I'm not naive enough to believe that you're all going to write in and tell us all about your day-to-day goings on, I'm just trying to flannel you into thinking that, like Balamory, I'm also being a bit "inclusive" while I bore you to death with what we've been doing!
Well now that I've got that admission of guilt off my chest, let me tell you about our visit to the "Christmas Markets" in Edinburgh. If you just look on it as a review, then it mightn't seem to self-important or boring, eh?
The trip was all arranged online whilst we were still in Luxor; clever things computers! It all started when Freda decided that she wanted to make more use of our "Old People's Rail Cards", before they ran out on 15th of December. York, maybe? No, Edinburgh, where she'd seen this European Christmas Market advertised somewhere. We invited sister Sister Susan and Uncle Roy to join us, as we usually have a good time when the four of us are together. Freda arranged it (including high tea at a particularly nice looking hotel) before you could say "Jack Robinson". (Although I've no idea why most people would want to say "Jack Robinson", it's a rather silly saying, isn't it?)
I'm getting to really enjoy train journeys, and this one wasn't an exception. Starting with a short car journey to the Metro Station at the Felling and on to a crowded Metro train right into Newcastle Central Station. I was rather apprehensive, as one of our four return tickets had mistakenly not been sent out in advance, and the ticket which we got from the machine was for "Off-Peak" travel only, and 08:45 certainly isn't "Off-Peak"! But after the ticket inspector gave our tickets just a cursory glance before stamping them, I breathed a sigh of relief, and got down to enjoying the day properly!
On exiting Edinburgh Waverly Station, we were met by a rather frightening sight!
After such a long journey, some of us needed refreshment. Jenner's (the big, world famous, department store on Princes Street) did me an acceptable breakfast of bacon, haggis and egg on a hugely thick piece of toast. (I don't usually have two breakfasts, but hey, I was on holiday!) The other wimps only had a drink and cake, which was rather a waste when you're in such a nice place:
Then we ventured the short distance across the road to view the first of the Christmas Markets. Here was the "European" Market. Actually, it was a collection of stalls, most of which were repeated over and again about five or six times! Although they were interesting and relatively "foreign" the repeats did get to be a bit boring after a while. (I mean; just how many "Hot Apple/Drambuie Toddys" can one man take?)
There were one or two distinctly individual stalls, like the one selling wooden ties! I thought that they were quite novel, but at £20 a go, they were a bit rich for yours truly!
Another was selling decorative thingies made of very thin metal and cut in concentric circles and hanging so that they could spin. But they were bent in to such shapes as to create different patterns whilst they span! Actually amazing, but watching them for even a minute or so made me feel quite queezy! No thanks.
High tea was booked for 3 o'clock, but by 2 we were getting chilly. It wasn't really raining, but it was cold and dismal and various feet and backs and legs were starting to play-up. We made our way, via Penhaligon's (where they had some lovely men's fragrance called Levantine (or something like that) which I tried and coveted, but which was £120 a shot!!!!!!!) and several other smellies selling boutiques, whilst admiring some of Edinburgh's beautiful architecture (Edinburgh has a boatload of lovely buildings), to the Howard Hotel: http://www.thehoward.com/ Freda wanted me to slip one of their chandeliers into the poacher's pocket of my Barbour coat, but I didn't want to hump it around for the rest of the day:
We arrived about a half hour early, but it wasn't a problem. The tea was very nice, and filling too. (We'd eaten most of the sandwiches by the time I remembered to take the picture, lol!)
We were thoroughly warmed through by the time we left some two hours later. The Howard was only a ten minute walk from Princes Street, in an area dominated by arty establishments, more galleries than you could shake a stick at! And unexpected places too:
Who would ever have thought that there was such an organisation as "The Trout Anglers Club", never mind that they would have expensive premises in Edinburgh?
We made our way back towards Princes Street via the so-called "Scottish Christmas Market". What a disappointment, there wasn't even a piper!!!! But at least the stalls weren't repeated every few yards! There were a few stalls which were genuinely innovative in my opinion. I bought an apposite Christmas present for Number One Son (which I obviously cannot tell you about, in case he looks on here) and Sister Sue bought some dear fudge for our dear mother. There was a helter-skelter in the middle of the gathering, and plenty of opportunities to get drunk.
I thought that I was drunk when I noticed this:
El Dorado brought to Scotland, perhaps? They must have got special permission from the Queen to do that, surely?
By the time we got back to the main event, the crowds had truly arrived, There was a good atmosphere as the people roamed around or queued in the dark for the fearsome rides:
There was also another ride specifically for softies like me, but I didn't fancy it either:
The Scotchies had some pretty impressive Christmas lights too:
And some of their lovely buildings were draped like Christmas trees:
Whilst others relied on their usual lighting to emphasize their grandeur:
By the time we had meandered back to Waverly Station, I was ready for a sit down, as were the others I believe. The waiting train was a sight for sore eyes!