A Weekend in Edinburgh

Edinburgh SignThis week has gone by so fast that I haven’t had a chance to write about my last weekend that was spent in Edinburgh. Although I had been briefly there before on my last trip to Scotland, we didn’t do any sight seeing, so this trip was going to resolve that. I flew via BMI and ended up with a very early flight out of Heathrow on Saturday with a very late return on Sunday. Although it meant catching one of the earliest tubes along with all the people heading home from places like Turnmills and Fabric, it also meant a full day of walking around by the time I got there.

Porridge at the farmers marketEdinburgh’s airport is not very far from the centre of the city, and many buses constantly move between the two places for a very reasonable £5. It took no time for me to get into the city and start to orient myself as I made way to the famous Edinburgh Castle. Along the way I found out that on Saturday’s they hold a farmer’s market well worth visiting. Fresh local produce, lots of meat and seafood and surprisingly, a stall that only sold porridge in a dozen or more flavours. It was a nice change for breakfast and made much more appropriate since it Edinburgh was cold and had very windy conditions.

My touring around Edinburgh started off around the famous Royal Mile that runs through the heart of the old city in Edinburgh. At one end is Edinburgh Castle that sits a top a formidable lookout, offering a great view of the surrounding area as well as playing host to the Scottish Crown Jewels and Sceptre. Lots of other attractions line the Royal Mile and are admittedly a little bit too touristy for me. At the other end of the Royal Mile is the Queen’s Gallery, Holyrood Palace and the Scottish House of Parliament. I didn’t go inside the gallery but people who enjoy David Attenborough should go see his exhibition there that looked quite interesting.

Overlooking all of these attractions at the other end of the mile is Arthur’s Seat – a mountainous lookout that looks back up towards the castle and is worth the walk. I followed a bunch of people who decided to go straight up, and had quite the struggle at times to make progress due to the violent winds. Between the lush grass that covers this mountain, you can see the trails worn from both the hikers and bikers who make it up and down the mountain.

The Grain Store
Eating well in Edinburgh is not hard to do given the fresh produce available to them. I ate at two places I can highly recommend. One of them, The Grain Store serves quality Scottish fare and do a two or three course menu at reasonable prices. My meal started with a thick Jerusalem Artichoke soup drizzled with a little thyme-infused oil and served with fresh crusty bread and butter. It continued with pan seared pork belly, curly kale and wholegrain mustard that smelled deliciously sweet and had a good balance of saltiness with it. The decadent meal finished off with a very thin slice of an espresso and chocolate tart with espresso sabayon rich enough to finish off the meal but not heavy enough to send you to sleep.

The other great restaruant sits in the middle of the pedestrain-friendly Rose Street – The Mussel Inn who also have an outlet in Glasgow. Other than having a fully booked out restaurant at night, the friendly place run by an Australian maitre de, offers a wide variety of seafood. My guide book recommended the 1kg of mussels and with the five or six different flavours how could I resist.

Edinburgh’s a great place to visit and offers enough to do for the weekend for a relaxing weekend visit. Weather turns very quickly and with plenty of rain, it doesn’t hurt for the visitor to bring their umbrella. The rest of the pictures from my weekend are available here.

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