Thursday, 19 November 2009

What I Did On My Holidays - Edinburgh

My first visit to Edinburgh and indeed Scotland. Had annual leave that needed using up by the year’s end, friends to visit, and I found some cheap flights. It was all systems go. Edinburgh has amazing links from the airport to the city centre. A 24 hour service that operates on a ‘bus every 10 minutes’ time scale for most of the day. This was flabbergasting, especially after having experienced Cardiff’s town to airport links (one bus an hour if you’re lucky, or a train an hour plus shuttle bus from train platform to airport). Met my friend and he took me to a nice pub called Cloisters. We had this really nice beer called Munich Red which is brewed by the West brewery – they brew all their beers to the German Beer Purity standard. It came in a thick glass with a handle. We had other beers as well, but that was the one I remember.

On Friday I had most of the day to myself, so I mainly wandered. Felt a bit self conscious at my constant A-Z referring but once I’d taken a couple of wrong turns it stopped bothering me so much. The architecture of the city is amazing! I spent most of my walk looking skywards at the buildings. Do a Google Streetview on random streets in Edinburgh and you’ll see what I mean. I had a look at the Scottish Parliament, which I didn’t think was as nice a building as the National Assembly for Wales’ Senedd building, and I stopped in at their National Museum but none of the exhibitions really appealed to me (just had a coffee in the café instead). Then I headed over to the National Portrait Gallery which was good. Lots of Titian’s and other famous types, lots of pictures of Jesus. There was a small room of Impressionist stuff which I really liked. I love how vivid they were, and the way they used the paint in a textural way. There was another room with pictures of Britain in, including one of the old West Gate at Cardiff, but it was drawn a good few hundred years ago so I didn’t really recognise specifically where it was. Then I met up with my friends and we had really nice beer and burgers at a smartish pub called 9A Hollyrood (or maybe Hollyrood 9A), and then we went to watch Japandroids. There was 1 good local-ish support band, whose name I’ve forgotten. Bronto Skyway maybe? They were good. Then after the bands we stayed at the clubnight for long enough to decide it wasn’t great, so we went home and watched Pet Cemetery instead.

On Saturday we lazed about a bit, and then my friends showed me around the city a bit. We went to a farmers market, tasted some nice stuff, and we walked up the hill to see the castle. We had tasty soup in a nice bistro-ish place (but I had to pick the courgettes out). After tea we headed back into town for a Ghost Tour of some of the underground bits of the city (via Starbucks, not usually a fan but those Gingerbread Lattes are well nice). It was quite interesting historically, all these old tunnels where people actually lived. The guide talked about how haunted they were and the bad things that had happened to people who’d gone on the tour. At one point we had to stand in the pitch black for 15 seconds, then some THING ran out going “AAAARGH!!!!!!!” at us (it was a man). After the tour an American lady claimed something stroked her thigh (she wishes!). It was good fun, despite some ‘too cool for school’ types trying to spoil it with their giggling and turning mobile phone lights on. Then we had a few pints in a cinema’s bar and talked about how ace the Coen Brothers are.

Sunday! We went to this little art gallery and looked at some stuff that was all based around pencil drawings. Some of them were dead good. Then we wandered into the ‘Newtown’ bit which is well posh, and had 3 different but tasty ales in a nice pub. Then we went back to the flat and made veggie toad-in-the-hole with various roast veggies and my onion gravy. In the evening we saw The Men Who Stare At Goats in the same cinema we’d been to the day before. You can take a beer into a film with you, which is nice.

Didn’t really have much time on Monday, so I just headed straight to the airport for the journey home.

Good times.

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