Edinburgh Journals

Searching for Braveheart

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A September 2005 trip to Edinburgh by Tavia

SCOTTISH NATL GALLERY OF MODERN ART Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland More Photos
Quote: I spent four days in Edinburgh with my mom, in search of the essence of Scotland.

Searching for Braveheart

Overview

SCOTTISH NATL' GALLERY OF MODERN ART Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland
Quote:
All I ever want to do when I visit a new city is approximate the experience of the locals as much as possible. Alas, this was not to be with Mom in tow, who proudly proclaims that all she ever wants to do when she visits a new city is hit all the spots in the guidebooks. Nevertheless, I was able to taste some fine scotch whiskeys, linger in dusty corners of a couple of medieval castles, jog along the Water of Leith, and down a few pints in the local pubs, all in the hopes of touching the intangible answer to the question: what would my life be like if I lived in Edinburgh?Quick Tips: Do not hesitate to ask the locals for help: my mom and I were looking for a particular shop, and the guy we as...Read More

The Edinburgh Residence

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Hotel

Quote:
Apparently, not only is the Residence a homey and luxurious city hotel, but it also sells its availability as timeshares. My mother and I are lucky enough to have a friend with four nights of his timeshare left who gamely offered them to us. We had a room with one queen bed, a sitting area (couch, coffee table & TV) at the foot of the bed, and a round dinette tucked in the window alcove. This dinette area was a charming & cozy place to sit and read the paper while watching folks walk by the bay windows. The bathroom had to have been half as large as the living area itself - that is, it was enormous, and had a deep tub perfect for soaking, a towel-warming rack, and plently of shelve...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 28, 2005

The Edinburgh Residence
7 Rothsay Terrace
Edinburgh, Scotland
44-131-226-3380

Mussel Inn

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Restaurant

Quote:
A lovely restaurant with sidewalk seating off George Street and Princes Street, my mom and I had our best lunch here of the whole trip. We sat at a table outside and enjoyed the September sun as buskers played merrily from across the street.The endearing (but not chatty) waitress bustled out with our appetizer--breaded goat cheese fried to tasty perfection--and then quickly followed with a steaming pot of mussels in a fragrant broth of shallots and cream. My mom and I devoured them as quickly as we could without seeming piggy; they were that good.Obviously, from the name of the joint, we ordered the house specialty and got it right. Also on offer was a menu of other...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on November 28, 2005

Mussel Inn
61-65 Rose St.
Edinburgh, Scotland EH2 2NH
0131 225 5979

La P'tite Folie

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Restaurant

Quote:
This restaurant was a nice walk from where we were staying (The Edinburgh Residence) and is situated in a darling Tudor House. You walk in, and the ground floor is a charming wine bar - it really does evoke France - where I would have wanted to return one afternoon to sit and sip wine and taste cheese if we'd had the time.The dining room is on the second floor, furnished in dark wood with tables pushed against the walls beneath windows that afford a lovely view of the Leith River and the neighborhood.The proprietors, the chef and the wait staff are all French, which certainly adds an authentic touch. I had for dinner the roasted venison, which was cooked until it wa...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on November 30, 2005

La P'tite Folie
Tudor House, 9 Randolph Place
Edinburgh, Scotland
131 225 8678

Living Room

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Restaurant | "The Living Room"

Quote:
My mom and I walked by this restaurant when we were shopping on the chic George Street and it instantly appealed to me. The back dining room is done in all oak panelling, with shiny oak tables, which is a little pub-like. But the front room with the bar is a bit shinier, a bit more glamorous, just right for toasting a night out on George Street. It was just what I, a 30-something city girl, was looking for. So, we went in for dinner (an early one--we were seated by 5pm) and I was instantly convinced, while my mom was dubious. This bore itself out throughout the meal, as it seems the restaurant is designed more for 20- and 30-somethings who are looking for a place to sip cocktails and peruse the rest o...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 26, 2005

Living Room
111a-115 George Street
Edinburgh, Scotland
+44 (0)131 226 0880

Gallery Cafe

Restaurant

Quote:
This cafe is located in the basement of the Scottish Nat'l Gallery of Modern Art, and I have to say, it's as good as any museum cafe I've been in, and possibly the most pleasant!It is brightly lit with a view of the gardens: floor-to-ceiling windows run all along one side of the restaurant. Food is served cafeteria-style, and lines can get long, so either get there at noon on the dot when they start serving or bring an extra dose of patience with you. It can get loud in the room, so be prepared for that.On offer are selections of soups, salads, and sandwiches made fresh each day. Everything we had was tasty, and it was, in fact, hard to choose! You can also get a glass of wine ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 26, 2005

Gallery Cafe
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art
Edinburgh, Scotland
+44 (0)131 624 6200

Quote:
Oh, if you are in Edinburgh and have ever read a book or drank a pint of beer, you must join this walking tour. I had a lot of fun with the wacky actors arguing their literary history, and with the other members of the tour who were good sports and just as interested in the tour as in the multiple pit stops we took at pubs along the way. The actors who lead the tour play two argumentative and opposite types who, through their debates on the characters and lives of Scotland's greatest writers, tell you about the rich Scottish literary history. The tour winds you through some historic areas of the city, and although only one of the bars was really & truly a pub where the great authors ti...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on November 28, 2005

Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour
Victoria Street
Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 2JP
+44 131 226 6665

Leith Waterworld

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Attraction | "Water of Leith"

Quote:
One of the best things to do when visiting a city is to put on your joggers and go for a run. You get the heart pumping, get a local's view of the city, and with any luck get lost enough to stumble upon some lovely tucked-away neighborhood chock-full of architectural examples.The Water of Leith is perfect for this. Most of it runs along the river, and the path is an easy-on-the knees dirt and gravel. But bits of it hop up into the city itself, and wind through behind houses and offices. During on of these hops is when I got lost, turned around, and ended up running towards the suburbs rather than back towards Edinburgh. And my but weren't the houses lovely - three-story stone things, ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 26, 2005

Leith Waterworld
377 Easter Road
Edinburgh, Scotland EH6 8HU
+44 131 555 6000

Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre

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Attraction

Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland
Quote:
My mom and I stopped in here after a thorough tour of the castle, and boy, were we ready for something to warm us from the inside out! We went around 4pm and stayed for about an hour--it seemed to be the off-peak period, which was nice, since we got some extra attention from the bartender. She knew her scotch whiskeys, and was she eager to share her knowledge.We managed to wheedle her into bending the rules for us and switching out the preselected whiskeys in the tasting flight to ones we requested. All told, the whole tasting experience was $30 (after exchange), plus I think we tipped her, which was well worth the warm, glowy, relaxed feeling we walked away with!The four we tr...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 26, 2005

Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre
354 Castlehill
Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 2NE
+44 131 220 0441

Edinburgh Castle

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Edinburgh Castle Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland
Quote:
It is times like these that IgoUgo works against us - so much has already been written about this fantastic castle by IgoUgoers, I can't imagine what I could possibly add. But I will try, since every visit it unique, right?My first suggestion is do this early in the day while youe energy is up. There are so many nooks & crannies to investigate, and if you are a history buff (or even if you're not), you will want to really take your time to meander through. My mom and I did the audio tour, and I found it extremely helpful to hit the buttons at each site as we came to it, and to hear about the royals, soldiers, and others who made history at the castle.What made this castle p...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 26, 2005

Edinburgh Castle
Castlehill
Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 2NG
+44 (131) 225 9846

Gallery Two/Dean Gallery

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Attraction | "Dean Gallery (The)"

Gallery Two/Dean Gallery Photo, Edinburgh, Scotland
Quote:
This is surely one of the coolest galleries I've ever been in during all my travels. I will call it a jewel box of a museum. It reminded me most of the Frick Gallery in Manhattan in that it is a highly considered and carefully crafted collection, put together within its building for a total effect.While the Frick specializes in traditional Old Masters' art, the Dean specializes in surrealist, and to a lesser extent, modernist art. To support this eclectic collection, the gallery's walls are painted vibrant hues of blue, red, orange, and purple. Wow! The second I walked in, I felt at home. Now here's a museum where I won't get in trouble for talking!Apparently the main benefacto...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 26, 2005

Gallery Two/Dean Gallery
Belford Road
Edinburgh, Scotland EH4 3DS
+44 131 624 6326

Stirling Castle

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction

Stirling Castle Photo, Stirling, Scotland
Quote:
And on the last day, I found Braveheart. To get to Stirling Castle, I had to play it cool. Feign disinterest, perhaps even slight disdain for yet another castle with stories of other vanquished Scot royals and warriors. But in the end, my mom and I booked the train to Stirling and were on our way.The train deposited us at the base of the town about an hour after we left Edinburgh. Rather than hoofing it up that long, steep hill, we jumped in a cab that drove us up to the castle in 10 minutes. It was a scenic ride through Old Town and worth every pound we paid as we relished every step we didn't take! And there it was, settled up on the tip of the highest hill, ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 27, 2005

Stirling Castle
Castle Hill
Stirling FK8 1EH
+44 (1786) 475165