|After the fitting|
Thursday, 2 May: a full day in Edinburgh
We made it from the airport to Edinburgh Centre by bus without difficulty, and found that our hotel, the Hotel Ibis Edinburgh Centre, had a room ready for us. We dropped our bags off, and immediately went back downstairs to pick up a cab.
Here’s the story: The literature for the Royal Scotsman, this luxury excursion train that would be taking us from northern Scotland down to Edinburgh, specified that there would be a formal dinner one night, and that all were expected to dress in conformity to this elegance: cocktail dresses for women, dark suits or better for men. Traditional Scottish garb if the men had such; and if they didn’t, they could rent the whole shebang at Kinloch Anderson in Edinburgh. So Mark thought that wearing a kilt to the dinner would be a kick, and even asked whether I’d like to join him in the exercise. I demurred, since it seemed to me that I could never pass for any kind of Scotsman, but I encouraged him to go ahead with the idea. He made inquiries over the internet, and filled out a preliminary fitting chart. For this, I wielded the tape measure.
But it would be necessary to stop in to Kinloch Anderson in Leith for the final fitting, and make the financial arrangements. First the kilt, and that’s the stage you see Mark in at the left (big image, small). Then there would be the special short jacket, the special shoes, the special socks, the special belt with its special buckle, and of course the sporran. Did I forget to mention the special pin in the form of a wee sword down towards the bottom of the kilt, on the wearer’s right side? He got all this, for the surprisingly low rental fee of £110. A real bargain, everyone who heard the sum would agree.
The arrangement was that Kinloch Anderson would deliver the outfit to our cabin on the train. Mark was expecting to have to take it back when we finally pulled into Edinburgh at the end of the tour, but Royal Scotsman even took that responsibility upon themselves.
From there, we wandered about in the neighborhood and found ourselves a nice restaurant. At the right, first a shot from a bridge over the Water of Leith, down the river (big image, small), and below that, still on the bridge, Mark gets ready to take a snapshot with his phone. The restaurant we found was The Ship on the Shore, just to the left of “The Granary” on the corner that you see (big image, small). I had a very nice Shetland salmon with a pea risotto; and we had a glass of Italian Pinot Grigio to accompany.
Back to the hotel by cab, where I took a shower immediately and fell into bed for about a two-hour nap. Then it was time for a walk around the block to the Tower Restuarant in the National Museum. Our reservation (“booking”) was for 5:30, I guess Mark figured that we would want to eat early, what with jet lag inducing us to get yet more sleep.
We started with cocktails, our usual, Perfect Manhattan for Mark, Gibson (gin, naturally) for me, not over ice, thank you. My meal was a very fine calf’s liver with bacon, mashed potatoes, and spring vegetables. It’s been a long time since I got properly cooked liver in a restaurant, and I appreciated this meal greatly. We shared a rhubarb-ginger cheesecake, which as cheesecake was beyond reproach. But I for one could not catch the necessary sourness of the rhubarb sauce on top, and the strips of cooked ginger alongside had, to this oldster’s fading tastebuds, not enough flavor and no hot. But on the whole, it was an excellent meal.
From there, back to the hotel, and sleep, in preparation for a day of traveling.