Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Five days of Festive Frolics - Part 2.

Days 3+4: Fri/Sat - Tourists in Edinburgh.

Pretty festive lights of Edinburgh Christmas! Yay!
So Wednesday and Thursday were followed by Friday and Saturday, as they generally are. Christmas visits in Glasgow was followed by touristy fun back home in Edinburgh (still feels strange calling it home).

Stu (my sexy manshape) and I were eagerly anticipating the arrival of an old uni friend we hadn't seen for years, and his new partner from Brighton. They arrived on Friday evening and a night of catching up, great food, wine and much conversation were continued. Was really great to see Adam again after so long, but it was like he'd never been gone. I love friendships like that, you can be away for years and yet it all continues from where you left off. Great!

So yeah, good food was had on Friday night - a new wee restaurant, can't remember the name but I'll find out. Found it out... it was called 'Smoke Stack' and I can 100% recommend it! Bit pricey for us just now, but it was a special occasion, and well worth the bill at the end. The steak, OH MY the steak! So tender and tasty with a delicious sauce of mushrooms and Drambuie whisky. We will definitely be going back for another occasion.

So that was Friday. Catching up and filling our tummies. The walk home was a very welcome digestion helper, we were all SO full! 

We had chosen the date of Adam and Bruno's visit (the frozen) North to coincide with the start of Edinburgh's Christmas fun and German Market. I LOVE this time of year in Edinburgh. It seems like the epitome of the festive period to me. Everyone is so happy and friendly, the air filled with so many different scents and the the place really transforms when the sun goes down and the rides, trees and buildings light up. Amazing! It makes winter seem a little less harsh and depressing, a little extra light to see us through to the longer days and warmer months.
We had a rough plan of what we wanted to do with/show the boys, but left it up to them to add a feel of spontaneity! After much tennis inspired debating, we finally settled on..... going to visit the famous Edinburgh Castle, waiting till it was dark and having a wonder around the Christmas market with the twinkly lights of all things festive!
Posing with the piper! It was deafening! But very popular.

After a nice meander up the royal mile, calling in to nice tourist shops and posing with bagpipers, we made it up to the castle. 

In time for a few 'frozen face' tourist and outfit poses. It really was cold, and very very windy! Which is rather obvious I guess by the red tinge my face seems to have.

I LOVE these new ear muffs. They are so cosy. I spotted them in a tourist shop during the summer and vowed I'd get a pair when the weather was more appropriate. I got so many compliments on them too, which was really surprising. My coo's and my hat have basically been on my head non stop since the winter began.

I may look silly, but it's all very cosy. I love that it's now become fashionable to look silly but be warm during winter. Makes much more sense than freezing and looking like something from summer. I LOVE my vintage duffel coat too - it's a gift from my Mum from years back, was actually hers, and is age 14 on the label... and still fits. It is just so cosy and really does keep the harsh winter wind out. It's large enough to layer loads underneath so its very warm. Ignore the frozen looking face. It really was very cold on any skin that was out. My wonderful, comfy, grippy wrangler purple boots are a must during the winter too. And thankfully I can walk for most of the day in them, which is a very rare thing for my feet. Complete with chunky woollen scarf and hobo gloves (that now have holes in them so I may need to sew and mend).

So, posing done, obligatory castle backdrop photos done, we headed to the entrance, only to see that the castle had been closed because of the wind! GAH! Just shows how windy it actually was! 

Getting peckish, we decided to head down the Grassmarket for a hog roast roll :-D I've never had one before, but always salivated looking in the window! If you've seen it then you'll know, but they have.... um.... interesting and relevant window displays, that changes throughout the day. But, obvious anti-vegetarian display aside, it was delicious and very cheap - small roll (which turned out to be very large and VERY filling), with fresh tender tasty pork, with stuffing and apple sauce - for only £3 I think. Will definitely be going back! 
With the tummy filled again, we were in need to a warm beverage, and called into a local coffee house for a well deserved hot chocolate, pan au chocolate and group shots (the first I've done on a self timer on my wee canon, turned out pretty well I think).
First photo taken on the self timer. Turned out quite well.
(l-r: Stu, Adam, Bruno, Me)
Warming up and delayering.
I love my new button ring. I made it all by myself. Yay! I'm going to make more and sell them, hopefully people will like them as much as I do. I've become slightly obsessed with buttons lately. Bought so many, really need to start crafting. I also really like the bright orange watch... adds a little winter colour. And it's really easy to read too.

Coat: Vintage (gift)
Hat: H&M
Ear Muffs: local tourist shop
Scarf: Edinburgh Woollen Mill
Gloves: Accessorize
Boots: Wrangler
Green Jumper: Topshop
Black Woollen Jumper: H&M
Stripy T-shirt: Primark
Button Ring: Brag Doll (diy)
Watch: ebay

Light fading, it was time to head to the Christmas market! Yay! It's so pretty! And SO busy!

Sorry for the photo dump that appears to be happening, but I really do love all the photos. Especially the next two. Really love the angles and the lights. I wish I had a better camera, I think I've got a good eye and a talent, just limited to a point and shoot just now. One day...

Oh and someone (Bruno) had the bright idea to go on the Big Wheel! Dear Lord! So windy that the castle was shut to tourists early, but not too windy to close the Big Wheel.... I had discovered a few years back that I didn't actually like Big Wheels at the best of times, too high and too swing-y... but my ticket was bought for me so I felt like I had no choice. Immediately regretted it as soon as we got on though! The boys were good at keeping me calm, singing high pitched, awful renditions of glee covers.....'I NEVER REALLY CARED UNTIL I MET YOU! HOW DO I GET YOU ALOOOOONE!' Such fun. But then the inevitable happened... it became our time to get on!
This is me... when we'd just got on... see how blurry the background is... it was WINDY! And can you see the fear in my eyes... one of the last shots of me with eyes open.

The majority of the trip was spent clinging onto Stu and Bruno's knees, with Bruno's hand over my my eyes.... pretending it wasn't really swinging that strongly in the wind, and it would be over soon. Not until we'd sat at the top for AGES to let other people on.... we we're the last on so had to wait for everyone to get off and fill up again! AH!!! I guess it means we got our moneys worth.... but it was cold and very very windy! Pretty view though when I finally opened my eyes.
The view from very many feet above the ground. Where I'd rather they had stayed...
With feet safe on firm ground, although still shaking, we headed for crepe's at the German market and a beer at a close by pub. See just how busy it was. Incredible! So difficult for a tiny person like me to struggle through, especially with limbs like jelly (no joke!).

The lights are very pretty, and make the crowds worth it, especially when you can get up a little higher and stare over their heads.

Market done and full tummy again, we decided to end the first festive tourist day with.... a GHOST WALK! YEAH! I've only done one of these before, back home in Inverness and it was great fun! They always go into so much detail about the history of the place and the 'ghosts' of people long passed. I'd been eyeing up the Edinburgh tours since we arrived in July, but since it was the Fringe and very busy we never did one, I was extra excited about finally going (and a little anxious, I'd be lying if I didn't admit I was taking in by the stories). This was the extra long double dead tour and included a trip under South Bridge into the old leaky vaults, then a trip into Greyfriers Kirkyard and the haunted Covenanter's Prison. It was really really good, and pretty creepy at times. Was truly fascinating to imagine what life was like back in ye olden days when so many people lived in the bridge vaults. I can genuinely recommend these tours to anyone living,or even just visiting Edinburgh. There are so many out there, and the prices vary, so there would be something to suit everyones budget/ 

It was a fantastic way to end the night. Was quite late by the time we came back to the land of the present. We'd been walking all day and were in need of some strong drinks to ease our paranormal fears (and poor Max hadn't been given any food for hours), so we opted for a taxi home and a few drinks with Greyfriars Bobby playing in the back ground. A childhood favourite of mine, and the Brighton Boys learnt all about him on the tour. And that was Day 4. Good times had by all! :-D  

Ah I'm so excited for Christmas! I've been so festive this year, a lot more than usual! Not sure why, think it's because I've had such a busy month so far! Everyday that passes, and every door that's opened on my advent calendar just gets me more excited! 

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