone else was hanging out, having drinks, and getting ready for the evening. We were lucky the first 30 minutes were open like this, as we were so incredibly, terribly, late. But it all ended up working out.

Our reservations tonight were for The Table, a very custom experience limited to just 10 diners. We were the, uh, last two diners to arrive.

Opening appetizers. ur reservation

There was a wine pairing option, which ended up looking like way more alcohol than either of us could put down. But we did end up ordering a few glasses of wine, along with our meal… which was quite nice.

Five Star Frog Splash: frog legs with beetroot, feta, and walnut.

Carbonara Cosi? Scallops with carbonara.

Cod on the Cob 2 – Corn Harder: Cod with Sweetcorn.

Scored a Peach: Duck with Fennel, Peach and Heather

Chef Sean Clark, plating up the next course.

Cheese for Charlie: Idiazabal cheese, coffee, and chartreuse.

At around this point, I was thinking the dining experience was done. But the food kept on coming, to the surprise of nearly everyone else at the table.

Werther’s Not so Original: Caramel Powder inspired by Grant Achatz.

Guess What This One’s Called? Tiramisu.

A final bit of sweetness, to mirror the appetizers that started the evening.

Scotland, Day 1: Driving to Glasgow, Dinner at The Butchershop
Scotland, Day 2: Auchentoshan Distillery, Kelvingrove Park, Dinner at Fanny Trollopes and Bon Accord
Scotland, Day 3: Glasgow Necropolis, Glasgow Cathedral, Tasting at Glen Goyne Distillery, Dinner at Stravaigin
Scotland, Day 4: Island Hopping to Isle of Arran, Lochranza Distillery, Isle of Islay, Late Arrival at Islay House
Scotland, Day 5: Bunnahabhain Distillery, Lagavulin Distillery, Dinner at Islay House
Scotland, Day 6: Bowmore Distillery, Bruichladdich Distillery, Isle of Jura, Jura Distillery
Scotland, Day 7: Travel Day, Dunchraigaig Cairn, Oban Distillery, Whisky Vaults
Scotland, Day 8: Travel to Inverness, Glencoe Valley, Loch Ness, Moments of Indecision, Drinks at the Malt Room
Scotland, Day 9: Victorian Market, Clava Cairns, Old High St. Steven’s, Malt Room Revisited
Scotland, Day 10: GlenDronach Distillery, a Late Dinner Panic, Arriving at Burnroy House in Archiestown
Scotland, Day 11: The Macallan, Aberlour Distillery, Anniversary Dinner at Dowans Hotel, and a Most Amazing Coincidence
Scotland, Day 12: Cairngorms National Park, Quad Biking through Rothiemurchus Estate, Cardhu Distillery, Strathisla Distillery, the Quaich Bar, Dinner at the Copper Dog
Scotland, Day 13: Knockando Woolmill, GlenAllachie Distillery, Craigellachie Bridge, Exploring the Grounds at Glen Grant Distillery, an Unexpected Visit to Elchies Estates, Dinner at Highlander Inn
Scotland, Day 14: Travel to Edinburgh, Glenturret Distillery, Dinner at the Devil’s Advocate

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