July 25

European internet woes

16  comments

edinburgh-castle.jpg
Edinburgh Castle at dusk just above our hotel.
We’re here in Edinburgh and have been for the past couple of days. But – as with this entire European trip – I’ve encountered internet access problems. Every hotel we’ve stayed in has advertised that it has wifi internet service. Problem is that half (or more) of the time the service is down or the service is only available in the lobby, which can be a real pain in the rear. In all the hotels in which we’ve stayed the internet service has cost anywhere from $18 to $30 per day.
The next time I come over here I’m going to make sure that the hotels I reserve have internet service in the room and for a reasonable fee. I didn’t know the right questions to ask this time. The last time we were here, we were in Prague, Budapest, and Vienna. The first two had great internet service in the rooms at a reasonable cost; I had a problem in Vienna, but we were in a crummy hotel, so I didn’t think much about it. We had nice hotels throughout this trip, and I’m really surprised that we’ve had so much trouble using the internet.
We leave tomorrow for the US. I don’t know that I will get all the comments that have stacked up since I last had access before I hit the rack. We’ve got to be out of here at a little before 6 AM tomorrow and it’s now about 10:30 PM. I’ll have plenty of time in the airport lounge tomorrow before the flight (and, presumably, I’ll have internet service) to catch up.
MD and I stopped for a glass of cider in a pub today called Doctors located close to the medical school. On the wall was the menu board below.
edinburgh-doctors-orders.jpg
It’s too bad more doctors don’t order similar diets for their patients (sans the beans, of course). If they did, there would be a lot less disease going around.
MD and I have eaten breakfast every day we’ve been here at a pub near our hotel where we’ve been served pretty much the same breakfast.
edinburgh-breakfast.jpg
As you can see, it’s easy to stick to a low-carb diet in Edinburgh just as it was in Italy. Here you can see our daily breakfast. Eggs, sausage, ham, mushrooms, grilled tomato, and haggis, which is the brown stuff on the right that looks in the photo kind of like a hamburger patty. We of course eschewed the bread and the nasty stuff to the left of the bread, which is the Scotch version of hashbrowns. We tried a bite, and it’s every bit as disgusting as it looks.
We’re in the air all day tomorrow. A flight on Continental to Newark, a three-hour layover, then a long flight to LAX. Once home and in the possession of reliable internet service, I should be back to my regular posting schedule in short order. I’ve read a number of pretty interesting papers on my travels that I’m eager to dissect and discuss.  And while in Munich, MD and I spent a day at Dauchau, the first Nazi concentration camp and the model for all the others.  After some time in reflection I’ll share my thoughts on this sobering experience along with some photos.


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  1. Gotta love that haggis! We’ve been to Ireland 3 times and Scotland twice before I got up the courage to try it. Loved it! Last time we were in Ireland (northeast) it was not quite so easy to stick to LC. One night the two of us got served 4 enormous servings of starch EACH (roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, rice, and rolls) PLUS they gave us a huge bowl of french fries “for the table.”
    Sheesh!
    MD and I tried haggis on our first trip to Scotland, but not until the very last day just so we could say we had it.  We, too, loved it and wished we had tried it earlier.
    And you are right, the Scotch can lay on the carbs given the opportunity.  But it’s fairly easy to stick to low-carb if you put in the effort.  Not nearly as easily as it is in Italy, though.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  2. I live in Edinburgh. If I’d known you were coming I could have recommended some good breakfast places! (and museums etc)
    That “thing” is a potato scone.
    Hi Chris–
    I need to start letting people know in advance instead of after the fact.  We could have had lunch.
    I since learned that it’s a potato or a tattie scone.  Doesn’t make it taste any better.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  3. Mike,
    I lived in Edinburgh for several years and I have to point out that the ‘tourist food’ isn’t necessarily the same as that which the locals eat. Same as any large city, really.
    Hi Scott–
    There seemed to be plenty of locals eating in the pubs we were eating in.  I do know what you mean, though.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  4. look for the gallagher’s steakhouse in terminal C in Newark… u can get a nice glass of wine and a decent steak!
    Hey mrfreddy–
    Thanks for the tip.  I’m typing these words in Terminal C in Newark.  But, Continental fed us steak on the way over from Edinburgh, and I’m sure they’re going to feed us again on the flight to LAX.  No point in overdoing it.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  5. Last summer we joined my husband at a meeting in Scotland and then traveled around a bit, later driving down in to England (York, then Cambridge, then London) to visit the in-laws. We were able to stick to LC fairly well when we were on our own. Many restaurants would sub a salad for the chips or I would just not eat them. Bangers (sausages) were always a good option or a prawn cocktail. My first two days in the Scotland, I tried haggis three different ways, each a fantastic interpretation. But I couldnt’ believe my eyes when I saw *vegetarian* haggis in the supermarket!!!! My biggest issue wasn’t so much the carbs, it was the horrible bottled salad dressings. All I could think about was all the nasty soybean oil I was consuming. Some places had oil & vinegar, but who knows what oil it was?
    When we stayed a couple nights in the home of some friends in Edinburgh it was a bit trickier as they were into low fat, low cholesterol (you know, “prudent” eating – ha!). One nght we dined out so that was easier, even though it was “Italian” (I had a piccata dish). We’re reluctant to make a big deal of our “diet” in someone else’s home, although now that I have confirmed a “medical” need to restrict carbs to control blood glucose (I flunked my 3hrGTT) I think I will be more forthright in that regard in future).
    If you are heading to London, be sure to dine at St. John Restaurant (St. John Street, right near an old meat market area). Reservations required, I’m sure. It’s real British nose-to-tail eating at its finest from chef/owner Fergus Henderson. And get the cookbook! Pork has never looked so good!
    Cheers,
    Anna
    Hi Anna–
    Thanks for the London restaurant tip – we’ll give it a try next time we’re there.
    Best–
    MRE 

  6. I love haggis!. My husband is Scottish so he was the one to introduce me to it. We have it fairly often. It does contain oatmeal, so it’s not strictly low carb.
    Another typical component of a Scottish breakfast which does not seem to appear on your plate is blood pudding. As the name describe it’s made with blood mixed with oatmeal. Well made, it can actually be quite good. Like maybe other things, the supermarket version is horrible, but if you buy it from a butcher, it can be quite tasty.
    That thing you referred to as a hash brown is called a Tatty Scone. It’s closer to a pancake than a hash brown. I agree that’s it’s not that tasty.
    Even though we live in Canada we have no problems getting Haggis. You might inquire at your butcher. We buy ours frozen, still encased in its sheep stomach (it’s just like a big sausage, don’t let that put you off.) You can bake it or steam it. I prefer baked as the steam method can make it gummy. Once it’s cooked you cut it open and spoon the content out on your plate. Delicious! It’s traditionally served with neeps and tatties (mashed turnips and potatoes), a tradition you’ll be sure to forgo.
    Hi Angelyne–
    I know haggis contains oatmeal, but I try not to think of it because it’s so good.  Plus, when we’re in haggis country we’re walking our legs off all day long sightseeing, so we can stand a few more carbs.
    And we usually eat the neeps, but ignore the tatties.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  7. Dr. Eades, welcome back!
    When you have time, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the recent Boston University finding that drinking as little as one can of diet soda per day is associated with a 48% higher risk of metabolic syndrome.
    http://snipurl.com/1osmb
    Hi John–
    I read about the study while I was in Scotland.  As soon as I get home, I’ll pull the paper and read it.  Then I can comment intelligently.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  8. Sunbeam…. as i get ready to leave El Yukon for my Beloveds arms in Vancouver i give you this tip.
    If ever in Londinium go to The Hope Tavern at Smithfield Market for the biggest eggs and bace and black pudding breccy you can experience etc
    Thanks for the tip.  I’ll put it in my book for the next trip.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  9. Hi Mike–re: the soda intake study, my understanding is that the researchers, when comparing the diet soda drinkers with the regular soda drinkers, controlled for “saturated fat and trans fat intake, dietary fiber consumption, smoking, and physical activity.” The researchers admit that “other factors” not controlled for could explain the results. My first reaction upon reading this was “it’s the carbs, stupid!”
    To borrow your phrase, “Jesus wept!”
    Hmmm.  Can’t wait to read it.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  10. Kudos to you for finding edible food in Scotland. We were there a few years ago and I was shocked to find the stereotype of bad food a reality. Really shocked. And hungry.
    As for wifi, Paris was consistent and I’ve noticed E. Europe tends to be well connected too. Perhaps change the countries on your itinerary 🙂
    And the pop study. Blech. I’m no expert, but it seems to point toward a behaviorial root cause not a physiological one. Remember all the ‘studies’ and ‘warnings’ that low cal foods weren’t a free pass to cake? People were rationalizing extra calories based on what they had ‘saved’. It seems to be the same thing.
    Also, have you seen the study that said if your friends are fat you’re likely to be fat too? Haven’t read much on it, but ummm aren’t most of us fat at this point? So, like, isn’t it kind of hard to avoid overweight friends? I dunno. I have heavy friends and friends that look like they’re starving.Not sure it has any bearing on my weight at all.
    Thus far, the thing that has had the biggest impact on my weight in the last 7.5 months was morning sickness and its constant demands for peach yoplait and nothing else. Why don’t they study that? Because I don’t even like peach yoplait yogurt!
    M
    Hi Michelle–
    As with the soft drink study, I’ve read about the study concerning the relationship between obesity and the obesity levels of one’s friends, but I haven’t read the actual study.  I’ll pull it and read it in the next couple of days.
    Congrats on the morning sickness.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  11. Dr Eades, that was a beautiful shot! Sorry about your internet woes.
    Anna, you’re so right. “It’s real British nose-to-tail eating at its finest from chef/owner Fergus Henderson. And get the cookbook! Pork has never looked so good!”
    It’s a fantastic book. It’s truly a shame that folks in the USA can not make real dishes like that anymore. St. John Restaurant is the best! I’m in the process of sourcing local organic/real meats to try the recipes myself.
    Dr. Eades, I’m also interested in your take on the Framingham Offspring study. I happen to agree with the Soda Folks, in that a diet soda is 99% water, a few flavorings, and some artificial sweetener. How could it possibly contribute to CHD? I don’t like the smell of it, and I don’t buy it. There is obviously something else going on (like the diet soda drinkers are using the diet sodas to wash down all those chips & twinkies & Big Macs).
    Granted, if those folks were coming down with cancers caused by documented Benzene exposure, then I’d cave.
    At my college job (20 YA) I couldn’t believe how many people ordered a diet soda with their half dozen donuts. Fellow students noshing on a giant NY bagel (no butter!) with a diet Coke… ahh it’s all coming back to me. Nipping on fries with the Diet Coke…
    Pul-ease!
    Hi Karen–
    Since there is so much interest on the Framingham Offspring study with the soft drinks I plan to read the paper (I just pulled it today) and lay out my thoughts on it in the next couple of days.
    Cheers–
    MRE

  12. Looks like you had a nice trip. I am going to have to make over to your blog more often. I think that it has been about 3 weeks since I last visited.Looks like You had a nice trip. I will be flying out of LAX Monday Morning, to Ohio to visit famliy.
    I wanted to let you know that I am still fasting. I fast for 20 hours and eat for four. My cycles are getting shorter and lighter. They went from 6 days to about 4-4 1/2. They are also less heavy.I would like to be able to go for 36 hours but I don’t think that I can. At the moment, I will be happy with the 20/4. I lost 8 lbs since April.
    Take Care,
    Mary
    Hi Mary–
    Glad to hear your still doing well with the fasting program.  Hope you have a great trip to Ohio.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  13. Paul B. & DementedM — undoubtedly, but why? There is something in those drinks that creates ravenous carb cravings.
    I’m convinced that it’s not just an intellectual process, ie, “I can eat dessert because I drink diet coke.”

  14. Oh man! All of the food you are showing me looks delicious, even the lardo that my husband would not touch with a ten foot pole. It looked like raw bacon. Thanks for sharing your low carb trip to lands unknown.
    Thanks,
    Mary
    My pleasure.  I’m glad you enjoyed the photos.
    MRE 

  15. Wow, it just occurred to me that, in my pre-low carb days, visiting scotland, and being amazed by the typical “Scottish breakfast”: 17 kinds of meat, including blood pudding (yuck) and a tomato half. The waitress one morning said “Youre americans?” When we replied yes, she said “Well, then, you’ll be wanting toast”, with a sort of sneer one reserves for the most distasteful things.
    Should have been a sign. If I knew then what I know now…
    Ah, yes, if we all knew then what we know now… 

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