Thursday, 8 January 2009

Edinburgh: Thursday

Starting out with a few quick ones to pass the time until cheap day trains:
  • St. James Centre (Orange)
  • Prince's St. Gardens (Blue)
  • The Meadows (Brown)
We got up somewhere around 8am, collected ourselves together and nibbled on whatever bits of breakfast we'd bought yesterday. Starting out with the little ones, we headed back to the St. James Centre (which we had passed on our way back from the quays the previous day) and got a quick photo outside. We did stick our heads into the centre but there wasn't anything hugely inspiring shopping-wise and there would be plenty more opportunities as all three of the oranges were shopping related.

With most of an hour still to go before we could buy cheap-day tickets, we moved on to do Prince's Street Gardens. The plan here being that we could spend some time looking at the various things in the park and optionally go up the monument (but probably not given the excellent views we had got from the museum roof the previous day). Unfortunately when we got to the Gardens it turned out that they were closed for some sort of work (it looked like they were dismantling a Fairground in one bit but I don't know if that was all). We stopped at the gates (guarded by a builder) and took a picture.
From Prince's Street Gardens, we walked along a little further to The Meadows (which we could get into) and walked around there. We got a good view of the Castle and of an overly tame squirrel that sat in the middle of the footpath.
All done with the gardens, and once train prices had dropped it was time to get the awkward one out of the way:
  • The Forth Road Bridge (Station)
  • Edinburgh Haymarket (Station)
Getting to the Forth Road Bridge was always going to be one of the most challenging of the spaces. Without a car, we could 1) try and find a bus/taxi to cross the bridge 2) take a train over the rail bridge 3) see if any boat trips passed under the bridge. Train seemed the simplest option here as there's a station just the other side of the bridge. At only about £3 for ticket to North Queensferry with a student railcard, this was also a reasonably cheap option. Getting to North Queensferry we had about 15 minutes spare before the return journey so we wandered down the road to see if we could get a better view of the road bridge.
Coming back from North Queensferry, we got off at Haymarket which gave us that station and placed us at a different part of Edinburgh to better get those spaces off to the side.

We had therefore planned planned to do:
  • FountainBridge (Red)
  • Grindlay Street (Yellow)
  • Rutland Court (Green)
  • Charlotte Lane (Yellow)
However, whilst these spaces formed a nice cluster around Haymarket station they still left us with four rather awkward ones to get. So instead we did:
  • Murrayfield (Pink)
  • Tynecastle Statium (Pink)
These two stadiums aren't terribly far from Haymarket but are in the direction away from Edinburgh. Very close to each other too.
Having got these two it was time to get the last two really awkward ones:
  • The Gyle Centre (Orange)
  • Lauriston Castle (Blue)
Starting out with the Gyle Centre to give us a place for lunch. Both these two were to be done by bus so we bought an all day ticket. Arriving at the front of the Gyle we easily found the food court and each picked out something to eat. Having decided that this was the shopping centre we would use to shop in (if that makes any sense) we had a bit of browsing time in New Look, La Senza (without Tom), a walking shop, the Disney store and a supermarket (to replenish the Mini Egg supply).

Back out at the front of the Gyle we struggled a little to find the bus we wanted, but having done so it didn't take too long to arrive. We did miss the stop we wanted as it was part way round the route but were very lucky to be overheard wondering where to get off by a couple who told us we'd only just missed it and where to look as we walked back. This Castle is really more of a big house (in the middle of a lot of other houses) but has a huge drive. The place was closed up for the day but as we hadn't planned on going inside this wasn't a disaster.
Seeking a lazy evening, we walked all of about three doors down the road for our tea shortly after returning to the Hostel. We'd seen the place yesterday which was a hybrid Indian/Thai restaurant. Marginally more pricey than some of the things we'd looked at but really nice.

Back at the hostel, Tom taught us Mau - a card game I wish I would be able to find people to play with at home. Just my kind of game :)

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