Thursday, 8 May 2008

Old haunts, old friends (1)

The long weekend gave opportunity to travel to Edinburgh for an overnight stay.

No1 child was studying Castles at school last term so we arranged our train journeys to give us time to see Edinburgh Castle on arrival on Saturday afternoon.  Journey uneventful.  Glorious sunshine in Edinburgh.

On departure from Waverley, beginning the long climb up to our destination at the head of the Royal Mile ('Mum! I'm tired! My legs hurt!'), my husband noticed someone waving madly at us from their car.  We haven't lived in Edinburgh for over 12 years so this was somewhat unexpected.  More surprising still was when we were greeted a couple of minutes later by friends who we thought were in New Zealand.  (They wish they still were.)  It was a former flat-mate of my husband, still living in his university town.

Our children were unimpressed.  No1 child simply wanted to get to the castle...

I believe that neither of us actually visited the castle when living in Edinburgh.  The queues to buy tickets was appalling - surely some better system could be devised?  Another three attendants would have been a good start.  Still, our children loved running around, discovering the different rooms, rushing past all the amazing history and showing only a modicum of interest in the Crown Jewels.  Thank goodness for tea and scones - recuperation medicine for exhausted parents.

We drifted down the Royal Mile in order to catch a bus to Leith.  I reminisced, thinking how beautiful the city of Edinburgh is, how lively and interesting.  We both pointed places out saying, 'Wasn't that a vegetarian cafe?' or 'That's where our friends got married.'  We smiled at the tourist guides giving foreigners a potted history of the sights.  We ambled along, disgusted that the central Post Office is no longer there, remembering lining pennies up along North Bridge in a fund-raising attempt when at University, marvelling that the city is going to get a tramline.

Eventually we plumped for a restaurant on the waterfront at Leith.  Given how posh it was they were remarkably accommodating for us with large, ungainly rucksacks and two exhausted and exhausting children.  A bottle of wine later and we adults at least felt sane again.

A final walk to our B&B for the night.  More reminiscing, as we remembered Easter sunrise services on the mounds on Leith Links.  The regeneration of Leith is quite amazing and a delight to behold.  We finally collapsed into bed - amazed that our children could still want to sit up and read - and slept like logs.

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