01 Apr Fool Me Once

As you are undoubtedly aware, today is Easter. Okay, so it isn’t. We know you know, but it was worth a shot. Today is, in fact, April Fools' Day, and if no one has caught you off-guard with a prank or joke yet today, then we apologize for breaking your streak. At least we didn’t put cellophane over your toilet or something, right? RIGHT? April Fools’ Day is a long-held tradition that is an official holiday in exactly zero countries. Perhaps this is a testament to the enduring whimsicality and fun of a day in which you can play terrible jokes on others with no consequence? In any case, though the origins and original purpose of the holiday are debated and hard to prove, it March-es on (HaHA! Get it? March-April?? I’ll show myself out.) Many people, companies, news providers, and governments get in on the fun by concocting wild stories that are JUST believable enough. This brings much mirth, hilarity, and reinforces the paranoia of those of us who have a hard time trusting others in the first place. To further your understanding of this worldwide day of pranking, we’ve singled out three countries where April Fools Day is observed in very particular fashion. No free-styling here, if you want to fool your neighbors there is a certain way to do so. Scotland – Hunt the Gowk “Gowk” is the traditional word for a “fool” and the Scottish trick takes a village to pull off....

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02 Mar Yon Bonny Banks

Windswept coasts, ancient castles and dramatic, Celtic forests – there’s a lot to love about Scotland! Although geographically small, Scotland is rich with natural wonders. Expect to find your inner adventurer as you explore these mystic lands, filled with craggy cliffs, crystalline lakes and emerald valleys. With so much raw beauty, it can be difficult to know where to begin! To help you decide, we have put together our list of the most beautiful places to visit in Scotland.   Loch Ness No trip to Scotland would be complete without a visit to Loch Ness. Located in the Scottish Highlands, Loch Ness is not only central to local mythology and culture, it is also a beautiful lake that extends over 37 kilometres into Inverness. You can take in the impressive sight with a lakeside hike or a visit to the ruins of Urquhart Castle on the banks of the lake.   Ben Nevis At over 1,300 metres tall, Ben Nevis is the highest mountain top in the United Kingdom. While a challenging ascent, hikers who reach the top are rewarded with stunning views across the Grampian Mountains and towards distant Glencoe and Atlantic coast.   Cairngorms National Park With over 280km of hiking and mountain biking trails, Cairngorms National Park provides ample opportunity for adventure. Enjoy a hike through vast Cairngorms mountain range, some quiet wildlife watching or experience one of Scotland’s best water-rafting rapids.   Glencoe Nestled between the pinnacles of the Three Sisters mountain range and the cone-like Pap of Glenco, it...

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12 Jan Wish, Kiss, and Touch

The new year is here! 2015 is the year for travel and discovery, and all the personal wealth that comes with it. We’ve put together a list of places for you to go this year that are not only beautiful and entrenched in history, they will bring you good fortune. 1. Edinburgh, Scotland- Grayfriar Bobby Statue Meet the most famous and beloved terrier of Scotland, Grayfriars Bobby. His life-size statue stands near the main entrance of Greyfriar Kirkyard, a cemetery in Edinburgh’s Old Town. The statue was erected to memorialize the Skye Terrier who kept faithful watch over his master’s grave for 14 years until his own death in 1872. A tombstone marks his actual burial site in Kirkyard, where he rests eternally near the grave of his owner John Gray. The story has unfortunately been discredited by recent research, but tourists still enjoy rubbing the nose of the loyal pup for good fortune. City officials encourage you to pet gently, not because he bites, but because his nose has undergone some damage over the years from repeated touching. [caption id="attachment_1340" align="alignnone" width="189"] http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Greyfriars_Bobby_statue,_Edinburgh.JPG[/caption] So sweet. 2. Blarney, Co. Cork, Ireland- Blarney Castle Kiss it, it’s Irish! When you’re in Ireland, be sure to visit the Blarney Castle and kiss the Blarney Stone for the “gift of the gab.” According to legend, proprietor of the castle Cormac MacCarthy was being denied his land owning rights by Queen Elizabeth I. Feeling helpless to argue his case, he...

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19 Dec December 25: Not Just Jolly

The fact that December 25 is Christmas shouldn’t come as a shock (if it does: Surprise!) As with any other day of the year, a lot happens on the 25th of December: births, deaths, marriages, intrigue, revelations…and that’s just the tip of the iceberg! So this year as you gather with your family, keep in mind that on this day there is quite a bit more happening than gift giving and cookies. 5) 1776 – Washington defeats 1,400 Hessian soldiers The best part about Washington’s victorious crossing of the Delaware River was that it worked BECAUSE it was Christmas. America’s first president was well aware that the British-employed German troops would be drinking themselves silly and used their festivities against them, sneaking into town at night and beating them while they were too hungover to care. How’s that for Christmas cheer? 4) 1642 - Isaac Newton was born Being born on Christmas comes with its own unique set of angsty issues (never having a bday-only party, gifts meant to “take care of both”, Christmas-themed bday cake, etc.), but luckily Newton never let it get him down. Gravity on the other hand… 3) 1932 – King George V’s chair collapses Though there were hundreds of staff and supporters thoroughly committed to keeping the British Monarch safe from harm, no one correctly predicted the true threat: his chair. During the middle of a holiday dinner speech, George V’s seat gave way, depositing the thoroughly startled king onto the very posh...

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03 Nov No Money? No Problem!

From fringe festival events to cultural institutions and glorious gardens, Edinburgh offers lots of activities for travelers on a shoestring. So don't let your lack of funds keep you from the vacation you dream about! Here are our picks of the best free things to do around the city. Discover Scotland’s national museum and galleries Trace Scotland’s story, from prehistoric times to the present, at the National Museum of Scotland. The museum has just undergone a £46.4 million redevelopment, and is set to add another ten galleries for 2016. Art lovers can also spend many budget-friendly days in the Scottish National Gallery, the Scottish National Portrait Gallery and the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Visit the Writers Museum See the writing desk of Robert Burns, the beloved Scottish bard who made ‘Auld Lang Syne’ a song of drunken new year greeting around the world. The museum also celebrates the lives of Sir Walter Scott, who penned Ivanhoe, Rob Roy and The Lady of the Lake, and Robert Louis Stevenson, author of the classics Treasure Island and Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Imagine the lives of these literary geniuses through their personal artifacts, including a dining table and rocking horse owned by Scott and an engraved ring given to Stevenson by a Samoan chief. 3. Hit the free Fringe Festival A limited cash flow wont stop you from enjoying the cultural whirlwind of the Edinburgh Fringe, with hundreds of ‘Free Fringe’ events on offer throughout...

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26 Aug Capture the Castle

While most people think of castles as residences for the royal, wealthy, or privileged, the Scots placed emphasis on much more than just edifice: defense was the primary purpose (though of course, the wealthy did enjoy living in them). During the Dark and Middle Ages, the British Isles were littered with skirmishes among invading vandals, neighboring cities, and even within the same extended families! But as times changed, along did Scotland’s castles, with adaptations to suit the new tools of warfare. Check out Panrimo’s favorite castles in Scotland and note the variety of castle styles, as well as the sheer magnificence! 7.) Culzean Castle Although this castle may look less formidable than the rest on this list, note the turrets and battlements that were incorporated into the design, making this pretty, aristocratic looking castle a much deadlier force than it seems. The perfect place to walk and enjoy beautiful outdoor gardens, aside from the incredible interior, Culzean Castle is owned and managed by the National Trust for Scotland. 5.) Dunvegan Castle Located on the Isle of Skye off the western coast of Scotland, Denvegan Castle overlooks Denvegan Loch and the Minch, a narrow straight separating the Inner Hebrides (inner Scottish isles, closest to the Western shore), from the more distant Outer Hebrides, providing fantastic views across the waters. Dunvegan Castle is the oldest continuously habited castle in Scotland and is still the seat of the MacLeod Clan, an historically famous Scottish clan from the...

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14 Aug Carrying on the Tradition

We all have our favorite cultural traditions. Whether it’s celebrating 4th of July in the US, Bastille Day in France, or Holi with our Indian friends, each culture brings it’s own unique heritage and traditions to the table. And the Scots are no different! If you’re itching to learn about some of Scotland’s most notable traditions, look no further. Here are, in no particular order, Panrimo’s favorite Scottish traditions! 7.) Bagpipes One of the most obvious Scottish symbols, bagpipes were first recorded in Scotland in the mid 1500s. Made from a several different pieces faceted together, including the bag itself, typically made from animal skins, the bagpipe is known for its distinctive sound and the drones produced when playing it. 6.) Haggis Another iconic Scottish classic, haggis is presented as a savory pudding, haggis is a combination of sheeps ‘pluck’ (heart, liver, and lungs) and minced onions, oatmeal, spices, stock, and salt, all encased in sheep stomach. Pleasant, huh? While most haggis is now prepared in casing as opposed to stomach, the ingredients remain the same. 5.) Kilts Although originally associated with the Highlands, kilts are now ubiquitously associated with Scottish culture. Although previously worn frequently, kilts are now generally relegated to formal events, or competitions in Highland games. 4.) Highland Games The origins of Highland games predate written history, and are integral to Scottish Highland culture. There are several categories of events, including heavy games, music, dance, and other events as well. You’ll likely know them from...

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13 Aug Holding Out for a Hero

We've all heard the stories of Sir William Wallace (or at least seen Braveheart) and know of the epic accomplishments he achieved. But what about other Scottish heroes? In the wild North of Scotland, some of the world’s most important figures grew to change the world. Without further ado, here are Panrimo’s 7 favorite Scottish heroes, in no particular order. 7.) Robert the Bruce [caption id="attachment_988" align="aligncenter" width="185"] That beard! That axe! That Bruce![/caption] http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a3/Robertthebruce.jpg One of Scotland’s most famous heroes, Robert the Bruce was King of Scots from 1306-1329 and led the Scots during the Wars of Scottish Independence. While he commanded several major successful battles, his most famous may be the Battle of Bannockburn, where he defeated the much larger English army under Edward II, thus confirming the establishment of a Scottish monarchy. 6.) Agnes ‘Black Agnes’ Randolph  [caption id="attachment_989" align="aligncenter" width="316"] Dressed to impress.[/caption] http://www.medievalarchives.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Black-Agnes-countess-of-dunbar.jpg An example of Scotland’s strong female characters, Agnes Randolph, Countess of Dunbar, was besieged at Dunbar while her husband was off fighting English forces due to Edward Balliol’s attempt to seize the Scottish crown from David II. English forces began besieging her castle, but Agnes held strong for over five months with only servants and a few guards, forcing the English to finally concede their defeat. During the besiegement, Agnes was rumored to have ordered her female servants to dress in their nicest clothes, parade along the castle walls, and lightly dust the damage the English had done, taunting them...

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05 Aug Hole in the Wall

Top 7 Scottish Pubs While Scotland may not command the respect that Ireland does in terms of pubs, it still boasts a respectable pub culture. And of course, while it’s incredibly difficult to do so, Panrimo has compiled a list of Scotland’s best pubs. Whether it’s in a nook down the street or one of the most recognized establishments in the city (or even country), you’ll always have a good time bellying up to the bar and grabbing a drink at each of Panrimo’s top 7 favorite pubs! 7.) Applecross Inn [caption id="attachment_969" align="aligncenter" width="347"] An apple a day keeps the doctor away, does drinking here daily count?[/caption] http://www.applecross.uk.com/inn/images/inn.jpg One of Scotland’s more remote pubs, you won’t be disappointed making the trek out to this inn. Located in Applecross on the far West side of Scotland and overlooking the water to the Isle of Skye, you’ll reach Applecross after passing through Britain’s highest mountain pass, Bealllach na Ba. But once you arrive, you’ll find a quaint little inn with a beautiful waterside location, plenty of great food, and fresh beer on draught. 6.) The Anderson [caption id="attachment_970" align="aligncenter" width="550"] Turret room = win.[/caption] http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/01/2e/43/60/the-building.jpg Located just outside Inverness in Fortrose, the Anderson has picked up several culinary awards throughout Scotland. In addition to over 100 Belgian beers to choose from, the Anderson has also recently unveiled Knitting Nights, where skilled knitters or even beginners can kick back, pick up their needles, and enjoy a pint as well. 5.) The Halfway House [caption...

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16 Jul Movie Night

It’s difficult to determine what constitutes a “Scottish movie.” Is it the director? The setting? The filming location? The cast? The content? Unlike US, Bollywood, or French cinema, which each have identifiable, categorical features, Scottish movies may be a bit more difficult to categorize. But that’s where the fun begins! With a bit of artistic discretion, here are Panrimo’s top 7 Scottish movies: [caption id="attachment_897" align="aligncenter" width="1920"] I want those boots.[/caption] http://intrigue.ie/media/2014/05/216140.jpg 7.) One Day (2011) Starring Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, One Day charts the relationship between graduates from the University of Edinburgh over the course of 20 years. Illustrating the complexities of relationships and featuring dynamic characters, One Day also gives you fantastic looks of Scotland, including gorgeous views of Arthur’s Seat, Edinburgh, one of Scotland’s most iconic sights. [caption id="attachment_898" align="aligncenter" width="800"] Such hair![/caption] http://www.electricsheepmagazine.co.uk/features/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/thewickerman_lordsummerisle.jpg 6.) The Wicker Man (1974) Although you may be more familiar with the more recent iteration of this story starring Nicolas Cage (and if you aren’t, you’re in for a campy, awful treat), the original Wicker Man plays down the ridiculous special effects and puts much more emphasis on the disturbing storyline, featuring strange happenings on the island of Summerisle involving the local townspeople. Although forgotten upon its release, the film has developed a significant cult following. [caption id="attachment_899" align="aligncenter" width="448"] SO glamorous.[/caption] http://s3.amazonaws.com/criterion-production/stills/30684-574311dab91c4e32fca0378a4fff3077/Film_56_39Steps_original.jpg 5.) The 39 Steps (1935) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock and his only film to be set in Scotland, this adaption of the 1915 novel features intrigue, espionage, daring escapes, and...

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