Edinburgh mini break

7 March 2018

Only it wasn't - a mini break, I mean.

It was a work trip - I was there with the day job.

And it was a bit of a flying visit - not a lot of time for anything much other than day job stuff.

It has been quite a few years since my last visit to Edinburgh.

I travelled up by train - very civilised and beautiful views as we passed through the Borders.

I arrived at Waverley Station - that had had a bit of a face lift since my last visit (which, let's face it, was a while ago!)

Waverley Station is right in the middle of Edinburgh. Princes Street is on your right as you exit, and the Castle and Royal Mile are on your left. 

But I had to turn round and get onto a local train out to Edinburgh Park station - because my first meeting was out of the city. 

And it was there (not right outside the station but in the business park adjacent to the station) that I came across this stunning sculpture. 

I later discovered that this piece is by  Sir Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi - a Scottish sculptor and artist, though clearly of Italian heritage. 

I am not really familiar with Paolozzi, but it seems he was born in Leith, a part of Edinburgh, so was a real local. 

I discovered this is called 'The Wealth of Nations'. 

On the sculpture is the following Einstein quote:

"Knowledge is wonderful, but imagination is even better."

There was only enough time to photograph the piece, and I did not get the chance to explore it from all angles.  I had a meeting to attend. 

Back to central Edinburgh - I was staying in a hotel just off Princes Street. And as I was wandering around trying to find the hotel (note to self - don't rely on just the post code! Use the address!) I wandered past the Oxford Bar.  It was getting late, photo opportunities were limited and I was on a mission, so if you squint you can make out the sign in this photo. 

But it exists! And that was a surprise to me. 

Now, you will be wondering why I am mentioning a rather unassuming little drinking hole tucked down a small lane behind Princes Street.  But if you are familiar with John Rebus, the detective at the centre of the Inspector Rebus series of novels by Scottish writer Ian Rankin, then you will have heard of the Oxford Bar.  I had just assumed, like Rebus himself, that the Oxford Bar was a fiction. 

But I did not stop and investigate. 

Instead, I had to find my hotel room - which turned out to be a rather lovely and well appointed little self catering apartment. That was a bit of a surprise. And ideal for a longer stay. But I was only in Edinburgh for one night. 

If you are interested, it was called Eden Locke.  I booked it without really knowing what it was - I got a late deal and really only chose it for the location.

The second day I had two business meetings. But, there was a bit of time between them. So I took the opportunity to explore an old haunt - The Grassmarket.  This is a historic space, used for centuries as a location for horse and cattle markets and also, rather gruesomely, public hangings. It nestles under the Castle and is easily, if precipitously, accessed from The Royal Mile.

As a teenager, I lived at Stirling. I would take the train into Edinburgh and explore the alleys and tenements off the Royal Mile. That is how I discovered The Grassmarket and the stunningly picturesque West Box and Victoria Street that lead off it.

I remember it being quite 'alternative' - a lingering waft of joss sticks and a bit hippy.

I must admit I was prepared to be disappointed and for Costa Coffees and Starbucks to be prevalent - but I was presently surprised. The joss sticks may be be burnt out, but it was still full of quirky, independent shops.

And Edinburgh was as I remembered it - full of steps.

It was a flying visit and has whetted my appetite for more - I must return.

And to top it off, when I was sitting with other passengers waiting for the train home from we were treated to a wonderful, impromptu piano concert. 


  1. What an enjoyable travelogue, especially for people like me who have never been. You are right about that sculpture - truly magnificent and very gratifying that it is by a "local". And what a lovely place to stay the night. Let's hear it for business trips with benefits!

    1. Ha ha - yes! Business trips with benefits.

      Actually, I have been quite lucky with business trips. It was a business trip that took me to Durham last Autumn.

      And some while ago now, it was a business trip that took me to Stoke on Trent and I took the opportunity to visit the central museum which was chock full of the most amazing china and porcelain.

  2. I had a few days in Edinburgh last year while visiting the Yarn Festival and thoroughly enjoyed it and like you wandered to the Grassmarket. We'd been there a couple of years before when there was a bit of a mediaeval event going on and thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm a John Rebus fan too and hadn't realised the Oxford Bar existed so thank you for sharing that. We'll have to seek it out next time we go. I love Edinburgh, it's such historic and picturesque city. The hills are something else though ;-)

    1. I had forgotten how lovely Edinburgh actually is, and so pleased to see that the Grassmarket still had it's independent shops etc.

  3. I haven't been to Edinburgh for years but I would love to go again to visit the art galleries and museums. A wonderful post and a it does like a beautiful apartment you stayed in

    Have a great weekend

    Love Chrissie xx

    1. I had no time to do the museums and galleries - that will have to be for another day. But it did whet my appetite and I would love a weekend up there.


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