Sunday, November 08, 2009

Edinburgh: First Things First!

Edinburgh was gorgeous! I loved seeing all the old buildings and architecture. Some parts had a gothic feel that reminded me a bit of Prague.

Our hotel, the Barcelo Carlton, was nice, but the room was kind of smelly, like it had once been a smoking room. It was an absolutely idea location, though...a block off of the just-about-mid-point of the Royal Mile.

Before we decided to hit the streets, we looked at the Scotland book that we had checked out of the library and looked for a special address on the map.
It was already getting dark when we went out, and the castle & churches looked really pretty all lit up! Unfortunately, we aren't good at night photography.

We (David) navigated our way past the tourist shops and off the main street toward Grassmarket and onto West Bow Street. It was about 5pm and I was getting a little worried that our destination might not be open. I saw a blue building and said, "I think that might be it!" and David read the sign in front of the storefront... "K1 Yarns"

(borrowed those pictures from the k1 Yarns website)
The shop was just as cute as could be! It was kind of tiny, with a few chairs in the center and tea pots (all wearing tea cozies!) all over. D was pleased enough with the availability of seating and waited very patiently while I perused the yarn. They had Manos and some other yarns, but I wanted Scottish yarn, so I chose Jamieson's of Shetland Shetland Marl Chunky and Orkney Angora St. Magnus DK. There was a new knitter in there asking about making a slouchy hat and the helper (who was SO nice, btw) said, "There's this website..." and D practically shouts, "Ravelry!" The helper asked if he was a knitter as well. He's not, but he loves one. So he's got to know about Ravelry! Anyway, I asked the girl if she wouldn't mind checking the pattern for the Mittenscarf so I would know how much yarn I need. And now I'm going to friend her on Ravelry!
I also couldn't resist picking up the Interweave Knits Weekend magazine. I was tempted to pick up the newly released Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts, but I think it would be cheaper to check the BX (even though I don't think they usually get the special issues), order online, or ask my mom to pick it up @ Borders.
The shopping bags at k1 are so cool too... made out of old newspaper! Perfect idea for a "Go Green" baby shower, where you ask the guests to wrap the gifts using recycled or reusable materials (receiving blanket, grocery bags, etc). I found that in my baby shower research this summer. But that's beside the point. On the way out, another American girl was in there looking for Scottish yarn too!
Right across the street from k1 was a Christmas shop! We didn't realize at this time that we'd pass by 3 more Christmas shops in the next 2 days (and see a lot of ornaments in the regular souvenir shops too), so we made sure to go in and choose our Scotland ornament. Which became Scotland ornamentS, because D wanted a bagpiping Santa and I wanted one that said Edinburgh or Scotland. It took me forever to choose! David was so grateful that we managed to get both of those tasks out of the way early on!

My yarn appetite satiated, we decided that it was almost time for dinner. On the way back to the hotel, we checked out the menus in the windows (one of my very favorite things to do) and decided to eat at the Albanach after dropping the yarn & ornaments off at the hotel. We were glad we chose one that was so close! We had a "Wee Taste of Haggis" as an appetizer. At the time, I had no idea what haggis was, except that I was pretty sure it was one of those things I was better off not knowing. It wasn't bad, but a wee taste was enough for one sitting. It was also served with a little scoop of mashed potatoes and some light orange mashed thing that D thought was sweet potatoes, but I think it was something more like parsnips or turnips. D's entree came with more was chicken stuffed with haggis and wrapped with bacon. Mine was Scottish Beef Stew with Dumplings. And it was very good. The beef stew was just what I expected it would be, but the dumplings were delicious! They were rosemary dumplings. I was saving room for dessert the whole time... something called Banoffee pie that I had never heard of, but it sounded delightful! And unique, until I saw it on 2 other menus during our trip! By the time we managed to eat as much of the dessert as we could without picking up the plate and licking it, we were pretty exhausted and headed in for the night.


Dogeared said...

The orange was probably swede. Parsnips are usually sliced length ways (they're like cream-coloured carrots) and roasted in a honey glaze, so if you see them done like that, try them!

Yeah, haggis is one of those things you don't want to think about too closely ;-)

And well done on the yarn and ornament shopping! And D for being such a good knitter's husband ;-)

Pamalison said...

Yes, that would have been mashed swede, or "bashed neep" as I think they call it north of the border (although that may just be something we English have made up about the Scots).

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