Our little flat in Edinburgh along the King’s Stables road was a wonderful place to wake up in – we made some drinking chocolate (that’s what Liam is calling hot cocoa now), instant coffee (won’t miss it) and some oranges and bananas we still had left over from the castle. We headed out in search of real coffee, a more substantial breakfast for hubby, the Elephant House, Grayfriar’s, Grayfriar’s Bobby and a mail box to send a few postcards away.
(I had a dream last night that I contacted the flat owner and asked to rent the little place for the entire month of August, and little and I spent a month there with me working remotely. This is a crazy idea but I should check it into my brain’s “future crazy ideas” file for contemplation later, because it MIGHT just work out some time!)
We weren’t leaving to catch our flight until 1 so we had some time to wander around Old Town. I mentioned we were staying at the Grasslawn Market area – I hope you had a moment to click on the link and read about it. The history is fascinating! It’s at the edge of Candlemaker’s Row and the Merchant’s row, and the Cowgate is at the end. It’s names Grasslawn because there were grassy areas after Cowgate where sheep, cows and horses would graze before coming to market. The area itself is thick with old pubs, as these Inns would be where people would stay after driving the livestock in for sale. It also happens to be where – until the late 1700’s – most of the hangings took place. Many of the pub names are reflective of that time. One was particularly cool – the White Hart, celebrating 500 years this year!
We made the trek to the Elephant House, hoping to have some brekkie in the café that Rowling wrote Harry Potter in. No such luck, the line was worse than a Seattle artisanal biscuit café wait in Ballard on a Sunday morning! Instead we snapped a few shots and headed down to Grayfriar’s. Hubby and I have had a running joke about how EVERY corner you turn in Edinburgh (in old town at least) has someone busker playing bagpipes, so it feels like the whole town is set to bag pipe music. Across the street was an elderly gent playing religious tunes on the pipes, welcoming people into the church for services. I went over to record him and he stopped and invited Little to try playing! What a cool, sincere moment. Little made a little “squeak!” using ALL of his breath. We ended up popping into the very first place where we could find a Latte and I am so glad we did – the Grassmarket project served a fabulous breakfast and the best latte we have had in Europe for an excellent cause.
We finished our Grassmarket tour by grabbing our stuff and heading to a Tony Singh spot for more Indian food. The Indian food we have had in Edinburgh is hands down the best I have had anywhere. I’m sure this has to do with colonization but we will take it gladly. Hubby and I had watch a Chef Abroad BBC episode featuring Singh going to Punjabi and were excited to try his food – Indian with a Scottish produce focus. It was great.
From there, we were able to catch the tram from Princes street to the airport and catch our flight to Dublin, a quick hour hop over the water. We are tucked in tonight at the Clontarf Castle Hotel. It’s a hoot – a castle built in the 1100’s that was remodeled and used for carbaret until the late 90’s. It has the awesome old stone feel all decorated beautiful for Christmas, with wacky purple chairs and pop art. I will have to post some pictures tomorrow to try and do it justice. Our current plan for tomorrow is to do a double-decker hop on hop off tour and meet some of hubby’s friends for dinner – we will see what adventures we have!