The official countdown has begun. If I were as cool as my sister, I would put a neat little counter on my blog, letting you know how many days, hours and minutes til I leave on Friday. But since I'm not that cool.. I'll just have to talk about it.
As I'm writing this at 9:45 AM, I have 6 days 5 hours and 15 minutes until my plane leaves. After a flight and a three hour layover in Philadelphia, we will be on our way to Amsterdam. Three days of fun there, and it's off to join our friend in Paris for four nights. I cannnot even begin to put into words how excited I am. :) I LOVE to travel. I love to walk around new places, and watch people (I get that from my mom), or just sit around and watch people. People are crazy. They're weird. And they don't mind letting the world see it.
But the absolute best part of travelling is the food. I love eating new stuff (I get this from my dad). I'll try anything once...and I do mean anything. Blood pudding? Loved it from the moment I smelled it. I'd make my own...but where does one get fresh pig blood in this day and age? Then there's the problem of finding something big enough to mix all the ingredients in. Haggis? (there's a definition below, but if you've got a squeamish stomach, then don't look. Stacey, that means you). I was dying to try it when we went to Scotland. It's pretty good...but the two times I had it, it was a little mushy (because it's boiled), and I like my sausage-type foods to be crispy around the edges. Give me the blood pudding. The one and only time I've been offered caviar (a story which made StepSon green....but not with envy), I got to try about 6 different kinds. It was a wine/seafood tasting from my restaurant years, and by the time I noticed the caviar station I'd samples several wines and...well, I remember that I liked the caviar. I just wish I remember which ones I tried and which ones I loved. Probably the ones that I'll never be able to afford or the ones that are now illegal.
Eating any kind of animal brains seems kind of weird...but this article on cow brains makes it seem normal. I'm willing to try it once . And if I liked it, I'd eat it no matter what it was. There is one thing I don't think I could get myself to try - the Thousand Year Old Egg (which is really only 100 days old). I've seen pictures, and it looks kinda nasty. But looks aren't what would keep my away. I simply don't like pickled stuff, which is what this seems to be. The smell is supposed to be particularly....pungent. I'll have to ask my dad what he thinks about it.
But I was going to talk about The-Trip-That-Everyone-Is-Tired-Of-Hearing-About. :)
We went to Amsterdam last year on our honeymoon, but we had no money to do anything fun. We went to one museum - the Unofficial Sex Museum. It was pretty cool - my favorite part was looking at the 'porn through time' collection. They had a room that was devoted to postcards, magazines and other pornographic images over the past several hundred years, and that was pretty interesting - it was all pictures of naked women, but boy were they different! What was considered beautiful 150 years ago is very different from what it is today. But anyway, on the last trip we couldn't afford the Van Gogh Museum, the Rembrandt Museum, the Anne Frank House, or The Official Sex Museum. And the only full day we were in the city - Friday - was the one day a week that the Royal Palace was closed. So we're doing all that this year. We are going to completely leave aside the question of what "Official" versus "Unoffical" means in the world of Sex Museums.
And before you ask - the Red Light District really wasn't as exciting as all the hype builds it up to be. It was just a bunch of women in bikinis moving around behind windows. I expected them to be in corsets, or sexy lingerie or something. But it was just one bikini after another. And a lot of them weren't particularly revealing bikinis.
One of the parts of our trip that I'm really looking forward to is taking the train from Amsterdam to Paris. My first train experience was on our trip last year, and I loved it. This time, we'll be going through some beautiful country. It's only a four hour trip - and knowing me, I'll fall asleep as I always do when in a moving vehicle (something else I get from my mom). But when I wake up: Hello Paris! Clark's meeting us at the station, and we're staying at the apartment he's renting. We'll only have about 3 1/2 days in Paris, and there's so much to fit into that time. And I haven't checked on those riots in a few days. I should probably keep an eye on that...
Haggis ingredients: I'm not going to pretend to know how to make this stuff. There's no one single way to make it - as with most good sausage type foods, you can use just about anything. The casing for haggis, though, should be a sheep's stomach. A very clean, washed, sheep's stomach. I'll just remind you that traditional sausages are stuffed into animal intestines. The stomach seems somewhat better, to me.
The filling should have lots of organs in it - liver (from sheep or deer), heart and lungs along with some suet seem to be the most common ingredients. Other than that, it's your typical sausage-stuffers: some onion, pepper (white, black, cayenne, etc), stock, oatmeal and seasonings. Stuff it in the stomach and boil it - and voila! you have haggis. One stomach seems to feed about 3 or 4 people. And did you know Robert Burns wrote an ode to the Haggis?
Told ya it was pretty good.