After dropping our stuff off at the hotel, we headed out to the Royal Mile to check out some of the shops and to pick up some souvenirs (I had tartan capes on the brain). Considering how small the old town centre is, we managed to get lost and accidentally ended up at what our tour guide the following day confirmed, was the windiest spot in the city, right outside Edinburgh castle. Now, my northern friends had warned me that if I thought Newcastle was cold, Edinburgh was on a different level, so I had prepared myself with my warmest coat. We were lucky actually as December 2015 ended up being one of the warmest on record in the UK so the temperature in Edinburgh was only around 10 degrees Celsius. But this particular point by the castle was so windy I felt like we were going to be blown off the hill to the point it was not even pleasant enough to stop and appreciate the views!
We headed down away from the Castle and ended up in the safety of Victoria street which was one of the prettiest streets in the city, as our new friend from the train had recommended. It had some lovely quirky boutique shops, a great cheesemonger, whiskey shops and a lovely restaurant/cafe called Maison Bleue. We thought about buying some Whiskey and then quickly realised we don’t really know anything about this “dram” so we opted for a Scottish coffee in Maison Bleue instead, meaning we at least got the obligatory shot of Whiskey inside us and it warmed us up nicely.
The Royal Mile is pretty touristy and there is a tartan shop on every corner but considering this is what I was after, this suited me fine. I am sure the prices were inflated for tourists, just as the West End in London is, but I happily found myself a lovely tartan cape made of lambswool which would be perfect for the UK weather where you need an extra layer pretty much every day of the year. I had organised a surprise for our little group to see something festive on the Royal Mile which ended up being a real treat. It was the Street of Light organised by Virgin Money where 16 arches were lit up in a light show synchronised to choral music. Tickets were sold out for this when I first tried to book but 500 were released the night before each event so I managed to get my hands on some. The event is free but tickets were needed just to enter the area. I have heard there are similar things in LA which are considered to be a little tacky but personally, I thought this was lovely as it really added to the Christmassy feel of the weekend. We ended the night having a great meal of haggis and seafood (when in Rome!) at Galvin Brasserie de Luxe, a lovely treat if you fancy some fine Scottish fare with a French twist (or is it the other way around?).