Well, I guess I should continue and complete the whole sordid details of the holiday. 🙂
While in Edinburgh tarotcub and I managed to check out several cute little “tours”. But while on the way from St Andrew’s we were invited to a place called “The Vaults” in Leith (I think). Little did we realise that The Vaults are in fact a “secret” whisky society. We got through the hallowed doors and slipped in, as guests. The place was very soothing, all wood panelling, stuffed chairs, with the soft tinkling of glass in the background. It was all very much a pleasant experience and I appreciated it very much – though I do not partake in the glorious fermented juices grain mash.
Our b&b, Southside Guesthouse, was very glorious and felt very much like a boutique hotel. The owners were very accomodating and pleasant to deal with. I particularly enjoyed the skylight over our shower, the deep piled carpeting, and the classical music piped in to the breakfast room.
There was one evening in which Tarotcub left me alone to my own devices after we walked about on the Royal Mile for a while. I went exploring Canongate, which leads towards Holyrood Palace. I checked out little closes along the way and saw a very nice little hidden garden, open to the public, and an old cemetry. I have to admit, I have a bit of a weakness for cemetaries as I get a kick out of the tombstones. From the cemetary I could see Monument Hill, which looked quite stunning with the setting sun casting wonderful shadows.
I managed to make it to Holyrood and got to take a gander of the Scottish Parliament. I have to admit, it is a daring piece of architecture, but I find it ugly. Hopefully with time it will soften – possibly with tonnes of ivy covering it. At Holyrood I missed the opening hours so all I could was wander about the gates. I had to put up with a bunch of japanese tourists each taking turns having their pictures taken in front of the gates to Holyrood.
I have to admit, I should have explored a bit more of Edinburgh other than the Royal Mile, but my time there was very pleasurable and fascinating.
Then on the 23rd we made it down to London via a BMI flight from Edinburgh to Heathrow. After all the cute little b&bs we stayed in the Ashley Hotel at Norfolk Square, about a block from Paddington, was a letdown. It was tiny – so small that it was possible to sit on the toilet, brush one’s teeth and turn on the shower at the same time. The beds were also a tad uncomfortable and I could only stomach their breakfast once. But it was the most reasonably priced place I could find with a decent review and close to Paddington (since there is the Heathrow Express train that goes directly from Paddington).
24th met up with our deviant chaperone – a certain Mr. Cantrell, at Thornton Heath. Zoomed down to a quaint village to pick up Mr. Geeklawyer and proceeded to have an adventerous tour of the South Downs. Checked out a couple of nice pubs, tried a very long walk to a very rocky beach (nary a grain of sand in sight…all stones..but the view was stunning). I believe Tarotcub and I were being used to sound out an idea for a potential LBW; and I have to admit, if Cantrell does put forward a proposal for the South Downs I would support it. I made the observation at one point that the three of us standing on the stones have been former LBW organisers…
Part of our trip down to Sussex/South Downs was to a cute little space where there are sheep everywhere – called Bo Peep or something. I have to admit, my image of sheep has been changed forever. They are the stupidest creatures alive – poop plopping out of their arses and nary an attempt to clean their bottoms. Yup – shite hanging off wool. Gives you some thought as to whether one should continue wearing wool.
The next day was London! Tarotcub and I were prepared with our Oyster Cards! And yet, I dragged Tarotcub on foot from Norfolk Square to the Wellington Monument – via Hyde Park, in a dreadful morning heat. We were pooped before even meeting up with our deviant chaperone.
What commenced then was a cute sight of a very tall and physically imposing Chaperone striding through the streets of London while 2 short Canadians are trying to keep up like two wee chicks chasing after their mommy hen.
Didn’t get the typical Tower of London, Buckingham Palace schtick – thankfully. Got to explore the Borough Market a bit, sup upon some delicious lunch and get Tarotcub to try sticky toffee pudding and spotted dick.
Went through some museums – the highlight being for me the British Museum – free admission and the most amazing collections. I could have spent weeks there and not be bored. The ROM (Royal Ontario Museum) is a provincial thimble compared to this place. I was in awe.
And we were also taken to the Bank of England Museum – which also has free admission. According to our Chaperone it’s not a well known tourist attraction, which is a shame. It was fascinating checking out bank notes from the late 1600s and the history of the Bank of England – from it’s inception til now.
The evening included a very delicious meal at a very nice Thai Restaurant in Soho. It rounded out the trip very nicely. Though a tad pricey, it was a good way to end the trip – over some delicious food, good drink, and good company.