Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Long Weekend Away Diary

Not long arrived back home from a lovely long weekend in Edinburgh. I've never been before but it's an absolutely stunning city. I'm not an architect or particularly interested in architecture but the buildings and the location is gorgeous.

I woke up very early on Friday morning, hated my 4.30am alarm after going to bed gone midnight! (Had to wait up for some friends to arrive, they were stopping over pre-stag do in a nearby city.) I was a bit anxious as I was flying on my own for the first time. Craig & our friend James spent 10 days cycling from Lands End to John O'Groats and we'd made plans to meet in Edinburgh and stay there for a few days over the weekend. Unfortunately it took them 8 hours to get to Edinburgh and they arrived at 9pm, but I went for the cheapest flight and arrived at 8am! I'm not that great at being my own company in public places. I'm more than happy to stay in & read, but I can feel uncomfortable travelling on my own for such a long time with no one to talk to!

Thankfully the flight went really smoothly, I caught the bus into town and guesstimated when to get off. I'd heard that Edinburgh was made up of two distinct areas, New Town and Old Town. I walked through New Town without realising that's where I was! It was about 9am so I made a beeline for the first Costa I found and woke myself up with a coffee. They really do mean large when you order a large! It came in a bloody soup bowl!! It took me an hour to finish it, but tbh I had meant to spend the day slowly so I didn't mind.

I then wandered around New Town for a while, I tracked it on Sports Tracker and I did a nice loop around some of the streets! I should have taken a rucksack really, dragging a cabin suitcase behind me wasn't always the easiest with the slopes & people milling around. I walked pretty aimlessly then found a shopping centre and walked through that, then gradually made my way to Old Town. It's a really odd feeling to be looking down off a bridge and find that there's no water underneath you as expected, but a massive train station instead! I went and had an early lunch in Pret then lost an hour in there too. I was sat there during the minute silence for the Tunisian massacre last week which was a poignant moment.

After that I bought a ticket for the green open top bus tours and made myself comfy. I was so tired I ended up just sitting there and went round 2.5 times! The guide changed after the first so it was interesting to hear the different stories they were saying, plus I definitely remember a lot of the info now. I caught the sun really badly though, it was a gorgeous day and I just didn't twig that I might burn as I was being kept cool by the bus movement.

I could pick up the keys to the flat at 3pm so I lost another hour walking out of town and after a stressful fight with all 3 door locks that stood in my way, FINALLY got to stop, chill out and promptly fell asleep! The flat was gorgeous, really nicely decorated, lovely and bright and cosy. Craig & I took lots of photos as we've been saving snippets from different hotels or homes we've been to for inspiration for when we hope to move next year. The guys finally arrived at 9.45pm and we crashed out with a takeaway pizza.

Had a lovely lie in, the sofas were really comfy and the three of us were pretty tired. Having cycled 1,000 miles the guys had far more justified reasons for being tired than me though!! We wandered into Old Town and I got to play at being their tour guide thanks to the 2.5 hours spent on the tour bus. We had lunch at Mum's which was really nice. I had two pork & leek sausages with cheese & onion mash, plus caramelised onion gravy - lush! After that we walked around and ended up calling into Mary's Milk Bar for some excellent ice cream. After a couple of pints in random pubs we went to Camera Obscura which was great fun and a brilliant recommendation from several friends!

Despite lots of photo opportunities I completely failed to take any of my new top! I hurriedly sewed the Aurora tank top from my subscription to the Seamwork magazine on Thursday. I wanted to have something to surprise Craig with, plus I'm starting to feel that I need to fill my days off with sewing or else I don't have anything to show for them! I guess I'll have to post about it another time, but I'll just say that it's probably the best fit I've achieved so far - and the first ever knit project I've sewn! WOoohooo!

After another drink we started walking back to the flat. Despite being advertised as close to the city centre it was a full 45 minute walk and I didn't feel that confident navigating the bus routes. Maybe next time? It was good to walk off some of the food though, except that we found a random chinese hot pot restaurant and ended up going in for some lovely food. Then we headed home and watched some bad movies on the TV.

Sunday was an awesome day because we didn't do anything and it felt great! We raided the local corner shop and Craig made a fantastic, although incredibly garlic heavy spaghetti bolognese. He makes a great version, but this one had an entire bulb of garlic in it plus another bulb of garlic in the homemade garlic bread. Bloody hell, I think I finally felt like my taste buds had reset on Monday evening despite lots of tooth brushing! Probably kinder to the general population that we didn't leave the house on Sunday!

After a nice breakfast James went to meet up with some friends so Craig and I walked back into town to the New Town part. We had a nice afternoon wandering around the streets (I got to be a tour guide again), had a couple of pints in different places and had a really nice meal in a random pub. I opted for balmoral chicken which was chicken breast topped with a large slice of haggis, served with veg and a whiskey cream sauce. Craig had a double decker burger where the second 'burger' was an equally large slice of haggis!

I then dragged him to a bar I'd seen recommended on Buzzfeed & Trip Advisor - Panda & Sons. It's a themed cocktail bar, made up as a 1920s speakeasy and it's awesome! I won't spoil the surprise on where it is or how to get in, because Craig definitely had more fun and confusion being completely in the dark about the place! Craig had an Emperor's New Clothes and a Rum Dappler which were both really nice, especially the rum dappler which is simply rum and a blitzed whole apple and really refreshing. I went for a cocktail which isn't on the current online menu but was really nice and contained rum, sherry and agave syrup, plus a Trolley Trampage which was served with the spirits in a tin can & the fruity mixer in a small bottle served in a mini trolley!

Today has been spent getting up at 4.45am, stressing over buses and flying home. I think the 3 of us had a really good time in Edinburgh and we've been talking about renting the flat again for another long weekend in April or so, as we definitely have a lot more sightseeing to do! I'd love to see the castle, the 1617 house, have something to eat in the Elephant House and visit the museum next time!

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