Friday, January 27, 2012

14 Dec Wed - Edinburgh

Northward to Edinburgh

Edinburgh, here we come ! We had an early departure, which was a feat considering the tiring previous night ( music can be serious business ) . Despite bad weather forecasts of wind and gales in the west of the UK, we departed on time from London at 8.00 am from Kings Cross Station. I had made advanced booking with the East Coast Railways and enjoyed hefty discounts with the Family and Friends Railcard ( 77 GBP return/advance with F&F railcard ) .
Travelodge Central  is  near Waverly and the end of the Royal Mile
We reached Edinburgh at 12.25pm in a very dark Waverly Station because it was under  a year long 'refurbishment'. A kind gentleman gave directions to our hotel but we made a pit stop at The Tass, a local pub opposite the more famous 'World's End'. After a heavy meal of pub food ( fish and chips, pie and burgers ), we tried our luck for an early check in at Travelodge Central at St Mary St. Travelodge ( 62 GBP triple for  2 nights, special online rate ) . The  minimum service hotel, was not able to receive us because we were an hour too early ( 10 GBP extra for early checkin ) so we walked along the Royal Mile, with our little lime green luggage in tow.
The sea can be seen from the high end of the Royal Mile
St Gile's was our first 'port of call' . We saw parishers setting up a big Christmas tree but did not stay to witness their success in erecting it. After depositing our luggage back inTravelodge, we walked towards Canongate. By now, it was sundown. From the fare grounds of the Edinburgh castle we saw the new town across the old town bustling with activities  and lights from the night market. Beyond in the dark, a  string of street  lights dotted the outline of the bay  beyond.
Travelodge Central provides endless shopping bliss
It seemed that all the crowds of the Old Town in the day had gravitated over to the New Town by sunset. We found a food path that led us from Canongate , past the Scotland National Gallery and into an  street of modern shops and malls. We lingered  between the night market filled with the sweet smell of gluhwine  and smoky sausages. It was more walking to the west end of Princes St before heading to High St via the extreme steep Cockburn St.

Old Town is ghost town when sun sets
It may be just 6 pm, but the wintry blustery winds and extreme cold made it necessary to seek refuge, this time in Gordon's trattoria along the Royal Mile. We stuffed ourselves with pasta carbonara, artichoke risotto and foccacia pizza con mozzarella ( 46 GBP ) , a meal more suitable for 6 than just the 3 of us. Scottish food was excellent and ameliorated the fact that our dinner was not as local as we would have liked.
Fairgrounds located over the new town, as seen from the elevated old town

Beware diminishing waistlines with sumptious food in Edinburgh
Finally , regarding our room at Travelodge Central. We stayed at room 134, a triple room  on the first floor. The room was very clean, with workable heater, though the tap was not working quite properly. Pat  fixed the shower control so that we could have a shower instead of a bath. There was no phone connection to the conceirge, nor in-built clock but the TV provided many channels that entertained with news, reality shows and dramas. We brought our toiletries since it was not provided but apart from that, it was a place just as good as those  in KL, if not even better. If I had a choice, I would go for another room that did not have a spot light immediately outside the window that was on the entire night, illuminating the hotel's carpark.
Travelodge Central was unglam but facilities adequate and very clean

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