"We are what we believe we are."
C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Charm of Edinburgh

 The sky and the sun were in a heavenly mood with each other on the day we arrived in Edinburgh: a startling blue backdrop to sunlight gracing stones and statues.
 I had no idea it was such a beautiful city.
 I felt the call of the ancestors, that little tingly feeling you get when you visit the home of Your People.  My grandfather was born and raised in Edinburgh, he was dragged along with his family to Canada at age 11, he never really got over it.
 The true Charm of Edinburgh was really meeting my dear friend Tabs.  We've known each other for years in the blogosphere so to be able to quaff back the champers in the whiskey bar at The Balmoral, while our husbands chatted madly away (about politics? fracking?) was truly a special occasion.
 We didn't take a picture together as we'd planned to meet again the next day at an event, but alas Young Rascal had a terrible headache and was quite sick.  She also had blisters from new shoes, it was too sad, we couldn't bring her or leave her behind.
The whole trip was too quick, two days is not enough time to see Edinburgh, it's just too beautiful.  It deserves the attention one would give Paris.

Wasn't the light stunning?
 I have mad plans to go back next year to visit The Balmoral again... what a gorgeous hotel, and the spa!  I was also suffering from migraine the day we arrived so MrBP arranged a massage for me.  I could spend a couple of days there getting sorted out with treatments and flipping around in the swimming pool.
Symbol of Scotland
 The Castle was amazing to tour around and I love how it looks like it was formed up out of the rock:
The Castle
 There is a gorgeous park plopped right in the city centre.
 You can see The Balmoral in the background in this next picture, they had a whole set-up devoted to some kind of serious jumping game for kids... Young Rascal wanted to do it desperately but was then foiled by her headache and her terrible blistery feet.
Giant jumping contraption for kids.
 I spent many soothing moments at the concierge desk gazing at the welcoming fireplace opposite... MrBP loves a good concierge and uses one at every opportunity if available.  The Balmoral concierge was the best we've ever come across!
The lobby fireplace just opposite the efficient and dignified concierge desk.
 The Rascals had their own room and their own special treatment: sweet treats and Balmoral Bears.
 The breakfast room service was perfectly presented:
 MrBP ordered the prunes and when they arrived exclaimed "I have no idea why I ordered these things."
The Guilt Prunes
 Perhaps he was feeling guilty about going against my strict pork-free kitchen?
Definitely not DaniBP approved.
 The Rascals, left to order their own room service, ordered everything chocolate on the menu.
On the other side of the table was a giant basket of pain au chocolat.
They ordered everything chocolate on the menu and nothing else.
 The Royal Mile makes for nice walking... and dining!
 We had dinner at Angels with Bagpipes.  
The smoked salmon appetizer at Angels With Bagpipes.
I highly recommend, in fact the next time we visit Edinburgh I'll be making a reservation there for our first night.  The food, and the service, were exquisite.
I can't wait to go back, we didn't even have time to visit The Palace.  That's top of the list, along with more champers with Our Tabs in that cozy whiskey bar.
Have you visited Edinburgh?  Any plans to do so?
xoxDani

50 comments:

  1. I am delighted you got to spend quality time with Tabs but a little disappointed there is no pic to commemorate The Summit. Now Young Rascal toughed it out through the Lake District's Stinging Nettle and then pulls up lame in Edinburgh?!?! That's it! Next year I'm going to review the packing list before you set out. If there is hiking and/or senseless shoes involved, GSL highly recommends moleskin as it's gotten me through many a 20K ruck-march.
    Pics are gorgeous and glad The Balmoral was much to everyone's liking. I do recall that being Tab's Mum's fav hotel...?

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    1. GSl fave of Tabs Mum and now my favourite as well.
      Well there was hiking AND senseless shoes!

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  2. I used to try to get to the UK every other year and then, whomp, children. I especially miss all my visits to Scotland. Since we are Scottish by my husband's heritage, and we named our son Angus, we clearly need to go back with them. :)

    Thank you for your travel photos and your beautiful words about Edinburgh. I am so glad you met Tabitha! That's awesome. I am sorry you couldn't see her again, but gosh, what a great excuse to go again!

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    1. Dina, Yes kids will do that! I haven't been to London since I was 19, I'd love to go back and combine it with a trip to Edinburgh, perfect.
      You'll have to bring your whole family, I thought Edinburgh was very kid-friendly!

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  3. Beautiful pictures! I cannot wait to go to Scotland. For me it will all be about Skye where we are from. Poor little rascal and poor us missing the picture of you and tabs. You can never wait for those pics, can you? Whenever I do, I always regret it!

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    1. Wenders this is the land of Your People, you may never leave.

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  4. Your pictures are beautiful. So glad you were able to see Tabitha and minus the migraines had a good time. Prunes...we all know why one eats prunes ;)

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    1. BB well it was a bit of a sin as they weren't eaten! I think people only eat them if they have to.

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  5. Wishing and HopingJuly 29, 2014 at 10:12 PM

    Oh Dani.
    It's magical!
    Edinburgh/ Scotland has always been on top of my holiday list - If I can ever convince the troops.
    (Actually, exploring the lochs is up there too.)
    How lucky you are to have an ancestral connection. Places always become a little more special when there is family link.

    Poor YR. And she did so well stomping through the dales. However, who can blame her wanting to kick back and relax amongst all the luxury at The Balmoral? Chocolates,cookies, lollies and teddy bears would be hard to pass up by any youngster. :)

    The salmon looks mouth watering. Was it local?
    It is a pity you missed out on touring the Castle; but of course you need to leave something for next time. And next time, sounds like it's soon!! (I've heard exploring the underground city is quite an experience too.) You'll always have a wonderful tour guide in Tabatha of course if you need some itinerary planning. :)
    Hope Scout has settled after the excitement of seeing you all back home. Helen :)

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    1. Hi Helen, oh that Scout, it's been back to square one on leash training but we've got her sorted out now. We missed that furry muppet! The salmon was local, delicious. You must go! You will love it!

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  6. My husband and I spent three days in Edinburgh in 2012, and yes it was magical and beautiful. We went the opposite route from you (nice comfy hotel) and stayed in the Castle on the Rock Hostel directly below the castle (private room, but shared bath). As it was a hostel, we were the oldest people there by far. Did you go on a ghost tour under the city? That was highly entertaining. I've been reading the 44 Scotland Street series by Alexander McCall Smith, and it always brings back great memories of Edinburgh.

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    1. Denee we did not do the ghost tour but it does sound fun, my daughters may not have liked it though... I'll look for that series thanks for the recommendation!

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  7. Gorgeous!! I did not realize you and Tabitha had not met! Having already shared clothing, you must have felt like you have known her forever instead of meeting for the first time!

    I have only been to Italy and Ireland, Scotland is next on our wish list. When I got married, we eloped to avoid certain family issues, and the two destinations we considered were Hawaii (my hometown) and Scotland (hub's long-ago ancestral home) -- both were fabulous options, fully arranged by the Kauai hotel or the Edinburgh CASTLE. We ended up going with Hawaii and it was lovely, but what a dream it would have been to marry in a real-life castle -- my daughter would have squealed if that was the story I could tell her!

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    1. Audrey - 'shared clothing', I love that!

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    2. Audrey what options you had, honestly everyone should get eloped, I've often wished we had.
      It did seem as though we'd known each other forever and it was lovely to just sit and drink champagne and chat away!

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  8. My husband, then-fiance, took me on a daytrip to Edinburgh when I went with him to Scotland to meet his parents (he's from the Argyll area). Being from Vancouver, BC, I was in awe of the architecture and history. My husband, who attended university in Glasgow, was not impressed that I liked Edinburgh more. He did, however, thoroughly enjoy the tour of the new Scottish Parliament.

    We took all three of our children to Scotland for Christmas 2011 to see their grandparents and the eldest two, then nearly 5 and 7, discovered IrnBru. Not sure if your Rascals did, but the effect would have been similar to their all chocolate breakfast.

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    1. Irn Bru - do not get me started on that Anon! I used to use that as dating shibboleth, if I saw it in a date's flat, he got the heave - ho.

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    2. Tabs I remember that, hilarious!
      Thank heavens my Young Rascal did not discover this, they had enough fun left to their own devices with room service.
      Anon that was a big trip all the way from Vancouver with young kids... lucky you to have family there!

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  9. I love Edinburgh, it's such a pretty city. Loved your recap of your time there… our accommodation was somewhat less salubrious than the Balmoral by the sounds of it - we were there for some Scottish Parliament thing as part of my Husband's scholarship (I think it was when they got their own parliament and it was officially opened?), and we were accommodated in the student dorms around 45 minutes drive from the city centre (very 1960's. Not hotel like at all!). Laughing at the Rascals ordering Chocolate for breakfast though - I always bring my children home malnourished from a holiday. They'd live on Chocolate for breakfast and chips for the rest of the day if they could!

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    1. Heidi I think the Balmoral is better, you'll have to stay there next time. ;) Oh yes there were chips and sodas as well, I've been pushing the veg since we returned home!

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  10. Hi Dani, I'm so glad that you loved Edinburgh so much, but it's a shame that your time with Tabs was so limited. Poor YR too! We have marked down a day for Edinburgh during our trip in October (we have something or someone to see almost every single day, we are going to need a vacation after our vacation). I'll keep your restaurant recommendation in mind.

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    1. Patricia you will need a vacation after your vacation! Yes go have dinner at Angels with Bagpipes, we sat downstairs it was lovely and quiet.

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  11. Isn't Scotland magical? Edinburgh has something special about it for sure with the light absorbed into that stone. I wish there was a pic to see you guys! I will cause controversy by saying this but the food in Scotland I found much better than the food in England in general and across the board. And I love the way most restaurants there take you to have a apertif in a separate area. Next time I must insist you drop by London too Dani :)

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    1. Naomi we've been scheming our next trip and it will be London-Edinburgh, fly in one, out the other, NO rental car, take the train up into Scotland. It will be perfect as we can meet for drinks with you in London and Tabs in Edinburgh. :)
      We did not have a bad meal in Scotland, even the casual pizza place we went to was excellent. We did have some good pub dinners in Kirkby Lonsdale, I have to post about it, we found THREE great pubs for dining.

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  12. I love prunes, I used to eat a tin every morning, with my breakfast, mum still does too.

    So glad you made it to Edinburgh, told you it was a very special city, a real jewel that can go head to head with the most beautiful cities of Europe.
    I loathe having my pic taken, I didn't even want wedding photographs and we never take pics on holidays, I only take them when I with mum now, because I know my time with her is running out.

    Oh and fracking? Glad they were having that conversation.

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    1. Tabs you have a natural affinity for health foods, no wonder you look so amazing! You were SO RIGHT about Edinburgh.
      Well I know they were chatting about environmental issues so I assume fracking, what a commotion you've got going on with that just now!

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  13. Fabulous tour of Edinburgh. I can't wait to visit there one day soon.

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    1. Jen you'll love it, stay at The Balmoral and book yourself a spa!

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  14. Edinburgh is my favorite city, outside my home in the USA.
    J K Rowling lives there does she not
    .She can live anywhere she chooses and she chooses Edinburgh.
    Enough said

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    1. Oldwifeno1 you make an excellent point!

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  15. /somehow, I was not meant to comment on this post as first my browser crashed and then bloglovin refused to display the post... Still, Scotland is high on our list of places to visit, and Edinburgh is there for sure. The blue sky of your picture makes the place even more attractive. And when we will do so, we will make sure we will stay at the Balmoral, not only for the chocolate. Thanks for sharing.

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  16. thank you dani for posting these beautiful photos. scotland is on my wish list. my sister is going next year and i may try to meet her there. the balmoral sounds exquisite. so glad you 2 got to meet. i bet it was so fun. she is a delight. x

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  17. What a beautiful glimpse at your fabulous visit to that most magical city! I'm so glad you had perfect weather and stayed at The Balmoral! Truly the way to go. Dare I say, I'm looking forward to Edinburgh Part II - The Brora Shop Stop? ;)

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  18. Ohhhh I am sooo jealous and wish I could have been a fly on the wall when you and Tabitha met!

    I loved the pictures, and am still smiling about the prunes - at one point Himself and the kids were all about prune jokes, to such an extent that I threatened to get a vanity plate for the station car that said PRUNES. Then I realized that other people might have plates that said PRUNES, and so there was a real risk that the State might issue us PRUNES2 or PRUNES8 or worse, 8PRUNES, so I abandoned the project.

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  19. Oh wow, your visit to Edinburgh looks fantastic!!! What a beautiful place. The greenery in and around the city looks so lush, and The Balmoral looks incredibly luxurious. So sad that there is no photo of you and Tabitha - but there is always a next time!!

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  20. How wonderful to meet up with Tabitha. Such a shame your visit was so short. As Aussies, we tend to stay that bit longer - because it's all so far away.
    Haven't returned to Scotland since the days when my husband was a student at Cambridge - many years ago now. We visited with another Aussie couple from Cambridge on a driving tour, stopping at special places for as long as we liked. It was Easter and Edinburgh was cold as an iceberg in the wind and the beautiful architecture very dark grey. Back then it was so difficult to find good places to eat if you were students without credit cards or lots of dosh. What was available was not inspiring: fish and chips, haggis and chips, white pudding and chips. Breakfast in B and Bs was tinned grapefruit and a fry-up with lots of fried bread. No prunes. So glad to hear it's now different.
    But we loved Scotland - especially the West Coast. Back then there were almost no cars on the roads and we drove slowly for miles enraptured by beautiful reflections in the lochs - trees and clouds and blue skies. Bitterly cold but so beautiful. We even took the little car ferry to Skye, watching our cars being hoisted up on a crane and then let down on deck. Husband's grandfather came from Scotland and our surname is a well known Highland name so we were often teased by our friends when guides at castle told stories about the evil deeds of his ancestors.
    Next time you must stay longer and see something of the countryside, especially the Highlands and the lochs, you'll love it. Makes me think about going back for a visit too. Best wishes, Pamela

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  21. I am very, very happy to think of you and Tabitha meeting up. Lovely women, both, with such sensitivities. Sorry for Little Rascal - but do appreciate your photos. I didn't know Edinburgh was so beautiful either.

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  22. I wish I could recall where we stayed there; we had wonderful adjoining rooms with the girls. I just adored the city-- CSW's comment about the light absorbed in the stone is so true--and visiting MLane's old haunts from when he lived there for a year. Fabulous you could meet Tabs there, too; I think you'll go back!

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  23. Ah, know it like the back of my hand... but always interesting to see from a different perspective. Looks like you were lucky with the weather, as well as the entertainment!

    Funny, I thought Tabs was a Weegie not a Dunediner.

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    1. Curator,
      The Blogger Formerly Known As Tabs (TBFKAT) has close Weegie ties according to my intel.

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    2. No, still Tabs, just blog name change, thats all.
      GSL - Intel is a wee bit skeewed!

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  24. I am jealous of your rendezvous with Tabs, and jealous of Tabs because of her rendezvous with you! What a lovely place! I share GSL's disappointment on the lack of picture, though I think so much beauty would be impossible to take in :)

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    1. AB oh thanks and yes she is so lovely! And I could listen to her voice all day!

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  25. Dani I am late to the comment party but no less enthusiastic. What beautiful pictures you took. Edinburgh is lovely. I havent been back to the old country in quite some time but we have been making loose plans for a visit soon. Obviously we will have to stay at the Balmoral after your glowing endorsement.
    So sorry to hear about Young Rascals headache, and yours as well. My daughter and I fall vicitim quite often. No fun. I think one of the things that can bring them on is new surroundings.
    Im looking forward to hearing more about your trip. How lovely to meet up with Tabitha!

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    1. Thanks Bebe, sorry to be late responding I've been on the east coat with no internet for days!
      The headaches can come up at the worst times can't they. Thanks I'm very glad you liked the pics!

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  26. Rooms starting at 1200 a night? la de da!

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    1. Anon perhaps you should scan the booking page using your Nosy Parker Powers more effectively, that's not what they cost at all. Not near half that actually.

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    2. Yeah, I've never paid that for a room there, now that mum can't travel it's her home from home on her birthday.

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  27. Great that you were able to meet up with Tabs! Lovely photos!

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