Here continues the story of our trip to Edinburgh and we pick up the story at the beginning of our night for New Year’s Eve…
Being New Year’s Eve, I was quite keen to have a really nice dinner and wanted to start off with some really good champagne. A couple of places we looked at were able to seat us at 5pm which wasn’t ideal so we kept on searching, taking in the views of the city and all the lovely medieval and gothic buildings along the way. Why we didn’t think of this in advance and pre-book is anyone’s guess but we sort of knew the exercise was futile if we weren’t prepared to forgo the fancy meal I had in mind. In the end we found a Mexican restaurant that was willing to seat us… sadly no champagne but they did have cocktails and the food was pretty good. It was filling at least, which was a good way to set us up for the night.
We had come away with many stories and warnings about the street party as part of the Hogmanay celebrations, and weren’t that keen on the drunken crowds, long queues and freezing cold so our plan was to have a nice meal, maybe go to a pub for a few drinks and then head in around 10.30 so we weren’t outside for too long. How wrong we were about the quality of our time in the Street Party.
New Years Eve was the best. I don’t mean the best of our experiences in Edinburgh, although that’s probably true too, but the best New Years Eve I think I’ve ever had. We had a HUGE meal and then went in search of a supermarket to buy booze from because, (here comes that word again) stupidly we didn’t realise you could actually take booze into the street party. A fair assumption, considering most festivals want to make money off you once you’re inside, but thankfully the waitress we had at dinner told us that we could indeed take our own stuff in and she also pointed us in the direction of a place we could get it. Now at least we knew we had an easier night ahead of us than we had originally thought because there would be no queuing for long periods of time at the bars.
We had tickets to the garden party which was inside the street party area but a smaller section within, which meant we weren’t surrounded by as many crowds and we had THE BEST view of the fireworks, standing directly underneath the castle. It was spectacular! We listened to some bands, had a dance and then got to see the most breathtaking fireworks display either of us had ever seen right underneath one of the most beautiful buildings in the United Kingdom. It was pretty special – our first New Years together (C has always worked) and probably our last in the UK at least for a while. Words can’t really describe how good it was standing there – in love, drunk, watching an epic fireworks display, contemplating our massive year ahead and completely content that we had made the right decision in buying tickets to the place we’d only been warned against.
After the fireworks we decided to head on back into the street party, which wasn’t as hectic as when we first arrived. We had the time of our lives, dancing on the street for a few hours before we decided to go in search of a pub to continue our night in. We stumbled across a little pub, in a tiny alleyway in the Old Town and managed to make friends with the bar staff. Having got there not long before closing time we were allowed to stay for the lock in, meaning we spent a lot of the money we thought we’d saved at the street party and we drank until dawn. We eventually started to head home around 5am and put ourselves to bed.
On New Year’s Day I had big plans to climb Arthur’s Seat, which boasts some amazing panoramic views of the city. It was meant to be a nice day so we I thought it would be a great thing to do – a bit of exercise, a nice way to spend a day together and a great photo op. What was I thinking?? About halfway into our NYE evening I realised that there was no way I was going to drag C up that hill, and in fact, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to either.
We decided instead to get up and try to go watch the Loony Dook parade and the dip in the water. We had been unable to get tickets to be involved, but I still wanted to watch and take a pic. So I dragged my still-drunk husband out of bed and got us ready to go out. In my drunken haze the night morning before, I’d looked up the details saying that the parade would be held on the High Street (about a 5min walk from our place) at 1.30pm and then the ‘dookers’ would jump in the water.
So we set off on what we thought was a walking distance journey down to the water, thinking we’d skip the High St parade and get down there to get a good view. After about an hour of walking on what looked like a never-ending road that seemed to be taking us further and further away from the city, and realising that the timeframe we had to get down there was drastically narrowing, we decided to look again at the details.
What I hadn’t realised was that the ‘High Street’ in question was in a completely different town or suburb to the main city and the High Street we were staying so close to. Looking again at the map and the details we discovered that it was definitely not walking distance and in fact was a train or bus journey away. Perhaps I was a little worse for wear after all? I started to wipe that smug ‘I don’t have a hangover’ look off my face and, accepting defeat, weary from all the walking and hungry due to it being 2pm and not having had breakfast we decided to wait for a bus back into town where we instead jumped on the Ferris Wheel and looked at the ocean views from the top (and those panoramic views we missed from Arthur’s Seat!).
After a bite to eat, I looked over at C and realised he was struggling massively and I could force him to be out and doing things with me, ‘making the most of our time away’, or I could suggest we have a rest and then go out again in the evening. We stopped on the way home to watch the end of the football and have a quick hair-of-the-dog pint but it was no use… my man was in drastic need of a rest.
To be continued…