The dungeon I’m talking about is the one in the Dalhouise Castle, an exquisite 13th century Scottish structure just 20 minutes away from Edinburg (Edinburruh, for you). The castle offers 17 historically themed bedrooms; naturally, we stayed in the William Wallace’s room, the only character from the Scottish history I'm familiar with thanks to BraveHeart. I look around for posters showcasing Mel Gibson’s face (when he was handsome…before he went crazy), all painted blue and puffed up with Hollywood-scripted nationalism, chanting, Freedom! Much to my relief, there are none. Of course. This is Scotland, the real deal.
Back at home in Florida, I sleep on a bed dressed with Bed, Bath and Beyond bargains, Martha Stewart stuff from Wal-Mart and beech sheets bought at Amazon.com. But in the Sir William Wallace’s room at the Dalhouise Castle, I get the royal treatment. I sleep in a Gothic-style canopy bed made of sturdy oak, in a medley of tweed, tartan and twill, surrounded by period furniture and history. Outside the room, from the castle battlements, there is nothing but open fields and a very cold wind that blows furiously from the River South Esk.
And what about the dungeon? Oh, that’s the private restaurant (confirmed reservation only dining). A medieval ancient barrel-vaulted dungeon where dinner by candlelight is served in gothic splendor. Not your TGI Friday’s.
Knowing that I’m wearing nylons and high heels in this very chamber of terror where more than 800 years ago people suffered and died, doesn’t leave a sour taste in my mouth. Quite the opposite. It makes the exuberantly overpriced meal taste better and the wine tingle the back of my throat in a very Scottish kind of way.