Saturday, June 17, 2023

City Break - Edinburgh

Edinburgh, Scotland. Friday/Sunday 16/18-June-2023.

This was a bonus city break, prompted by the need to pop back to the UK for a couple of appointments. We had flights booked to Bordeaux for a yoga and wild swimming retreat and then decided to precede it with this trip back to the UK. As we thought the airline (not renowned for their flexibility) would likely not agree to changing our flights into a triangular trip we ended up flying to Bordeaux, staying one night and then flying on to Edinburgh.

Despite passing through Edinburgh, we went back there again halfway through our week in the UK to do this city break. This was mainly in aid of parkrun synchronisation: last August Mary did Holyrood parkrun while I was laid up in bed recovering from Covid. We had tickets to see Ian McKellen and a non-refundable hotel booking so Mary went on her own and did Holyrood the following morning. 

This visit, on Friday night, we dined again at the excellent 56 North with their extensive gin menu. The only downside of this place is the time it takes to choose the gin.

The good weather allowed a sprawl out into the streets, continental style. The menu was shorter than we were used to (because of the increased covers) but was still good.

Parkrun in Scotland starts at 9:30 instead of 9:00 unlike England, Wales and the rest of Europe. As she had already done the course and knew about the elevation profile, Mary offered to be a volunteer. We were joined by her sister Sandra who is also now into parkrun tourism. We were early enough that I was able to help set up the finish funnel and get a volunteer credit as well as running.

Mary sporting yet another new pair of colourful Tikiboo leggings. She chose them to match the volunteers’ orange hi-viz forgetting that Marshalls get pink ones!

In the afternoon, we booked a guided Old Town and Underground Historical Tour. Very interesting to see the underground streets of old Edinburgh; guide Alistair was both very informative and amusing.

An evening of curry and beer in the southside of Edinburgh. First a long overdue curry - they are just not available in Puglia! Nearby Solti was a good choice, Nepalese, aromatic & tasty. 

Then a short pub crawl (two pubs) just away from the main streets in the area. First was Steel Coulson Southside, apparently a new pub, interesting range of craft beers to try. 

Then a real gem of Victoriana, Leslies Bar. Good beers and stunning interiors, friendly staff and locals. we sat in the spit 'n' sawdust side with wooden floors for workers. The carved gantry behind the barman used to hold whisky casks and stills hold an original Bryson clock (renowned Edinburgh clock maker 1808 - 1852).

The other side was where the toff's went and had their drinks served through hatches in the bar. 

Our accommodation was comfortable enough but not matching the room description which included “views over the back garden”.

This was the view out of our window! There were no staff so we couldn’t request a change.

Sunday, it was back to Penrith for business as usual until the following Tuesday when we caught the train up to Edinburgh and flew back down to Bordeaux to pick up where we left off.

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