Scotland ‘v’ Ireland

As most of you will know, I am somewhat patriotic. I am frequently seen futilely cheering on the Scottish rugby team, I took a secret pleasure in counting how many golds Scottish athletes won at the Olympics* and I was overjoyed on Monday to see British and Scottish number one Andy Murray lift the US Open Trophy. However, sadly there is one area that I must admit Scotland and Scots do not dominate, furthermore, not only do we not dominate, but we are trounced by our Celtic cousins The Irish; it is the arena of themed bars abroad.

Many of you may have read our first rule of travelling, to drink in an Irish bar whenever we saw one. Well, when we arrived in Arequipa that rule was amended once more. On picking up a tourist map my eye was immediately draw to an icon including the Scottish Rugby Union logo. It was for a Scottish run hostel and bar – The William Wallace Bar! It is not often that you see a Scottish bar outside of the UK, indeed it is hard enough to find one in London, a city with more Scots than Edinburgh, and so the rule was changed once more and a visit to The William Wallace was booked.

Tonight was that night. En route I joked that I may have a Laphroaig, my whisky of choice. I didn’t seriously expect it, but I did relish the opportunity of having a malt for the first time in months.

On arrival I knew it wasn’t to be, in fact, any thoughts of home were not to be. We walked in to a large, and empty room decorated with pictures of Real Madrid and Barcelona. The sign above the bar offered numerous spirits and beers, including ‘whiskey’, but nothing Scottish (or notably Peruvian – only Brazilian beer was on offer).

We were served by a somewhat confused, albeit friendly Peruvian barmaid who produced a lukewarm Brahma and a centuries old glass of wine (the bottle had been opened centuries ago, it was not a good vintage).

In fairness they did have a picture of Robert Burns (wearing shades) and Mel Gibson (who’s both racist and an alcoholic) on the wall. But it wasn’t enough to keep us there and we drank quickly and left.

The sad truth is that Irish Bars around the world prevail because they are known for being great craic, whereas Scottish bars are not. This bar did nothing to disprove that reputation.

We headed straight home where I poured myself a whisky and recited Auld Lang Syne.


*Scottish athletes were very successful at the London 2012 Olympics because they were part of Team GB and received funding from various UK nationwide bodies.

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