Sunshine on Leith

13:00. Train from Kings Cross to Edinburgh. It was pouring with rain in London when we rushed across the square from the tube exit to the station. Florence took a diversion via the Crosstown sourdough doughnuts stall; I’d declined the offer but she got me a peanut butter and blackberry jam one anyway so I couldn’t say no.

We were comfortably settled in our seats by the time we sped past the Emirates stadium. I hadn’t appreciated before how it’s designed to look impressive from the train. Counter-intuitively, the weather improves as we head north and by the team we stop at Peterborough the sun is shining.

I watched Trainspotting on the journey to get in the mood for our destination. We’d treated ourselves to first class so there was a regular trolley of food and drinks to help ourselves from.

The skies were very dramatic over the Northumberland coast. Showers of rain and a rainbow over the sea off Holy Island. Berwick looks a pleasant town; we made a note to look into a weekend there.

We arrived right on time at 17:21. Due to roadworks in the Princes Street area, the buses are diverted but we’re soon on a bus down Leith Walk towards our AirBnB.

It hasn’t always been like this but Leith Walk is now full of trendy bars, cafes and delis. We’re met outside the apartment by the owner. On the pavement, a few well-lubricated colourful characters are getting into their afternoon singing. The apartment is on the third floor of an old tenement. Climbing the stairs the impressions aren’t good but inside it’s lovely. The sun fills one side through the big windows. There are views over Leith, Arthur’s seat, distant hills. The d├ęcor is great too and Florence made plenty of notes of ideas to use.

We’ve both been to Edinburgh a number of times before so we knew what to expect but immediately we both enjoyed being back here and we’re planning what we could do next time if we had longer.

Leith has been a settlement for about 1000 years. Originally a separate town from the city of Edinburgh, over time the two have merged together. The docks have always played a large part in the towns history, along with related industries like ship-building, whaling and fishing. Roses Lime cordial was produced here as a way for sailors to get vitamin C.

There’s a welcome hamper with some wine and olives so we take full advantage of that before heading out for the evening. We’d arranged to meet a friend we haven’t seen for ages but who now lives here in a cocktail bar near the flat. On the way we stop to photograph a doorway, a local gentlemen is passing with his bag of Tenants for the evening, he roars at us about blocking the pavement, this was unexpected, I jumped about three feet in the air; he left me shaken but continued harmlessly muttering to himself.

Nobles is a big old Victorian pub with a maritime feel to the decor, its now a buzzing upmarket eating and drinking place. we had a couple of house favourite cocktails then took a cab up to the old town. David Bann is reputed to be one of the best vegetarian restaurants in the city. Its unusual for us to have so much choice. The items with a V on the end mean vegan in this case! The place is packed. A good Friday night atmosphere. The food was good without being outstanding but worth supporting anyway.

We finished the evening at the Whiski Rooms off the Royal Mile; we shared a flight of four Islay malts, starting with a mild sweetish one and building up to a crescendo with a Laphroaig. I’ve never tried adding a drop water but it significantly changed the smell and flavour of each one so it’s definitely worth experimenting with.

With that, we were done and took a cab home.