Just in case you are in any doubt about where Aurora is!
The Louvre. 60,600 square meters and the world’s most visited
museum. We recommend good footwear and don’t be surprised if
you suddenly find it’s closing time and you didn’t manage to get the
whole way around – it’s amazing!
Completed in 1989 the glass pyramid was the brainchild of architect I. M. Pei.
The world’s most famous painting – and it’s admirers. Strangely enough it’s just about the only one in the gallery that is completely sealed off and protected from damage.
This was no mean feat to get Aurora completely alone in the frame – patience was rewarded!
And here she is in all her glory. Lisa Del Giocondo by Leonardo da Vinci. A mere 77cm x 53cm, painted sometime between 1503-1519, and priceless!
The stunning Egyptian section is full of amazing treasures that leave you in awe of the magnificence of this civilization.
In life, a fashionista.
We have all seen them in photos and film but nothing can prepare you for the slightly unnerving sight of this mummy – the care, detail and preparation taken to send the wealthy on their final journey is incredible. This exhibit left us spellbound for quite some time.
In 2014 we had a brief visit to Paris. We were on a bit of a shoestring but that really doesn’t matter. Paris is a wonderful city, incredibly vibrant, and there is so much to see and visit – no wonder we and many others will always want to go back. Like the tourists we were, we left our romantic tribute in the form of a
padlock on the Pont Des Arts – no longer there unfortunately as they were removed in 2015 to prevent any more strain on the iconic 19th century bridge 😦
This post is predominately about the Eiffel Tower. We all know it and how it it looks, but nothing compares to the thrill of taking the steps to the elevator and finally to be rewarded by mind blowing views of this beautiful city.
Aurora through her lens, anticipating what is to come – 324m. high, 1665 steps to the top.
Paris makes you want to jump for joy! Aurora and I at Trocadero.
Next stop buying a ticket – hoping the queues are small, and
incredibly they were!
The glass floor was a new addition in 2014 – 57m above ground and lots of scary Oohs from those stepping out into the middle.
Just one section of the 10,100 tonnes of steel used to build this iconic tower.
And why not – a treat in the form of glass of Champagne to enhance the romance as you reach the top – the final elevator trip was an
adventure in itself – try it! It was windy up there too!
The River Seine about 300 meter below!
We cast a shadow over Paris!
You just can’t visit Paris and not admire the vision of Gustave Eiffel the engineer and architect behind the tower.
Looking back down to the Trocadero Gardens – just beautiful!
We waited until sunset, and watched Paris begin to light up.
Back where we started, and we were treated to the Eiffel Tower in full dress – 20,000 light bulbs in a dazzling display – thank you Paris!
Window display at Bibi’s Bakery. No wonder you feel that you just have to go in.
We liked this fella and his takeaway!
A little Masterpiece!
We spent some time in the popular and very desirable Stockbridge. Not quite as bohemian as I remember from my young days – a few too many charity outlets dominate the main Comely Bank Road now. Unfortunately, they lack the charm of the specialist shops, small cafes, pubs, restaurants and antique dealers that you’ll find here.
View over the Water of Leith at Stockbridge.
A very typical Edinburgh view , tenements and sandstone facades.
We discovered Liggy’s Cake Company – a little gem in Stockbridge and once again cupcakes to die for as well as tempting cakes.
This wonderful cake couldn’t fail to get a high five!
Last day in Edinburgh and it was a fine evening, so we decided to spend a few hours walking the length of Rose Street, take some
photos, and then head back down George Street to catch a bus back to Granton where we were staying.
Rose Street – A colourful walking street and home to many pubs and shops as well as service entrances to some of the larger stores such as Jenners.
Wetherspoons – The Standing Order. Neo Classic in design this
former Union Bank building is now home to what is probably
the best value pub in the area. We took the Rose Street entrance,
but you can also access from George Street. As you can see from
the photos,it’s popular and also has a great atmosphere – lots to see
and a great buzz about the place.
The Kenilworth – A lovely Victorian pub with everything you would expect from this iconic Rose Street attraction – full of history and fine detail.
The Black Cat – we didn’t go in but it looks cosy and intimate.
Auld Hundred – one of Rose Streets earliest pubs from 1800. A
former mission hall, the name comes from the tune to the 23rd psalm.
This used to home to the brewery that produced Auld Reekie Ale for which the pub and restaurant is famous for.
Rose and Crown – Another Rose Street pub and restaurant with good reviews.
Dirty Dicks. Being a staunch Guinness fan I’d give my left arm for this tremendous clock on the facade of Dirty Dicks. You have to go in here – it’s eye candy in 3d and has masses of charm. We had
haggis here on our last visit and loved it.
We took a small Guinness and a Belhaven best in The Cafe Royal on Register Street. I am not sure what to make of the red light that bathes the upper floor at night – hints of Moulin Rouge come to mind, however the bar below is well worth a visit just to soak in the wonderful Victorian decor. Once your eyes have left the opulent ceiling with it’s gold leaf embellishments you can’t fail to admire the tiled pictures of famous inventors, the ornate columns, lamps and decorated glass.
Central in the building is the fine wooden bar which boasts a large selection of beers, ales and spirits which include all the whiskies you would expect from one of Edinburgh’s finest bars.
The restaurant section was open but since we didn’t eat it would be unfair to comment here.
The Dome – George Street: Everyone knows this fabulous
building.You used to be to just wander in and sneak a photo, but it
got a bit too popular and I believe they had to stop it, so there is
someone there to meet and greet now. If nothing else treat yourself
to a coffee or a drink and lap up the amazing interior. At Christmas
they really excel themselves and have become famous for the most
One little memory from my schooldays: I was staying with my Auntie Carole for a few days. I was 15, and she decided she would send me back to my parents with some new clothes. Rose Street had some trendy shops in those days, and she found a pair of flared trousers for me – a whitish denim look with grey stripes running down the legs. They may have looked great on Marc Bolan but I hated them. You don’t say “no thanks” to your Auntie though, and she made me put them on and wear them for the rest of the day – needless to say, they remained on a hanger in my wardrobe until the day I left school and could pop them in a charity box.
If you have been away from Scotland for a while, and particularly
Edinburgh, then the Royal Mile is not a bad place to kick off a visit.
You will almost certainly hear the skirl of the bagpipes, usually from
a Scot in full dress tartan, playing to an bustling audience of mobile
You see colourful people passing by everywhere, and impromptu
events often occur and draw you to a sudden halt.
Aurora and I took a good look inside the very beautiful St Giles Cathedral. We gladly paid the £2 donation for our sticker. It allowed us to take all the photos we wanted, and there were many when we left forty minutes later. They will be the subject of a future post.
We took a beer in Deacon Brodie – probably the most famous pub in the area.The rogue who gave the pub it’s name also inspired Robert Louis Stevenson to write Dr. Jeckyll and Mr Hyde in 1886. Brodie was an upright citizen by day, but a thief, drunkard and gambler by night, and was eventually hung for his crimes.
A new event in the shape of a black Double Decker caught our eye as we left the pub – The Ghost Bus Tour in a genuine 1960’s
Routemaster bus. The trip around some of Edinburgh’s more sinister sights began at 17.30 so we had to give it a miss this time.
We took the walk to the Castle walls, but having been there before, turned around and took the walk back down on the sunny side of the street – we were lucky with the weather!
Once again a surprise greeted us on the Mile in the shape of 3 beautiful creatures – an Eagle Owl, a hybrid Falcon and a fourteen year old Tawny Owl – if my memory serves me correctly.
I must add here that I am not a supporter of animals that are used to earn money for their owners but Owls need our help so the £3
Aurora paid to hold this stunning Eagle Owl went to support the sanctuary. The birds were completely at ease and in wonderful
condition so to be able to come this close to a creature we would
probably never see in the wild was amazing and it has inspired us to
set up an owl box in our own woodland.
If it has this kind of educational effect on others, then I think and hope the Owls and other birds of prey are the real beneficiaries here.
We had been invited out to this cosy restaurant and were not
disappointed in any way.
Just opposite the Newhaven harbour, this small but inviting
restaurant serves Belgian beers and a selection of well prepared meals. The decor is tasteful maritime without being cluttered, and the windows are decorated in a fun seaside style of drawings and script.
The days catch of local fish helps dictate the menu.
Due to it’s small size our hosts were never far away and service is faultless – fast, efficient and plenty of smiles, making our visit very worthwhile. Not every table was occupied while we were there but it’s probably a good idea to book, and be prepared to sit close to others if it’s a busy lunch or evening.
Portions are reasonable, as are prices here. Altogether, well worth a visit if you get the chance… and the location is just as charming!
We were 16 guests to celebrate at Scotland’s oldest working
distillery. Winner of numerous tourist awards, it is located just
outside the town of Crieff in Perthshire alongside the river Earn.
Here they produce the Famous Grouse whiskies as well as the
Glenturret Highland range and single malt.
We had a memorable visit even though we did not take the tour this time but remained in the cosy restaurant above the shop. If however, you are at the distillery for the first time, the tour is a very
worthwhile experience and very professionally done.
The catering is a successful collaboration between the Glenturret Distillery and the award winning event team Wild Thyme.
Service and food was excellent, and since we were not restricted to a set menu, managing to get our different choices out in good time was an achievement in itself.
Tear and share homemade bread – absolutely delicious!
Beetroot cured Shetland salmon with Glenturret whisky cucumber and herb salad and wasabi mayonnaise.
Caramelized red onion humus, crispy goats cheese, tomato crisp bread with balsamic vinegar – served on slate.
Spring pea and mint soup with Hugh Grierson’s ham hough was
just marvellous and enjoyed by all who ordered it.
Chicken liver parfait, apple salad and Cumberland sauce served with a brioche bun.
If like me you are a fan of Ginger Beer – this is terrific!
My main course:
New season’s lamb with creamed potatoes, spring minted peas, little gem and baby onions, served with a piquant jus – just delicious!
Prices at the Glenturret are very reasonable for this quality of food. The atmosphere is both relaxing and cosy. We had a wonderful day out and couldn’t fault our experience – thanks to all there for making it so memorable !
We were treated to several meals out by family members on our trip over and we’d like to share some of our visits and experiences with you here.
I was dubious as to whether Aurora would like Scotland’s unique haggis the first time she tasted it. In fact she loved it, and felt it had some similarity to the Spanish Morcilla in flavour.
At Rollo’s in Stockbridge, we got a new twist on this dish in the form of crispy balls of haggis (bon bon) served with a whisky marmalade. We are definitely going to have a go at re-creating this starter here in Norway with a tinned haggis I bought at the airport. My main was a lamb salad – surprisingly filling – and despite not usually being a rocket fan, I soon found myself enjoying these well dressed leaves.
Rollo’s is very popular – you’ll have to book to be sure of a table. They serve well presented and tasty food in a somewhat small, but cosy room. On the day, service was efficient but impersonal, with not a word exchanged from the waitress from the moment she took our order to the moment we were ready to leave – something we all came to comment on. I hope she just had a bad day, otherwise she’s definitely in the wrong business!
Britannia Spice Indian Restaurant – close to Ocean Terminal, Leith.
This once award winning restaurant was a huge disappointment. It was some years since I was there and it was fantastic, but this time it was just awful. The restaurant had few guests – a warning sign we should have taken notice of. The main course took 40 minutes to
arrive, and during the wait we discovered a large black cobweb just above our hosts seat.
Although the food did not differ in taste, the portions were small and served in simple unattractive white dishes. We had to swap one dish between us that was wrongly placed.
The service that I remember as amazing, was mediocre and slow. When eventually we felt it was time to let the manager know of our disappointment,the staff seemed hopelessly inept at dealing with the situation and would only allow the manager to comment. “Then please fetch him we asked.” A waiter returned alone, suggesting
he may be out for a smoke, but we had spotted him laughing throughout a phone conversation in a glass booth at the restaurant entrance, so off went the waiter once again.
After some minutes he eventually pocketed his mobile, and came over to our table. He gave the lamest performance I had ever heard – blaming the poor service on the fact it was impossible to get good staff because they were all driving taxis these days. He told us he had been manager since they started up and when we suggested it was on a downward spiral, he simply nodded and agreed. We shook our heads and left Britannia Spice for the last time!
Aurora and I took a five day trip to Edinburgh for a 90th birthday celebration. It was almost 3 years since our last visit and we flew Ryanair from Oslo Rygge. After a one hour thirty five minute flight we landed in a bigger, and greatly improved Edinburgh Airport. Seems crazy that the parking in Rygge costs more than the flight, and if you then include petrol and road toll to the airport, it was
definitely a bargain!
The first Edinburgh icon to greet you off the aircraft is the airport’s strikingly beautiful 57 meter high Control Tower that features on many of the tourist adverts. At night it’s lit up in an array of changing colours – Aurora caught it here in a borealis green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. The tower which deals with around 400 flight
movements each day, was designed by the Glasgow firm of 3D Reid, and came in on budget at almost 10 million pounds.
We were lucky enough to be chauffeured around in a BMW 6 series or a Mini Cooper most of the time, but also had several bus trips – sitting on the upper deck for the view. You cannot help but be shocked at the state of the roads in Edinburgh. It seems that there is hardly an inch that hasn’t been dug up at sometime and re-asphalted and never it seems, at the same level as before! Add to this the many areas of cobbled streets (I love them and they give character, but they are in dire need of repair). The result is you get a bone shaking ride almost anywhere, and in any car. If that hasn’t wrecked your suspension in record time, you are then subjected to rows of
horrendous speed bumps everywhere making many bus trips a nightmare – the drivers deserve a medal!
Edinburgh is in the middle of much debate over their new mind blowingly expensive tram system. They will at least give a smooth ride, but we didn’t see huge numbers of people using them.
In the ten years since the first money was allocated to the project, the price has doubled, the network has halved, and it has taken twice as long to build!
It would appear that we have a preoccupation with deer at the
moment, but how not, when four very healthy looking
individuals appear in the garden as you are making a morning coffee. We usually see three, but occasionally this handsome male joins them. Despite being a bit smaller than the largest female, his
growing antlers give him added stature, and there is no doubt about who is boss.
We can’t be certain if it’s because they are hungry due to the snow, but they have become so used to Aurora filming them that opening windows and doors no longer bothers them, and they come right down onto the decking to pose for her.
While we watch them, we can hear a green woodpecker calling with it’s characteristic whooping, almost yodeling call – he’s loud and probably trying to get a mate at this time. We saw him several times last year. They like ants and he would come to feed at the base of our sycamore where there is a whole colony of them.
We always have regular visits from the more common woodpeckers (Flaggspett in Norwegian)- they like the peanut feeder, and are also expert at lifting of the lid of the glass jar we put sunflower seeds in for the squirrels. When they have young – usually a couple of chicks, there is a lot of activity with Mum and Dad flying back and forth to the nest. When the youngsters are old enough, they fly up from the valley and hang around the feeder, waiting for mouthfuls from their hard working parents.
Finally, we are interested to know if any of you have had visits from a green woodpecker, perhaps to your feeding station, never happened for us yet.