Edinburgh - Part 3

Sunday Brunch

I find the last coffee shop on the list, Kilimanjaro which was only a little further up from where I finished yesterday but I couldn’t see any breakfast dishes and so just have coffee and scone to keep me going. It was some while later when I looked at the menu on my table and realise I could have had Eggs Benedict, something I have had a craving for months, the last I had being on my birthday in Montreal. Afterwards I walk towards the other favourite coffee place, the Elephant Cafe when I hit upon a lovely looking Italian restaurant just before it, serving all day breakfast, including Eggs Benedict.

I would never have come across this place if I’d already eaten but I needed a long walk to get over the two, yes two cups of delicious standard white coffee and let me tell you, there was nothing standard about it. A lovely place with great service and productive writing time. I may go back.

By now I was full so went past the Elephant and discovered a gorgeous park with the brand new Quartermile development on the edge. I’m not sure if it’s for students although it seems a like more luxury than they need. I didn’t want to walk too far from civilisation with the morning’s three consumed coffees at the forefront of my mind but I loved the look of this neighbourhood despite the Starbucks, it also had a another cafe and the now thankfully ubiquitous mini city style Sainsbury’s.

Despite my plans, I did manage to lose my bearings in the park and instead of heading towards another undiscovered neighbourhood, West End, I came back to where I had started the day but sprinted back to the hotel, via a shopping centre I had noticed a few doors down for quicker bathroom access. These ladies had a coin operated GHD hair straightner machine; a genius idea although probably more welcome in late night establishments.

Having refreshed and dropped my unnecessary belongings at the hotel, I walked purposefully to the other end of town. What is this West End they speak of?

The shops lined the street pretty much all the way although the big stores ceased just before it became a tiny bit more residential, I’m guessing more for students as having of course bypassed Starbucks, I found an almost camouflaged, Bean Scene. I’d seen of these before in the old town near the coffee shops and loving the idea of ‘music and coffee’ and the fact that this seemed like the edge of the city, went in. It’s another great discovery; they do bagels, chai, proper big slices of cake and music with a variety of seating. This being the end of the day, there were plenty of seats and as my lemon cake and chai were being bought to me, I sunk down into a big sofa area all to myself and got the laptop out. Sadly no live music but I love this place!

Sunday night was a bit dull in that shops closed at 6, an hour later than England and this being a bank holiday; the streets were still full of drinkers. The Scottish reputation proceeded in that even when I spotted an organised Literary Walk being advertised in Robert Burns land, it turned out to be a literary pub crawl. Maybe not right for me but for any return trip, I will need to pre-organise some evening entertainment.

  • Coffee AM: full of beans
  • Coffee PM: Chai, best served with lemon cake
  • Words total: 4025

A Taste of New York

Once again I set out for the Elephant Cafe but with nought pounds in my purse, Scottish or otherwise (I love having Scottish money, it still feels like I’m abroad) I stopped at the Bank of Scotland on Bank Street, all names that lead me into believing I was going to obtain some cash here. I swear this is true; the cash point would only give me notes divisible by £200 so not the £20 I asked for.

As I didn’t see any other cash points, for the second time this weekend I go past the intended, Elephant Cafe and towards the park and on to a cash point next to Starbucks. Money in hand, I go past the second Starbucks and Sainsbury’s into the enticing looking cafe I saw yesterday. Again my first impression was right; it’s exactly like my favourite little chain in New York, Dean & Deluca.

Peter’s Yard seems to be modelled on the Dean & Deluca look, very high ceilings, bare metal pipes elevated over head, ridiculously expensive branded souvenir goodies displayed minimally on chrome wire shelving and well trained staff. There has to be a connection.

I spot a corner table right at the back so the stools at the front weren’t necessary although almost every seat here is by a window and once again, I take my cinnamon pastry whilst my drink is freshly made and bought to me. Quite honestly I wanted to move in.  I start spotting the few residents that already occupy the buildings on the shiny new complex outside amongst all the advertising signs for homes, offices and retail spaces. When I walked past yesterday I thought it was odd that they put shiny tower blocks next to the gorgeous old gothic style buildings and didn’t make them blend in but I do surprise myself by falling for it all. Despite spotting a young woman clearly coming back from the gym on a bank holiday Monday and the Starbucks two doors down, I am not put off.

I go past my target of 5000 words for the weekend on the new love of my life, the Samsung netbook, (and a couple of thousand on this journal in between times) and decided not to move in right now but go and explore a little more, this time going straight towards the West End and then back to do some window shopping on the way to the hotel and the train home.

  • Coffee: full of beans
  • Words total: 5198

I walk the way I should have gone yesterday and pass two Premier Inns which didn’t come up on my search for a hotel but were a welcome sight. I walk through what appears to be more of the business district with many shiny new buildings and a huge Bank of Scotland (how do they dispense the money at this cash point, in £500 increments?) but not far from the Bean Scene I was in yesterday, just as the few spots of forecast rain start so a perfect time to stop for a light lunch before heading back.

It may have been just the moment I was enjoying but quite frankly it was the most beautiful tomato and basil soup I have tasted, and tomato soup isn’t a favourite of mine.

It came hot in a large mug with spoon and deliciously hot Panini bread with butter. It was just gorgeous and a wonderful end to my trip.

I’ll be back.



Adventures in Milan- Day 1

Montreal Diary November 4th 2009