Here in Edinburgh, we have to take the opportunity to get out into the sunshine when it appears…..it may not be here for long. Four seasons in one day is a popular phrase, but you can be sure that here in Scotland we have been known to have four seasons in one hour!
Yesterday, as the month of May was on it’s way out and with sunglasses on, I walked in glorious sunshine from Edinburgh city centre on the Old Town, New Town walk.
From the West End, where the residents of this city have been getting used to the “ding-ding” of the trams from our new transport system I made my way to the base of the main volcanic vent that has our famous castle ontop. 340 million (or so) years after it was active whilst Scotland was then in the Tropics, it is a very impressive sight indeed. You can imagine how attackers must have felt when trying to work out how to attack this citadel.
Walking round the castle rock to the rear I entered The Grassmarket from above it’s Western end. An open and bright area, previously a place of trade just within the city walls and the site of the city gallows, it has been turned into a very European style boulevard with bars and restaurants vying for custom from locals and visitors alike. Tables and chairs line the pavement and in the middle section of the street, under lovely shady trees. It was very busy but the question has to be asked – where would so many people be if the sun was not shining?
I was on a mission though. A mission to visit somewhere I had heard great things about. And in particular, on a mission to buy some quality ice cream. I went looking for Mary’s Milk Bar to find it. This small cafe on the Southside of the Grassmarket has a great retro feel of the 1950’s. My walking partners choice was a dark chocolate filled cone, while I went for the salted caramel. Bliss. These home made concoctions are two of many that they produce, with some wierd and wonderful ingredients – for ice cream anyway – like vinegar or black olive. The ice cream went down a treat.
Back on the walk through the Grassmarket, I visited the site of the old scaffold where some of Edinburgh’s condemned from centuries past came to a grizzly end. Nearby I had a wander round the street market that has been part of the scenery here for only about a year. Lots of choice and very good quality foods on display. This is a great addition to the markets in the city centre, as Edinburgh’s Farmers Market in Castle Terrace nearby and the smaller market at the top of Leith Walk are also very popular.
I carried on with Old Town, New Town up the Vennel in line with the old City Walls. Where next for Ice Cream?