Thursday, 8 December 2011

Five days of Festive Frolics - Part 3.

Day 5: Touristy Edinburgh Continues.

FREEEEEEEDOM! Not much worry of it melting in this weather.
So, after our busy Saturday day and evening, and a long deep mildly drunk sleep, we headed back out to embrace a less windy, cloudlessly beautiful but cold, Sunday! The last day of the Brighton Boys staying. We had a lovely brunch/lunch at a famous pub on the Mile called The World's End. Again, I highly recommend a visit if you get the chance. Friendly staff, lovely food at reasonable prices, all in a snug pub like atmosphere, looking out onto tourists walking by. Very good! 

Post lunch walks led to a second and more successful visit to the Castle. Yay, we got in! There were incredible ice sculptures outside on the ramparts, and found the guy above, backlit by a low sun, and wonderful picturesque views of a crisp winter city-scape.
It was still so busy, even for the middle of winter! Just goes to show that Edinburgh really is an all year round city that tourists love - especially ones from further afield.
View from the Castle walls of the City Skyline, facing North. Really high up, you can see the Kingdom of Fife over the water.

The boys posing in front of the epic view. I think this one makes Adam look a bit like a puppet. Either that or Bruno is trying to grab his neck and throw him over the side. It makes me smile either way. It kind of sums Adam up - silly poses and always chirpy. He's good for cheering you up when you're down.

 A few compulsory cannon shots before heading further into the Castle. It was very, very cold to sit on, and surprisingly difficult to get up on to. Wearing my trusty duffel coat again and Wrangler boots. Different layers underneath though. We were asked to do a group photo of the 4 of us shortly after this, but the Castle Photographer. It was going to be really good, and I wanted to splash out and buy a copy as a memento of the wonderful weekend, but when we went to look and buy at the end of the day, it had got lost in the system somewhere. Totally gutted. The photographer was lovely though, and she really loved my jumper. Her gran was knitting one for her for Christmas, of a dinosaur! AMAZING!

Low sun hitting more of the Castle walls, the Foog's Gate apparently. So low, even though it was barely passed midday.

One of the many huge cannons pointing out from the castle. They were busy setting up fireworks close to these cannons, so I wonder if that's where they set them off for New Year. I always thought it was on the side of the hill (volcano) that the Castle was built on. Learn something new...

 Looking through the cannon holes into the Esplanade below. During the summer they deck the whole thing out in rows of chairs, a bit like football stands, for the military tattoo that runs. It's on my 'to-do' list so one of these years I'll get to it. Tickets sell out years in advance though. Look at the tiny people below. That's where we took the photos the day before, and where the ice sculptures are.

Time for a few outfit poses outside the Military History Museum.  It was really clear and really cold that day so I opted for the 'many layers' look, with the snowmen on top. I love this Primark snowman jumper. I received so many strange looks from spect, but I really like it. It makes me feel so festive wearing it. And totally hides the fact that I've got about 5 layers underneath. My face has the rosy glow of the cold again. I seem to specialise in that this year. But I was really cosy.

Can't really see it, but I've got on my lovely Penny Farthing necklace that I got from Hannah Make's Things earlier in the year. She has some really lovely things, and very good prices. I've bought quite a lot from her. I'll show more of her things, and my things later on.

The rediculously long queue to see the crown jewels.
I'd like to say we didn't join it, but we did.

More walking around the castle and in and out the amazing buildings, to the Royal Palace where the Crown Jewels are kept, along with our precious Stone of Destiny. The queue was so long, and slow moving, but the lead up to the jewels was really interesting and all about our history and importance of the Stone of Destiny - things every Scot should know. The building behind the queue is the memorial for all the soldiers lost in various wars. It was really quite emotional in there. People had come to pay respects to the dead, family, friends all lost whilst fighting for their country. There were walls and plaques dedicated to every war fought, regardless of length or size, with lists of soldier's names that people could pay respect to. So many wars that I had never heard of. It got quite busy, and quite noisy, and suddenly the guard shouted for quiet and told people to either show respect or get out and that it wasn't part of the Castle Museum, it was a genuine place of mourning that people paid to get into pay respects. I was really moved by the guard saying that. I dare say it was his job, but it must have taken a lot of courage to speak up like that and call for silence - reminded me of being in class and doing the same when my children got too loud.
Low winter sun reflections.
Onwards and further into the Castle Ramparts, into the Great Hall. Incredible wood lined walls, decorated with coats of arms and swords - took me a while to realise just what they were, but it was very impressive. But the thing that moved me the most was the perfect timing of us being in the room - look how the light hits the stained glass and bounces it off the wall. It's so beautiful! And we could so easily have missed it, or just not noticed it. Would have been nice to get there a little earlier to see all 6 panels shown instead of the 3. But still, beautiful!

Last few outfit poses before heading back down and for something to warm us up! I really do love this jumper, it's just so over the top! I may need to locate some additional 'Ugly Christmas' jumpers. Love them! And it really does hide the layers, just makes me look a little more chubby than I really am. Adam is singing the 'song of the weekend' - Glee sing 'Alone' - he really does know how make you laugh! Was such fun walking around the city singing it (well, the few words we knew) so loud... we have no shame when we are together... alcohol just enhances this! Yay!
Last photo of the city view - higher than the previous panorama photo. Really makes you realise how high the castle is. Spot Bruno and Adam at the bottom, ready to leave for somewhere warm - poor wee English boys, they just don't understand cold till they visit, and their wardrobe just isn't suitable! But it does give a good reason to drink excessive amounts of hot chocolate.

Ridiculously large flaming cocktail -
very gin filled, very strong! 
So on to dinner, and cocktails at The Villager on George iv bridge. First time in there and it was very good. We only sat down to get a first drink, then realised we were hungry, moved to a proper table and didn't leave for hours after! I can recommend the Penne Pasta with Pesto and Pinenuts (lots of P's). Check out their toilets if you go too, not really one to talk about such things, but they were very comfortable and decorated really nicely - and were playing radio plays over speakers, I wanted to linger just to hear more. There were big chairs and mirrors so obviously people tend to do so - I'll take a picture of just how amazing a loo it is next time.

Cocktails are very nice too - and they certainly don't skimp on the booze content. It was nice to be in the warmth again, and have a little healthier complexion. 

And so the wonderful weekend came to an end. But it was busy and very fun filled. Here's to the rest of December being just as busy! Off to Glasgow again this weekend to see my lovely Sarah again! I'm being banished from the City so Stu can buy my presents without the risk of me seeing where they are from - romantic - he's even paying for my train ticket. Yay!

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