Sunday, September 9, 2012

Day 1 - Edinburgh

Sleep was ok, I managed to not get woken up by any rowdy folk outside. There was a man screaming at someone on his cell phone before we went to bed, though.

Geoff the apartment guy said he’d be texting me when the boiler fixer will be coming over, anywhere between 8-1pm. We weren’t forced to stick around but we did want to shower before heading out.

The guy came at 10am or so which was fine with us, he fixed the thing, Geoff entertained us and we started our day.

First stop was breakfast. I read that there were several known breakfast/brunch spots on Broughton Street so we headed there. We ended up at a place called the Olive Branch. It’s a small restaurant on a corner. It was full but not crowded. The menu had late breakfast/brunch as well as lunch/dinner options. It was funny that one of the items on the menu was mentioned to help a hangover. I got eggs Benedict (which I never ever get at home) and Jamie got a big Scottish breakfast. It included eggs, bacon, haggis, black pudding, mushrooms, beans and potato scones. The girl who served us said it was a good choice and told us about how hungover she was. Do people like drinking here or something? I also got a cappuccino, it was geewwwd.

Nice treat.

The architecture is pretty around here, only it seems a little darker and drab than France, but that also has to do with the grey skies I think. Not that I need to compare everything to Paris and France but we were just there, so…. Also, you should know that if you go to Paris as your first European vacation, other cities never seem to measure up on the pretty scale. So maybe keep that as a last stop. :)

Round the naybe.

Street art. Not nearly as much as in Berlin though.

That's a pink-ass door.

After breakfast we wandered a bit and ended up on Calton Hill. I keep calling it Carlton Hill because that’s what I thought it was called. If you walk to it’s highest point you get a fantastic view of Edinburgh, all the way out to the water and the mountains beyond that. Very nice.

Gret views.


That's the 170 step tower we went up. Doesn't look very tall here does it?

That is big in real life I swear.

Arthur's seat. Formed by an ancient volcano. Google it.

More views.

We climbed up 170 steps of the Nelson Monument and got even better views. But I’m not a fan of climbing narrow spiral stone staircases, especially when it’s a two-way corridor. People coming down while we’re going up is a bit freaky and dangerous since the steps taper towards the middle of the cylinder. It was really windy up there and not much room to go out the skinny door at the top. But again, lovely views. Going down was much easier, but I was glad I got some good exercise.

There's that thing from the tower. Sometimes I just don't feel like reading the plaques that explain these magnificent pieces of history. If they were one or two sentences I would though. 
People are screaming outside right now. It's 5:54pm.

Hobo cat. This was actually behind an iron gate/door which you can't see. There is a dead half eaten mouse towards the lower right and an empty booze bottle behind. Hobo cat had a good night and he didn't even bother looking up at me when I tried getting his attention. Still drunk probably.

Ah, me and this European Robin had a nice little chat. He let us get really close and chirped away at us. I took a video. So cute.

While we were up there we saw a street that was full of people. Turned out it was Prince’s Street, a popular shopping area kind of like Yonge Street in Toronto I guess. YES I went into the big Top Shop and bought some pantsX2.

In a courtyard area near the Art Gallery was a guy playing the bagpipes. I can only take so much of that though. I prefer the sound of it among other instruments and maybe on a stereo that I can turn off when I feel like it. He was dressed in a kilt and all that jazz and people were going up taking photos beside him. He ignored everyone. I am a fan of kilts. The entire getup, really.

Ignoring bagpipe player.

Ice creams. Didn't get any.

We stopped for a pint at a nice pub and sat outside before continuing on to a street that was supposed to have a bunch of vintage stores. It had one thrift shop and it seemed like we were heading towards mmm let's call it a 'Parkdale-esque' neighbourhood.

I accidentally got a strong beer. Is that what "Ice" means on the tap handle? I thought it meant ICY COLD.

We had done a lot of walking, my legs were tired and all I could think about was napping. We headed back to the flat and snoozed for a good two hours. It was needed and I had nightmares about big chunky spiders. You know when you're having bad dreams and you're sort of in between sleep but paralyzed and making sounds? That.

After the snooze we doddled around here and decided we’d get some fish n chips for dinner. “The best” in Edinburgh, it was back in Parkdale at a restaurant called The Tailend. Not The Thailand.

It was a cute restaurant, not busy at all. When the waitress took our order she couldn’t understand us and kept asking us to repeat ourselves. She was kind of cracking up about it and asked us where we were from. It’s funny being on the other side of the not understanding English but speaking English stick. I think she and her other waitress friend were amused by us.

mm hm, yes.

My appetizer. I forget what it was called. It was an area in the UK that started with an "A". Basically a smoked fish in some white stuff with herbs and a salad with oatcakes aka oat crackers.

Jamie's smoked salmon.

The fish was great, nice and fresh. It was about 10 by the time we were done, I was stuffed and had no interest in staying out so we grabbed some groceries and headed back for the night. I can’t handle big ass breakfasts every day, I need to cook my own eggs sometimes.

It was a nice first day in Edinburgh, the weather was great and we got a good amount of exercise and feel for our neighbourhood. We still have lots to see and do but we definitely want to take it easy the next few days. Sunday we will visit some vintage stores, check out the Royal Mile and walk about Edinburgh Castle.

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