THE HEADLINE ON this column is obviously false. You cannot visit Scotland for $5 a day, unless you are a sheep, and even then you're going to spend more than $5 on Woolite. The headline was placed there only to garner your attention, much like the headlines in e-mails promising you smaller mortgage payments or guaranteeing larger…well, you know what I mean.
The big question in this issue is how to afford a European incentive, and while I cannot definitively answer that question, I can provide you with some cost-saving ideas I discovered when I visited Scotland.
Hadrian's Wall — There is no admission charge to view this relic of the first century, making it a free attraction. The Romans built the wall in 122 A.D. in an effort to keep marauding Scottish tribes from stealing their cannolis. Right next to Hadrian's Wall is Hadrian's Gift Shoppe, which was built in 123 A.D. The Romans figured they couldn't stop the Scots, so they might as well take their money. Hadrian's Wall was immortalized in the Rocky movies when he yelled out, “Yo, Hadrian!”
Loch Ness Monster — Once again, there is no fee to look for “Nessie,” the Loch Ness monster, but the odds of catching a glimpse are very, very long. “Loch” is the Scottish word for “lake” and I'm pretty sure “Ness” is the Scottish word for “invisible.” I was confused at first when a local lad told me in his heavy Scottish accent, “Eye've seen the Lochkkkk Ness Muenster.” But then I found out he was talking about a locally produced cheese. If you aren't fortunate enough to see Nessie in person, there are numerous gift shops that will sell you exquisite reproductions. I bought one made out of the local cheese, The Loch Ness Muenster Monster.
Whisky Tours — Scotland is the home of Scotch whisky, and they certainly make a tasty brew. Using only malted barley, water, and yeast, they invented a drink which will knock your socks off. I really don't remember if there was a charge to take the whisky tour but even if there is, it's worth the price, especially when they start passing out free samples.
The variety of different Scotch whiskies are named for the glens in which they are located. Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, and Glenmorangie for example, are among the more popular single malt brands. The mellower whiskies come from Glen Campbell, and Glen Miller.
The Ceremony Of The Haggis — Haggis is the traditional dish of Scotland, just as a luau is the traditional feast of Hawaii. All in all, I would rather eat a gallon of poi than a spoonful of haggis. Haggis is a mixture of a sheep's dangly bits, chopped up and mixed with oatmeal. Then the whole mélange is stuffed into the sheep's stomach and cooked for a day or two. When served, it is accompanied by a ceremony that includes whisky, bagpipe music, whisky, and more whisky. The haggis ceremony is not without a cover charge, but I guarantee there will be plenty of leftovers to take home.
Scotch Tape Museum — Scotland's favorite adhesive tape is the center of attention at this three-story museum in downtown Orkney. Over 50,000 spools of Scotch tape line the walls of the museum. There is no entry fee, because it does not exist — but you were interested there for a minute weren't you?
Dale Irvin is a “professional summarizer,” world traveler, and author of “Insurance as a Second Language.” For a good time, visit www.daleirvin.com. For booking, contact Ruth Levine at (858) 457-9880.