goodness, manfolk

Edinburgh: Day 3

some nice lady was giving these candies away to the people waiting in line to buy tickets

We had such high hopes for today, but we couldn’t make it to the Palace at Holyrood.  We spent the majority of the day at the Britannia, a yacht for the royals that’s actually considered a palace on the water.

We wandered through just a few portions of each level of the ship, but it felt enormous.  The engine room was pretty amazing (a visiting German engineer, while on a tour of the engine room, is said to have declared, “These museum pieces are very nice, but I would like to see the engine room, please.”), lots of shiny copper pipes and glass covered pressure gauges.  The whole thing is lovely, if a bit cramped, but then I’m not used to maritime accommodations.

We took a break to have lunch at the only restaurant on the ship, The Royal Tea Room.  The wait was about 20 minutes and well worth it.  We had Famous Edinburgh and Assam teas, salmon sandwiches and Mull cheddar sandwiches, mushroom and truffle oil soup with giant french fries with seasoned salt on the side, and a scone with jam and clotted cream.  Too much food but super delicious!  We jumped back on the tour bus that brought us out, and listened to an informative, occasionally silly dialog between two fantastic accents (man and a woman) regarding the points of interest we passed on the way back to Edinburgh city center.

tea time at the palace on the water

We booked it to Edinburgh Castle, which is almost a thousand years old, and has never been taken in battle.  Recently, archaeologists found evidence of settlements on that very site as far back as 900 BC.  The castle itself has been rebuilt in various places, and purposefully changed by the Victorians in the late 1800s to look more “appealing,” and fulfill their romanticized idea of what the middle ages would have looked like (not super accurate, FYI, but kinda pretty if you’re not a stickler for accuracy, which I am, so fuck you very much, Victorians).  Needless to say, I loved the castle.  It also has the best view in the city, even on a rainy day like today.  You can see the clouds rolling across distant green hills, cold and wet, lush and fertile, secret and inviting.

impregnable door!

I’ve been craving fish and chips since that delicious bunch I got in Dublin, so we poked around until we found some (we checked out The Last Drop, a pub named in reference to the drop of a body on a noose rather than a drink, but they didn’t serve fish and chips).  But the fish was so boring!  I was so disappointed.  My last real meal in Edinburgh, and it was dull.  At least I had some really excellent fish last night at The Witchery.

The bus ride home was drama-free after yesterday’s slight panic about how we’d find our stop (which is not named on the list of stops in town).  Luckily, I’m awesome, and recognized our neighborhood by a shop name that was similar to a pub we went to on the first night, and the small clock tower that houses the pizza place of all things.

We’ve been home at the B&B for a couple hours, packing and getting ready to leave tomorrow.  Boyfriend has extra room in his bag (which has wheels, unlike mine), so he’s offered to take some of my stuff home with him: gifts for friends and family, and some of my dirty clothes.  What a sweetie.

I’m really gonna miss Boyfriend, but it’ll be nice to be on my own.  I’m so used to having someone to point things out to, share experiences with, hold hands with when it’s cold.  That part is going to be hard.  But I’ll enjoy having no one to double check with when I have an impulse.  That’s always fun.  I still have to make some solid plans for Oban.  I’m thinking of doing a day trip to Iona and Mull, and going horseback riding.  We’ll see.  If I can find a beautiful spot to sit, I’ll be happy.

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goodness, life

Tea, Earl Grey, hot

I find it hard to believe that I’ve never written about how much I love tea.

I love tea.

blue flowers are apparently delicious

I love the civility of it, watching it steep, smelling the leaves, going to tea shops and perusing each glass jar (or giant tin) for the perfect herbal blend (I have yet to find a decaffeinated tea I really enjoy).  But I know very little about tea, so let’s get briefly Wiki-educated:

All tea is made from the same plant, and according to the method used to process the leaves, can be used to make Black, Green, Yellow, White, Oolong, or something called “post-fermented tea,” which sounds gross.  Different water temperatures are ideal for brewing each type of tea.  In the United States, most tea is consumed cold, as iced tea, while in Asian/Middle Eastern countries, hot tea is consumed daily in almost all households, and offered to guests as they first enter.  I wish we did that here.  Thus ends the lesson.

Moroccan tea cups look something like this

I found a delicious Earl Grey with blue flowers from a tea shop on Melrose called T Salon that has since closed.  I still struggle with spelling gray with an ‘a’.  I have Tazo Earl Grey just about every morning at Office Job.

I have vivid memories of drinking piping hot, super sweet tea at the Moroccan restaurant in Paris with my family in 1997, along with a dessert of sweet, ground-up meat wrapped in filo pastry with powdered sugar and a bit of chocolate drizzled on top (the kids all knew it was pigeon and ate it anyway).  That was my first experience of Moroccan tea.  Now, every year for my birthday we go to Tagine, a small Moroccan place where we always have some hot, sweet tea.

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goodness, martial arts

Delicious friendship

yum

soy sauce ramen, fresh watermelon, hot lo han

I had dinner with Little Iron Friend about a month ago, and really enjoyed it.  I made the ramen, and we chatted about how I got my ass kicked at that one sparring class at the kung fu studio.  She’s a solid person.  Plus, we drank Lo Han Guo, which I love and haven’t had since the old days of tae kwon do training!  Hooray, so good!

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