|Back to holiday index|
Edinburgh, Scotland, 17- 20 December 2003
To celebrate my 21st (ahem!) Lisa surprised me with a visit to bonny Scotland and booked us into the Terrace Hotel, Royal Terrace in Edinburgh for a few days. Heading into the city itself we took a detour around Carlton Hill with a fab view of Leith Docks, the city itself, the famous Arthur's seat and Easter Rd footy stadium. The view got even better (small view (25K) large view (250K)) up the 143 steps on a spiral staircase of Nelsons Monument which comes complete with its own Timeball. Erected in 1852 this signal enabled seamen aboard ships in the Firth of Forth (try saying that after a few pints of their Caledonian beer!) to adjust their chronometers without having to come ashore. This is timed to coincide with the firing of one o'clock gun. As well as this monument there's a few other features such as the Observatory and the beginnings of a replica Pathenon (hmmm not the same somehow...).
Into the city walking along Princes St we could see the dramatic Edinburgh Castle high on its volcanic plug overlooking the Christmas German market, outdoor ice rink and small corral of festive reindeer in Princes Street Gardens. The whole area looked so festive once the sun was setting as the whole area was lit up. Scott Monument, which is enormous, unfortunately was closed but when I found out there were 287 step to the top I wasn't too upset. It wasn't too long before we discovered the pedestrian Rose Street, running parallel to Pinces St and its array of bars and restaurants, Dirty Dicks being the most homely, with soft lighting and golf clubs hanging from the ceiling. Although Clever Dicks on the Royal Mile itself came a close second. Every pub we went in seemed to have T lights on the tables making the whole place seem really laid back.
The next day we walked the Royal mile (more than once) taking in the sites of the new parliament building, Holyrood House (the Queens official residence in Edinburgh... I mean what's wrong with the castle?), Tron Kirk, the Whisky Centre (well just the shop...as we don't like whisky but didn't shout that too loudly!) oh and the Castle. We returned to the Royal Mile the following night too as the city, being the Friday before Christmas, was heaving and all the bars were full. The Ensign Ewart near the Castle gave a cheery welcome, fine beers and with entertainment coming from a 3 man band they didn't complain too much when we drank Brandy instead of whisky!
We had a wide variety of meals around the city, George Street being the more up market, including pastas, pizza (how many Pizzas Huts have they got!!?) and tapas. The Shazem Indian restaurant at the corner of Leith St/London Rd had been rated highly and we were not disappointed, well recommended should you visit... and if you've not been before you'll not be disappointed either with this friendly, cosmopolitan and yet historical city.
Well its about time we had two full weeks of sun and we were not disappointed, glorious weather all the time. We stayed at the plush Sunwing Resort in Playa del Ingles overlooking the Faro2 Commercial centre, one of many, and the huge changing sand dunes of Maspalomas complete with nudist bathing area (too far to see though). The Sunwing had a great pool overlooked by a bar which was candle lit in the evening. Taking a stroll in the baking heat (I mean why?) and not far from the apartments was the Campo De Golf golf course.. an oasis of bright lush greenery. Stopping in a nearby apartment complex for some much needed shade we came across a vending machine giving out ice creams in cans! now what a good idea (waste of packaging though!).
The oddest thing about Playa del Ingles is the fact that being so vast (apparently the largest resort in Europe) it has many commercial centres, not just one central centre.. Quite difficult to get used to. The Faro2 Centre was a strange complex though, spiral in design so by the time you walked round once you were on the next floor.. very strange. The Yumbo Centre, had some very interesting characters indeed but we never went to the Irish Centre, staying mainly in the Gran Chaparral Centre, the English 'hangout' with the Dutch and German bars such as the very friendly Walters.
Amongst the many restaurants we visited, La Rosa Amarilla (the yellow rose) was cheap and cheerful, Ristoranti Italian tasty but the best one we went to was Samaniego on Avenue de Tirajana, free parma ham/bread and glass of whatever to start with and the best steak I had. Incidentally there were loads of weighing machines all over the resorts for some reason... maybe its a weight watchers ploy to stop you enjoying your holidays excesses? We almost had kittens when we came across the Indian and it was shut down. After frantic investigation however we discovered the whereabouts of another at the corner of Plaza Arucas, phew! which wasn't too bad. One of the best meals we had was breakfast in an Irish bar also on the Avenue de Tirajana.. the fact the waitress was gorgeous had nothing to do with it!
All in all I didn't really like Playa del Inges, reminded me too much of a high rise estate which just happened to have a lot of bars at the lower levels. No real main town centre as I say which didn't seem right somehow... However we did spend some time in Puerto Rico further up the coast which was a lot better, harbour, beach, nice cafes.. now that's more like it. Our first visit there was part of an excursion, a ride on the Supa cat Catamaran.
I always love being on the sea, very calming (even though the waves weren't) and a few hours trip up and down the coast did the trick. Lots of flying fish too... apparently.. I never saw any (scary looking mothers anyway!) Together with a gorgeous on board barbi and free bar we had a great time. We also got chance, from the boat, to see the man made beach at Amadores and the new palatial cliff side hotel, Hotel Gloria Palace both of which we paid visits on our next trip (via manic bus ride) to Puerto Rico...
To have a late celebration of Lisa's bithday we went up to our favourite spot in the lakes for a bit of walking and relaxation. Unfortunately I forgot to take my walking boots, hmmm knew I'd forgotten something but managed to walk the Latrigg trail without too much difficulty as the weather was unusually hot and sunny. Paid our homage to the god they call Jennings by consuming refreshing amounts of their wonderful beer, as is the custom now, as is having an indian meal from the best curry house in the world, the Lakeland Spice Cuisine. All this advertising I should get free meals!
Site contents are covered by ©