Friday, December 11, 2009

Edinburgh: Miscellany

Here's all the stuff that didn't fit into the other posts. First of all, a picture I have been dying to share since May.

I think this gives the unfortunate impression that the infected persons have been let loose in the city, and any minute now, thirty members of the aristocracy will come thundering through the streets in their hunting pinks, shouting TALLY HO and shooting people. Needless to say I was glad I didn't have the flu.

Next, the rhubarb tart from the cafe in St. Giles'.

It's a good thing we spent most of our time walking, or we wouldn't have been able to fit in our airplane seats on the way home.

Although this, to be honest, would be hard to fatten up on. To begin with, it's called Cullen Skink, which doesn't inspire confidence.

"Cullen" is a town in Scotland, and "skink" is a word that has evolved to mean "soup." It's basically potato soup with onions and fish (in my case, haddock). Since I only eat fish in foreign countries, and I was in the mood to try something extremely Scottish that wasn't haggis, I decided to be brave and order it. I rather liked it, but I probably couldn't eat it in more than small doses, as it was quite fishy (literally).

I got the peculiar fishy-soup here, at Deacon Brodie's Tavern, which I had always wanted to go into.

The downstairs is a pub and the upstairs is a restaurant. Upstairs it was dim, and the ceiling was low, and there was tartan carpeting. And they set down the Cullen Skink in front of me, and I was like, "I AM IN SCOTLAND NOW."

One thing about Scotland which is sometimes delightful and sometimes not is how much daylight there is in the summer. I took this picture late in the evening, maybe around 10:30.

At the end of May, the sun rises around 4:30 and sets around 9:45. However. Twilight starts at least an hour earlier than that in the morning and ends an hour later at night. Meaning I woke up every morning at 3:30 because there was light on my face. That was also an "I AM IN SCOTLAND NOW" moment, but a less pleasant one. The late sunset is quite nice, though, because it means you can walk around right up until bedtime.

What I particularly enjoy about Edinburgh is that, like York, the very streets are ornate. I suppose that's true of practically anywhere in Britain. Or Europe. Or anywhere in the world. Well, I like it, anyway. Particularly these:

There's probably a name for them, but I don't know what it is. Perhaps at some point they served as signs for the illiterate.

I also enjoyed this mural on the side of a pub called The World's End.

Distressingly, I did not have an opportunity to work in anything about Dorothy Dunnett in my last post, and I don't have much this time. There was a "Semple's Close" somewhere on the Royal Mile, but for whatever reason I didn't take a picture. (Semple is something of a significant name in both the Lymond Chronicles and the Niccolò Rising series.) But that was exciting. For me.

Well, that's about it for Edinburgh. Without going into truly agonizing detail (and doing a lot more research), I don't have much more to say. So I will leave you with two images of the city, one in a close-up of the decorations on one of the gates by Holyrood Palace, and one from Greyfriars Kirkyard, at the start of one of those long, long twilights.


Pandora said...

I feel a little badly for the swine flu-inflicted. They feel feverish and they have to hide under the bed. From sword-wielding Scotsmen. Haha. I hope they at least wear kilts while on the hunt!

On the other hand, they have those yummy looking rhubarb tarts. So, it all balances out.

Simon said...

Yes, it would especially stink to be hunted while you're sick. Talk about kicking you while you're down!

Those tarts were AMAZING. I need to learn how to make pie crust so that I can manufacture them in mass quantities in my kitchen.