Here in Germany they have something called blood sausage. Now, thinking about sausage too much already grosses me out, but to think about blood sausage….puke! In preparation for my trip, my Scottish neighbor was trying to tell me the virtues of Scottish black pudding, verses German blood sausage. She also tried to glorify haggis. (Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to try haggis.) So, off I went to Edinburgh to see about it myself.
We stayed at a little B&B called The Gil Dun in a nice, quiet part of town, only a few minutes bus ride from the city center. It has been run by a man named Gerard McDonald (good Scottish name) for the past 11 years, a really nice and helpful man. He lives in a house attached to the establishment right next door, with his little dog, a “real” Jack Russell Terrier. He made us black pudding for breakfast one morning. The verdict: Looks like a hockey puck, tastes only slightly better. I couldn’t finish it. Actually, I couldn’t eat more than a mouse’s portion. Texture is a big problem. Gerard also let us try an oat cake or two, the famous biscuit of Scotland. Those were only slightly better, like biting into a 1/4 inch thick piece of MDF. No real flavor, just particle-y and dry. The poor Scots. It makes me wonder what haggis is all about.
Edingburgh is a wonderful city, and is really easy to explore. I wouldn’t be afraid to go there alone. They speak English, kind of. Everything that is tourist-worthy is located within the city center, and that is all accessible by foot, in about a one mile radius. The old town is built on an old volcano plateau, much like the table mountains in Golden, Colorado, if you’ve ever been there to visit us. Many of the buildings are built from the base of the crag, up the side and over the top, so the buildings have many stories. There is a lot of history, plaid-pride, ghost lore, pubs, and of couse, a piper on every corner.