Exploring Edinburgh - Pizza, Calton Hill & The Fringe
As my friends have lived in Edinburgh for around a year and a half now, I was long overdue a trip to visit them! For the August Bank Holiday, Juan and I headed over there to get a taste of the Fringe Festival. Sarah met us off the bus in the city centre and we headed back to their gorgeous flat in Stockbridge to drop off our bags and collect her fiance Paddy.
Our first meal of the trip was at vegetarian and vegan Italian restaurant, Novapizza. Most famous for it's savoury pizza, it's menu also includes bruschetta, soups, pasta dishes, sweet pizzas and vegan cakes. Situated on the high street in Stockbridge, this cosy independent eatery only seats about 20 people max, so booking is a necessity.
To start, we shared vegan garlic bread. Followed by my first ever calzone for main filled with veggie chorizo, chicken, cheese and red onion - it was flavoursome, filling and beat the myth that eating veggie or vegan food is limiting. Luckily I still had room for dessert as I had been eyeing up the vegan Oreo cheesecake so Juan and I got one to share. The crumbled Oreo base was great but the topping was a bit bland and more mousse-like in texture than you would expect from a cheesecake. Sarah and Paddy shared the chocolate cheesecake and whilst it was light which was needed after a heavy meal, it was again lacking in flavour.
Post-dinner, we stopped by in a couple of pubs and cocktail bars, my favourite of the bunch being The Last Word Saloon. With it's apothecary-inspired decor including old style weighing scales. I love cocktails that are a bit different and that's certainly what you can get from this unique dimly-lit bar. Pictured, is Sarah's cocktail which was distilled to remove all colour from it, giving the appearance of pure spirit. On the aesthetically pleasing absinthe spoon is a medicinal-looking tablet which, once popping in the drink dissolved and turned the cocktail a vivid turquoise. We only had a couple as we had a busy day the next day!
We got up and out in good time on our first full day in Edinburgh and started off by walking up Calton Hill. The view from here is amazing. You can see both sides of the city, Arthur's Seat, the Royal Mile and admire the assortment of architecture the city has to offer. After braving the Royal Mile briefly, we needed a break, especially Juan who was on crutches for the entire city break, and stopped for Prosecco and nibbles at a quiet bar.
After our first drink of the day, we headed down to the heart of the Fringe in the Old Town, stopping to chill out in the Sun at the Udderbelly venue and neighbouring bar areas, before making sure we were at The Free Sisters in time to check out Sam Kissajukian's show "Alcohol Is Good For You". The material in the actual show, I could take or leave, but what was really funny was 30+ people rammed into a teeny tiny room. We were sat cross-legged on the floor with our knees resting on the stage! The rest of the evening was spent flitting between bars, pubs and clubs, watching various comedy shows.
That's it for part one of Exploring Edinburgh, keep your eyes peeled for part two, my favourite half of the trip!