My second visit was on the weekend with Sylvia and my friends Yarrow and Mindy. Our day spanned both the New Town and the Old Town starting at the National Scottish Gallery between the two. I love the rich red walls, elegant arches and antique seats which situate the paintings in their era. We had a quick look there and at the nearby German Christmas Markets. Then we took a quick trip into the New Town to Hendersons vegetarian foods shop. If we had been in Edinburgh longer, I would have been tempted by many foods.
We soon returned into the Old Town going up the Mound, past the best view of the Castle across Princes Gardens but it was too wet to really appreciate it from under the brolly. We stopped in at a little gift shop cum gallery and found a book about a dragon called Sylvia that was a compulsory purchase.
Then to the top of Victoria Street where E and I had been married in a gorgeous heritage room of the registry office many years ago. The registry office is now a nightclub selling cheap vodka. How the mighty have fallen!
At least Ian Mellors fancy cheese shop hasn't changed. But it was not easy to get into with a stroller.
I love the curves of Victoria Street, though it was no fun walking along this steep street to work when the footpaths were icy.
Another sign of the changes in the area was the fancy coffee shop next to our old front door. Even the colour of the front door had changed from blue to red.
But Helios Fountain is still full of fun gifts for young and old. E and I had a browse for old times sake when we were in the Grassmarket a few days earlier.
We had been to the Last Drop because it is a pub I remember fondly as a place I loved going for a meal or just taking friends for a drink. It was a short walk from our flat and so cosy inside.
It has something for everyone. Mulled wine for me and haggis for E. I had a smaller plate of vegeraian haggis with some creamy tomato soup. E loved the whisky sauce on his haggis, neeps and tatties.
A few days later I found myself there with Yarrow and Mindy. We were all set to try another pub. The menu on the Beehive in the Grassmarket looked interesting. Mindy wanted chips and beer. The Beehive had vegetarian fish and chips which she was up for trying. Yarrow checked we could bring Sylvia in with her stroller. They didn't have a license for children. So we returned to the Last Drop where I knew children were welcome. The barmaid even remembered us and admired Sylvia's paw mittens.
Yarrow and Mindy were not that hungry and we decided to all share a large plate of nachos. I agree on the condition that we had the version with vegetarian haggis. Mindy was horrified at the fusion of cuisines but I was delighted. In fact I am considering having them at New Year's Eve. My photo does not do it justice but the pile of corn chips, salsa, guacamole, jalapenos, sour cream, grated cheese and vegetarian haggis was wonderful.
After our meal we went to the intersection where the Grassmarket becomes the Cowgate and turns up into Candlemaker Row. I love the evocative street names. E called the Cowgate 'the street of shame'. I am not sure why. Possibly because it was a street of too many nightclubs. If you walk to this intersection you will see one of my favourite castle views, looming over the humble dwellings of the Grassmarket.
We walked up Candlemaker Row to the little statue of Greyfriars Bobby. The statue of the little dog who was remembered for his fierce loyalty to his master is very moving.
We wandered into Greyfriars Kirkyard to stroll among the graves. The church was unfortunately closed and I didn't get to have a neb inside. But the graves are amazing both because they give insight into an age many decades ago and they have the beauty of weathered stone. We discussed how you might feel if you had graves against the back of your house. Then we headed off to explore the Museum of Scotland and finish the afternoon at the Elephant House.
I had better finish packing. I'd much rather be blogging but the computer must be packed in suitcases with everything else. Sunny Melbourne, Zinckie cat and home await us.
The Last Drop
Edinburgh, EH1 2JR
Tel: 0131 225 4851
Update 2016: On our visit to Edinburgh this year I found that the Last Drop don't have vegetarian haggis nachos on their menu at the moment. So sad!