I arrived in Edinburgh cold and wet after a nevertheless brilliant ride. After a shower to stave off hypothermia, I met up with my friend Gillian near Haymarket Station, and we walked through the last gasps of the rain showers to a fine pub nearby called Au Bar for a pint.
I haven’t seen Gillian in about five years (give or take), since she moved back to Scotland from Vancouver. We caught up over pints and then set out to the Oxford pub, famously the haunt of Iain Rankin and his equally famous character DI John Rebus. The author wasn’t in attendance, which is just as well since I haven’t got round to reading any of his books yet. I’m told, by several people, that they’re excellent, so it’s something I’ll get around to correcting soon.
Gillian’s friend Gavin joined us at the Oxford. He’s an excellent fellow, quiet for an engineer, with a sharp wit. The three of us talked for the time it took to finish a couple more pints, and then we set off toward Edinburgh Castle and Old Town.
We had dinner at an excellent Nepalese place called Gurkha. Karai Lamb, rice pilau, naan and a good, light Nepalese beer. The food was fantastic and plentiful, and the service was excellent.
We walked deeper into Old Town after we’d stuffed ourselves, and wound up at The Bow, where we stumbled on Gillian’s pub quiz partner Justin. He has family back in Surrey. Small world. The four of us talked and sipped our beer until they rang for last orders. None of us had realized it was as late as that. Gavin, Gillian and I ordered a whisky each. Caol Ila is a nice, medium-peaty Islay malt, very smooth, with just enough smokiness.
The whisky helped for the walk home. To say it’s been cool in Edinburgh would be an understatement. It was almost autumnal in the walk back to the hotel. The faint glow to the south reminded me just how much further north I am than Vancouver is. Even at half twelve, as they say here, it’s not completely dark.
I woke this morning at half past six, and couldn’t get back to sleep. I got up and breakfasted in the hotel, then set out to acquaint myself more with the city and take some photographs. The architecture is beautiful in every neighbourhood I’ve walked through.
I’ve wandered around a fair bit, and wound up in a cafe on George Street, where I’m writing this. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Edinburgh today, and wish I had another week or more just to spend here. Adele and I will have to come back here someday.