04 December 2014

Edinburgh Part 2

The grey and rain continued throughout our trip but we did not let it stop us! In fact a rainy Friday was the perfect time to visit Holyrood, palace to Mary Queen of Scots and resident to the royal family when they visit Edinburgh.

Due to a combination of the weather and our combined injuries (L having hurt her knee in London and I did who knows what to my back one night in Edinburgh) we didn't wander too far afield in Edinburgh. However for me at least, this being my first visit, it seemed that there was something new to see each time we walked what quickly became familiar streets; everything from public execution sites to the Elephant House Cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. Which actually made me think...why set everything in England with a British rather than Scottish main character? We also stumbled on the Greyfriars Bobby statue of the Skye Terrier that guarded his master's grave for 14 years before he too died. Rubbing his nose is supposed to bring good luck (which seems odd given why he's famous) but we'd heard that locals don't appreciate it as all the rubbing rubs off the coating protecting the metal.

Plaque commemorating the last public execution in Edinburgh


Of course we climbed Calton Hill for the monuments and the fabulous views of the city.Many of which I rendered into black and white. The city, with the combination of the overcast day and the, the oldness of the city which you can feel in your very bones, seemed to want to be photographed in black and white.

Edinburgh is so quite. From Calton Hill of course it is as we were slightly removed from the hustle and bustle but still, it's almost peaceful; even on the bustling Princes Street. I know we were there off season and I imagine it teems with tourists in the summer...but there are less than 600,000 people living in Edinburgh. Less than 600,000. I think that many people live in my neighborhood of Istanbul. It's like having the best of both city and country worlds. I need to move here...

Most people probably don't rave about food in Scotland...or anywhere in the UK for that matter. But I am deprived in Turkey. It's not that Turkish food isn't good because it is (and the scale agrees) but outside of Turkish and pizza, there's not a lot of international flavor happening here. Before coming to Scotland I spent a few days with friends in London and we stopped in a Marks & Spencer for dinner one night. Marks & Spencer carries microwavable Indian meals; three for 10 GBP. And they're good. They're more than good actually. There is Indian food in Istanbul but it's usually massively over priced and less than mediocre in flavor. It hurt my feelings deeply to know that I don't have access to inexpensive, tasty, microwavable Indian food. I also had Indian in Edinburgh-if you visit I highly recommend Gurkha Cafe located on a side street off the Royal Mile. The butter chicken was amazing. While I got naan with it I gave up and just started spooning up the sauce like soup. It was a tad undignified but I was in butter chicken heaven and couldn't have cared less.

Even more difficult to find in Turkey is Tex-Mex. So Viva Mexico (located right next door to Gurkha Cafe) was a God-send. Dangerous margaritas, chorizo fondue, roast pork enchiladas con salsa verde...and then to finish it all off a generous slice of rich, luscious chili chocolate cheesecake. When we finally rolled ourselves out of there I was a happy girl. Speaking of cheesecake...the World's End pub is well worth a visit for its cheesecake alone. Our first night in Edinburgh we decided to go in for a drink solely because of the name. Who doesn't love a Simon Pegg movie? Topped with chocolate ganache an resting on a sea of caramel with cream and ice cream on the side this bad boy was a dangerous lure that brought us back to the World's End two more times.

Sir Walter Scott monument

My love affair with Edinburgh continues next with its cemeteries! I do love a cemetery.

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