Monday, September 30, 2019

MENU's UK Adventure 2. Days and nights in Edinburgh

A day in beautiful Edinburgh with soft weather (rain) on and off all day
It started to rain, quite hard, while we were shopping in Prince's Street, so we bought ponchos,
expecting to need them at the Tattoo that evening but, as soon as we opened one the rain stopped, never to return
- it’s called Sod’s Law
The Walter Scott monument with David Livingstone guarding it. Maybe he should give it a wash
Sir Walter Scott wearing an unaccustomed hat
The Ross Fountain below Edinburgh Castle
Lynne, whose family is part of the Ross clan, was keen to see this, as it has recently been restored
A rain washed Peace rose in the gardens
Another view of Edinburgh Castle
The graveyards at the end of the park
Reminds one slightly of Harry Potter and Hogwarts
This is the road we took to walk up to the castle and into town
If you are an Ian Rankin fan, one of the murders Rebus investigated took place near here in the NCP car park...
No climbing that sheer rock face in a hurry
Festival time, so there were many buskers
and all sorts of strange acts in the streets as part of the Fringe. You have to avoid getting tied up with them 
If you want to buy tickets to any of the Festival shows, this is where you come
During the one month festival, Edinburgh turns into a major tourist city
Lots of interesting buildings, lots of turrets
and great looking pubs
Down the bottom of this hill (and Edinburgh is built on several) is the office of the Tattoo
where you change your prepaid online voucher for real tickets. It is very near the railway station
"It's that way and NO WAY am I climbing back up these stairs...." (Before FitBit)
Greyfriars Kirk
Lynne's Great Grandfather was a minister in both Glasgow and Edinburgh
Lovely stained glass, some from the preRaphaelite movement
The tombs and catacombs
Scottish thistles are everywhere
And fat bees gathering pollen and nectar
Greyfriars Bobby, a West Highland terrier who accompanied his master's body to its grave in Greyfriars Churchyard in 1858
He guarded the grave until he died in 1872. Read the full, touching story here
There is a similar story about the Faithful Hound at Mulderbosch in Stellenbosch
His statue is in a nearby street and people think it’s good luck to touch his nose
A child touches Bobby's statue's nose for good luck
Queen Victoria Street, reputed to be the street on which J.K. Rowling based Digon Alley. There is a Harry Potter magic shop here
It twists and turns and has a few interesting shops
We were taken with The Whisky Shop which sells a huge range of whiskies, not only Scotch, and we even saw some bottles of Bain's from Wellington. They sell small bottles, decanted from these casks. Don't ask the price, good single malts are less expensive at home. A 30 year old Macallan in the shop was £3950 per bottle, but that is an extreme example. It costs less at the distillery, but that is part of a later story
Sadly, we were not offered a taste of anything
The Little Magician shop; a mecca for Harry Potter devotees
You could buy a wand, had you quite a lot of money
We were recommended this pub in the Grass Market, The Last Drop, and assumed that the name meant that you don't leave anything in your glass
and enjoyed a pint of this for John and a half of Tennent's Lager for Lynne
and then saw the real, macabre, meaning of the name
It was the site of the Gallows, where heretics, thieves and murderers spent their last moments
and had their last meal before they experienced The Last Drop
It is one of the pubs in the Grass Market, an elongated, historic square below the Castle
That evening we met up with  Fiona and Clare, two of Lynne’s old friends from London days, at Zizzi's, an Italian restaurant, and lots of catching up was done over a bottle of Sicilian white wine
with large Mozzarella, artichoke, prosciutto, rocket, pesto and olive pizzas
Lynne could not resist the crayfish risotto
Crayfish are a fresh water pest in the UK and rather small, but have good flavour
It was made with orzo, a pasta shaped like rice
It was a rather ordinary Sicilian chardonnay at £20, a bit flat
We had to finish up by 8.30 as they close at 9. North of the border, people seem to retire quite early
Lots of good chat
And as we walked home we could hear that night's Tattoo ending
And see the fireworks from outside our AirBnB
We were very sad to leave the next morning; we should have stayed longer in this beautiful city
And we won’t need an excuse to return

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