Monday, 10 January 2011

A grand day out

Ok, it's taken me a week to write this.  I don't know where the last week has gone.

On 2nd January The Boy and I were sitting having a nice, relaxed New Year drink with our best man, Stevo. As everyone was on holiday on Monday 3rd Jan and public transport looked like it would be running we decided to have a day out in Edinburgh.  The plan was that Stevo would arrive at our house around 11 so that we could catch the 11:30 train.

3rd Jan 2011
11:00 - my bath was run and I was just about to get into it when the door bell rang.  Stevo, who we expected to be late due to a hangover, was on the door step.  The Boy was still in bed.  Oops.  Total misjudgement there.

12:00 - we were on our way to the station where we caught the 12:17 train.  The train wasn't too busy so we had a pleasant journey to Edinburgh Waverley.

Stevo had already googled what's on in Edinburgh while he waited for The Boy to get ready so when we got off the train we walked along Princes Street to the National Galleries of Scotland on The Mound which was featuring an exhibition called The Young Vermeer.  Sadly, there were only 6 pictures in the exhibition but he didn't actually paint very many in his life time.  On the plus side, entry was free and there were plenty of other things to look at.  It was also indoors and warm :o)

Next, we took a stroll through the Christmas fair taking place in Princes Street gardens:
We sampled some mulled wine with brandy which was disappointingly luke warm and wasn't the best I've tasted.  We were going to go on the ferris wheel but in the end we climbed the Scott Monument which was cheaper and afforded much better views than the ferris wheel as it is higher.  The tall, pointed structure behind the ferris wheel in the photo is the Scott Monument.  Unfortunately the 287 steps almost killed Stevo, who has been a stranger to exercise for a while, so he stopped on the 3rd level and waited for us.  The Boy and I went all the way to the top where it was cool, crisp and we could see for miles.  The Boy had never climbed the monument before so that's another piece of Scottish heritage ticked off his list.

There was a bit of discussion about what to do next but in the end we walked out of the gardens and down past Waverley Station to the Edinburgh Dungeon, another tick off The Boy's list.  It was a bit on the expensive side to get in but we enjoyed the experience.  It's all very dark and spooky inside and there are some scary scenarios that you have to walk through after watching actors play out the history behind them. There are also a couple of rides.  I won't spoilt it by giving any more detail than that in case anyone is planning to go there.

By now it was getting on for tea time so we headed off to George Street to our favourite haunt, the Hard Rock Cafe.  We had a lovely meal there and naturally couldn't resist the cocktails.  The boys had New York Strip Steaks and I had Shrimp Linguine.  Stevo had the hugest chocolate dessert while The Boy and I stuck to more modest sweets.  The fact that they'd moved the toilets caused a fair bit of confusion and was a souce of amusement to us as we had an excellent view of confused regulars trying to find them in their new location.  Of course we had to stop by the shop on the way out and I bought myself a t-shirt with my Hard Rock points:

That's not me wearing it by the way, it's a photo from their web site. :o)  The photo doesn't show up the spangly bits.  There are no baggy bits when I wear my one.

We moved from Hard Rock to the Guildford Arms for a last drink as it's near Waverley station.  I think we had 3 or 4 last drinks before we finally went to catch the train.  The Boy likes the real ales they serve and I like the decor and the old fashioned feel of the place.

And finally, we managed to catch the train home just before 9pm.  That's become a challenge now that the line has been extended all the way to Glasgow, the challenge being to stay awake and alert so that you get off at the right station.  Until December 2010 our station was at the end of the line.  Now you could end up  in Helensburgh if you fall asleep.

Of course we were starting to get hungry again by the time we got off the train so we stopped at a new Chinese takeaway that had just opened and took our spoils home to eat them.  It wasn't a great meal.  Must try harder I think.  I don't think it's ever a good idea to stop for food on the way home after being out on the drink.  Nonetheless we all agreed we had a grand day out and we shouldn't wait so long to do it again.