Honor on the Carousel

2 January 2009

This morning was sad.  Our last breakfast with Erlend and Helene.  Our last walk around the castle hill.  Our days in Edinburgh are behind us now.  It was a hard place to leave.

We had two errands to run this morning before leaving town:  1.  we needed stamps for postcards (and a weighing in to see what sort of stamps to buy) and 2. we wanted to visit the tourist information center to pick up some literature on the areas we’ll be driving through over the next few days.  We even considered booking ahead to a hotel or B & B.   So, off we set on our final walk through Edinburgh city.  Final for this trip, anyway!

We walked around the west end of Castle Hill and up to Princes Street.  Then, we decided to walk a path we’d not taken before, and we chose to walk east on Rose Street. Oh my!  What a cute little shopping area that is!  Good thing for our wallets that the second of January is still a holiday here!  That of course, did not bode well for the post office errand, and sure enough, that was closed.  So, no stamps today.  Maybe tomorrow, but no one seems to know for sure . . . very strange!  At any rate, we did pick up the brochures we wanted  and then headed back.

On the way, though, we stopped to walk through the charming little Christmas market that was set up on Princes Street in close proximity to the blinking lights and festive music of the carnival rides.  We took quite a few photos there—with it having rained last night everything was clean and shiny and lovely.  This cheerful carousel horse is on a truly beautiful ride, all decorated for the holidays with wreaths and garlands.  But, even during the rest of the year, this would be a lovely sight—brightly painted horses, and shiny gold posts.  And the ceiling art is very “art nouveau,” reminiscent of Erte.

While in the market, we bought Kyle another hat (okay, I wanted it worse than he did, I think—he might have to share it!) and me a little shoulder bag.  And we found a merchant selling hot spiced mead!  For an extra one pound deposit we paid the man for a ceramic mug, and were able to carry it around the market with us, and return it when we were done.  The deposit was cheerfully refunded when the cup returned home.

Finally, we wrenched ourselves away from city center, away from the most charming Bed and Breakfast we’re likely to encounter for a very long time, and pointed our little hired car toward “The West and North” as they say here.  We did well at getting out of town—the maps cooperated fully and in very little time we were in open country and plotting our next move.  Bridge of Allan was one of my intentions—a charming little village just outside Stirling where we visited the local brewery in 2005, and had a marvelous experience there. 

The end result of our short day of driving is that we are currently resting comfortably in our room at the Adamo Hotel (formerly the Queen’s Hotel) in Bridge of Allan. Our car is parked in the same car park one parks in to visit the brewery!  They open at noon tomorrow.  The hotel is a bit odd—a beautiful old building on the outside, and all modern and swanky on the inside.  The lights in the bathroom are on motion sensors and come on automatically and go off on a timer!  Breakfast is included in the price of the room.  And the internet connection is fabulous!  We’re actually pretty sure we’re going to stay a second night here.  We’ll get out and do stuff tomorrow that’s all within an hour or two from here—and not have to repack stuff! 

Note:  I find it terribly curious that the “name” of the horse is “Honor” spelled without the “U” —- what’s up with that?

~MB