Vacation Update 4: Sleep, Sheep, Covfefe

We’re back from vacation now, but I have one last travel update. Ask the Readers returns next week.

Mrs. 1500 and I spent the last part of our vacation visiting with the Mad Fientist and his wife, the Mad Fientista. We spent four days Edinburgh followed by two in London. I had never been to the UK, so didn’t know what to expect. However, there was one thing I couldn’t stop thinking about:


Never heard of haggis? It’s chopped up sheep organs stuffed into a sheep stomach.


The Mad Fientist kept threatening to serve us this delicacy and I was filled with fear. I eat hot dogs and Taco Bell, so haggis shouldn’t have bothered me. But it did anyway.

Before I bleat on, I need to tell you about our adventure in getting across the pond because the trip almost didn’t happen. Our plan was to fly out of New York City on Friday afternoon. We’d drop the children off in Chicago before flying to the UK on Saturday afternoon. It didn’t go down like that and we almost didn’t make it.


Friday (8/4)

10am: We learn that our flight was cancelled due to bad weather. We soon learn that all flights for the day in NYC are cancelled. We call Southwest immediately, but cannot get through. While on hold, we notice that flights on Saturday morning out of NYC are full. Not good.

12pm: We’re still on hold with Southwest. We consider renting a car and driving to Chicago.

1pm: Desperate circumstances call for desperate action. We book a flight out of Pittsburgh. I jump on the metro to go get a one-way rental car to get us there.

2pm: I pick up the rental and head back to the hotel to pick up the family.

3pm: We hit the road. For the next 3 hours, we’re stuck in hellish traffic in Hell’s Kitchen making our way to the Lincoln Tunnel.

6pm: New Jersey!


Saturday (8/5)

2am: We arrive in Pittsburgh. Since we have to be at the airport at 5am, there is no point in getting a room. We park our car in a hotel parking lot and sleep for a couple miserable hours.

8am: Chicago. We have to fly out at 3pm and have some errands to take care of, so don’t sleep. Not sleeping was not smart.

3pm: We fly out of Chicago to Dublin. I can’t sleep on planes, but was too tired to read or get anything done, so I watched movies.


Sunday (8/6)

4:30am: Dublin! Our connecting flight to Edinburgh wasn’t until 1pm. We’re so tired now that we can barely function. We find a McDonald’s and go to sleep in a booth. This was surprisingly comfortable.

2pm: Edinburgh! Finally. We haven’t had a good sleep since Thursday evening, but we decide to stay awake. We figure that we’ll adjust better if we can just stay up a while longer and go to bed at a normal time.

10pm: Sleep! Finally. We go to bed and wake up 14 hours later.


Fringe Festival

Edinburgh was a beautiful and fun city. We were there to take in the Fringe Festival, fantastic beer and funky food.

The Fringe Festival is a monthlong party with performers come from all over the world. We saw improv, storytelling, stand-up comedy, covfefe and giant inflatable cows.



The Mad Fientist came up with some mad beer. Anyone recognize the mysterious one on the left?



Except for the latest Taco Bell creation, I’m not adventurous when it comes to food. So, I was terrified when the Mad Fientist threatened us with haggis (sheep’s heart, lungs and liver) before we arrived. I didn’t know if he was joking, but didn’t want to ask. I figured I’d just keep my mouth shut and hope he would forget the whole thing. That was not to be.

When we arrived, he mentioned that not only would he be serving us haggis, but also blood pudding. Blood pudding? Ugh. In my mind’s eye, I pictured blood pudding as I know it in America. Like this, only red:

I cowered in fear.

Then came the big day.

Blood pudding upper left, haggis below it

I was relieved to learn that blood pudding is actually a sausage. Phew. And while I wouldn’t order haggis willingly, it wasn’t bad.

If Scottish friends ever come to America, I’ll turn the tables and take them to Taco Bell.

Thanks Sane and Mad Fientist for a wonderful time!


Slow Travel

This trip took us to Maine, Vermont, NYC and the United Kingdom. It was the longest vacation I’ve ever taken. We left on Friday, 7/21 and returned home on 8/13. And it wasn’t nearly enough time. I could have spent two weeks in each place and not come close to being bored. I don’t like perpetual travel, but I do like sitting in one place for a long time and taking it in at a leisurely pace. Next summer when the girls are out of school, we’ll choose a city to spend time in and plant ourselves there for a while.

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33 Responses to Vacation Update 4: Sleep, Sheep, Covfefe

  1. Sounds like you could have starred in planes, trains and automobiles to get to Edinburg. That’s crazy how difficult things can be when you think you have planned everything out. Sounds like you had a terrific time with the MadFeintist and I’m like you, I would have been petrified to eat haggis and blood pudding. No thank you.
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…71 Amazingly Funny, Witty, and Inspiring Celebrity Money QuotesMy Profile

  2. E Money says:

    Oooo, SO jealous you got a Trappist beer! What kind of hoops did the Mad Fientist have to jump through for that one?

  3. Bahaha! Taco Bell is sure to strike fear in the heart of any Scot. 😉 Dang, I’m sorry to hear you had so much trouble with your travels! Anything to make that adventure happen though, eh? 🙂

  4. Oi, you are brave. I’m not sure if I’d stomach haggis, but I would probably try…

    I’m glad you finally made it to Scotland, no fun trying to deal with travel woes and bad weather!
    Mrs. Adventure Rich recently posted…3 Reasons I am not attending a European WeddingMy Profile

  5. Julie Rhodes says:

    I’m new to your blog, but I love it! Glad that you finally got some rest, sounds crazy, but worth it in the end. Yes I recognize the Westvleteran on the left, but I also have an unfair edge in that I work for a European beer importer here in the states….in fact I’m right down the road from you guys in CO. We import Trappiste Rochefort (your middle beer), so if you need to know where to find some I can let you know. For the record – there are two Trappist beers I that photo! Not trying to sales pitch here, I just love it when others discover the beauty of European beer. Mad Fientist has great taste! Looking forward to our own slow travel one day, thanks!

    • Julie! Whoah, an exotic beer importer right down the road? Really!? Consider yourself invited to every BBQ we have from now until eternity!

      And if you can’t tell, I thought that beer was pretty great. I didn’t even show the one I liked best. I’ll have to ask the Fientist about that one and get back to you…

      • Julie Rhodes says:

        Kind of yes…while I do not directly sell said exotic imports (we have a 3-tier system in the US) & our HQ is in Seattle, I am responsible for representation/marketing/brand management for our portfolio of 10 different breweries. I run CO, NM & WY. And BBQ’s are always more fun with beer folks 😉 if you need some samples just email me!

  6. Adam says:

    That cow! We were in London last year and saw it from an interesting vantage point: a pod in the Eye.

    Those bottles remind me of time spent in Belgium and the Netherlands. Amazing beer just lined up on grocery store shelves for €1-€2/ea.

    What a treat. This sort of post is what gets my wife interested in FIRE — the ability to jaunt off to Europe whenever credit card points and schedule allow, for as long as we like.

  7. MrWow says:

    Glad to see you really enjoyed yourself! Haggis isn’t all that bad. And we actually grew to like black pudding.

    Those beers look fantastic!

  8. Joe says:

    Very cool. I haven’t had a chance to try haggis, but someday. Blood sausage is okay with me too. Our kid loves cubes of pig blood in Pho soup. UK has so much history. I’d love to spend more time there, at least a month traveling around.

  9. Mrs. BITA says:

    That is a westvletern 12! Some years ago those monks needed a new roof, so they did something unprecedented and made a number of cases available (instead of insisting that folks come to them to buy). A few of those cases made it across the pond, and Mr. BITA spent a long time on the phone trying to get his hands on some. He did not, but one of our friends did, and Mr. BITA was thrilled to get a few bottles from said friend as an engagement present.

    • I remember that! They sold the beer here in Colorado too. After reading about people planning to camp out for it, I didn’t even bother.

      That’s awesome that Mr. BITA eventually got to try it!

  10. Mrs.Wow says:

    I absolutely love that first picture of Edinburgh. Such an interesting history as to how the city was built and walking amidst the vast, albeit narrow, closes was so crazy! Glad you guys made it and if anything it makes for a good story. Nobody wants to hear how your travel arrangements all went as they were supposed to. Hopefully now you can catch up on sleep!
    Mrs.Wow recently posted…How Hypothermia Taught Me to Always Trust My GutMy Profile

  11. Mr. PIE says:

    Ha! Glad you took the plunge to at least taste Haggis. See, some food things from Scotland are not so bad!! I can tell you, it tastes better when washed down with a dram or two – but perhaps such indulgence in whisky is not to be recommended at breakfast time. Did you get a chance to visit any distilleries and get to taste a few malts?
    Mr. PIE recently posted…Planning for Succcess: Drawdown versus Wealth Preservation in Early RetirementMy Profile

  12. Mr. Tako says:

    Why such a serious face in the final photo Carl? Is that what haggis looks like on the way out? 🙂

    Looks like you guys had a great time despite all the flight issues.

    What I learned today: 1. What covfefe is and 2. that the Dublin McDonalds will let you sleep in their booths.

    Mr. Tako recently posted…The Miso SolutionMy Profile

  13. Welcome home!

    I look forward to many more travel posts in the future — on both this site and my own! I agree with you that slow travel is where it’s at and 3 weeks in multiple destinations on multiple continents is not exactly slow travel, even if it was a long vacation.

    We’re planning a 3-week trip this fall, and I’m pretty sure we’ll spend most or all of it in one place. And, yes, it will be someplace warm.


  14. Oh man, that was a crazy shuffle getting to Chicago! Pittsburgh is a haul, and traffic out of the city can be a nightmare. Glad to see you made it OK.

    Those are some classy beers. The Fientist has some good taste! I might have to brew up some Belgian ales when the weather cools off…

  15. Oldster says:

    I very much enjoyed the travel reports. Living vicariously through your adventures has been a welcome and interesting break in my day for the last few weeks. While the beer picture was interesting, my eye was drawn to the Talisker 10 year old scotch behind the beer. Peaty stuff that. Yum!

  16. Back when I had a job (*hack* *cough*), the Scots who visited the office always raved about Haggis. I never tried it. I just couldn’t trust the opinion of men who wore plaid skirts (“tartan kilts”) to the annual Christmas Party.
    Financial Velociraptor recently posted…Update UVXY PutsMy Profile

  17. Cowboy says:

    As an Edinburgh local I would never volunteer to go into town during festival month, I hate crowds at the best of times and it’s just mental. Haggis however, food of the gods, and what I didn’t see on that plate was tattie scones, fruit pudding or link sausage, half measures!

  18. Jason says:

    I also can’t sleep on planes or cars. But it sounds like it was well worth the trip. What a great adventure (hope to make it to both places someday).

  19. Wait, what, you travel to scotland and then you drink Belgian beers?
    E n then when you decide to visit Belgium you probably want to be served Whisky? (*looks at his cubboard stocked full of fine scottish whiskey* mmh, ok never mind 😉
    The madfientist also kinda cheated as St Bernardus and westvleteren are practically the same beer. The guy producing St Bernardus used to make the Westvleteren but when they moved the production into their new brewery on site he was left with a brewery but no brand. So he found some other monks, paid to use their name and then carried on producing the exact same beer he used to produce but under a different name …

  20. Looks like a great trip 🙂

    We went to the fringe a few years ago, what a great atmosphere in an already great city. I tried haggis stew and it was nice so assuming I’d like it in its own (?!)

    Did you try deep fried Mars bar? Another Scottish specialty. It’s a bit weird Haha.

    Sorry again we missed each other in the end … Next time!

    How did like London?

  21. I used to be what I call a ‘serial traveler’, but now I’m focusing on slow travel. Here are some slow travel plans we have for the next couple of years:

    – Spend 3 months in Belize to test out what it might be like to live there more long term.
    – Take a transatlantic ship to Europe. It is a 7 day crossing, so we will probably do it during International Space Week so that we have interesting speakers to listen to. When we get there, we have a friend who lives in Edinburgh, so we are planning to stay a month or so and then travel to Italy for awhile and follow in the footsteps of Galileo.
    – Live in a van and travel around California.
    – Be a volunteer researcher in Galapagos for a few months.

    I’d love for you to do an ‘Ask the Readers’ about their plans or dreams for slow travel and see what people can come up with.
    Primal Prosperity recently posted…Thank you Mother Nature. You saved 2017.My Profile

  22. Kyle says:

    Late to the party. Looks like a New Belgium beer bottle on the left. Sounds like a he’ll of a trip 🙂

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