Returned from Scotland about a week ago. Jet lag and the flight took a toll this time, so my writing has lagged behind a bit. Scotland is wonderful—people, location and history. Checked all my boxes.
This trip was aboard a barge. Built in the 1930s as a working barge and renovated now as a luxury passenger vessel cruising the Scotland Caledonia canal. But, the best part of the trip was the staff and other passengers—4 staff members and 8 passengers, and the Scotland Highlanders we met. The two kilted fellows in the photo right were attending a wedding near our hotel in Inverness (our two days pre-trip). “May we take your picture?” With a laugh, they both replied, “Aye!”
The barge staff included Mick, our captain; Paul, tour director; Danni, host, and Sasha, the chef. Each one with a story, personality plus, and outstanding service. Let’s start with Danni and Sasha (Danni on the left, Sasha on the right).
Danni is 28 years old originally from Dublin, Ireland and an aspiring circus performer. She attends specialized schools in the off-season to improve her craft. Her skill includes a combination of dance and acrobat. No doubt, we will see her in Cirque du Soleil some day. Depending on her school location (this year will be Spain), she also teaches English to help pay for school. Last year she was attending school in Argentina and teaching youngsters English (with an Irish accent, mind you). She tells a story of setting up the movie, “Up”, for the kids—only they learned it from Danni pronounced as Ooop (the Irish way). The headmaster was baffled what movie they were actually seeing until Danni showed him the DVD cover.
Sasha is the best cook I have ever encountered. I gained five pounds in the 7 days we stayed on board. Each meal was a classic Scottish dish, but with a modern twist, i.e., Haggis with a whisky reduction sauce. Sasha hails from Slovakia and hopes to open a restaurant there someday. I plan on going…
Tomorrow, I will highlight Day 1 on the cruise and introduce Mick and Paul.