Edinburgh to Aberfoyle – September 5

Woke up just after 7 and had a slow start to the morning. We had breakfast at The Square Edinburgh. Dave chose the mini Scottish breakfast, Mark a morning roll with double bacon and I had the porridge. Went to the Scottish National Museum. After a short walk around we headed towards Grassmarket. We bought cheese at IJ Mellis. Mark found Steampunk Coffee which is the perfect gift for the wedding couple as it’s the theme of their ceremony. At Grassmarket we tasted and bought Mead from a young man dressed for the occasion. We also spent £5.90 on a fair amount of vegetables. Our coffee stop was at a pub established in 1516! After the White Hart we went to the Castle Terrace market. We then walked back to Stockbridge and headed towards York Place. We had lunch at Jekyll & Hyde. I had a half pint of Highland IPA, Dave a half pint Guinness and Mark a pint of Innis & Gunn which was the best choice. So far today we’ve walked nearly 6km. The boys had pulled pork panini’s and I had a loaded potato. It’s sad that our time with Mark is coming to an end! Got back to the hotel and collected our luggage, hugged Mark goodbye and got straight onto the tram. The trip is 40 minutes and there is free WiFi on board. The tram goes to Murrayfield which must be a pleasure for the spectators. We arrived at Europcar at about 14:05 and took a ticket. After a 10 minute wait we were told there were no cars available and we would be given the next one to become available. An hour later we were called for our car – a Kia Venga and we were off. Stopped in Stirling to do shopping for the basics, dinner, breakfast and some beer, cider and wine and then drove to MacDonald Forest Arms. Checked in, schlepped the bags and shopping up to the 3rd floor and unpacked. The view from our apartment is amazing, trees and Loch Ard and it’s so quiet. Went for a drink in the cocktail bar. Old Pulteney 12 year old for me, and the Three Wood for Dave. Wine tonight is Chateau de Fauzan Minervois 2013. On the menu is spinach and ricotta tortellini with a vegetable sauce. After cheese and biscuits I decided it was bed time. We have twin beds which at least means no fighting over the duvet.

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Paris to Edinburgh – September 4

Woke up far too early in my opinion, with not enough coffee. Had a lovely breakfast on the plane and after disembarking came through security to the transit lounge. There is no way to get to the Salon Icare Lounge that we can see. Had croissants and espresso – about a triple. Now waiting for our flight to Edinburgh which leaves at 10.
Arrived in Edinburgh and got through border control after a fair wait. Collected our bags – my lock had been broken off so while I reported that Dave changed our car hire booking. Caught the tram to York Place – free WiFi on the tram and an easy journey. Met Mark at the Hotel – so amazing to see him. Took a walk to the Albanach for lunch. I had Tobermory 10 year old to drink, Mark has the Auchentoshan “Three Wood” and Dave had a Springbank. I had scampi to eat which was excellent. Mark had a burger and Dave haggis. We then walked up to the castle and back and found a shop selling charms. Then found another shop selling spurdles. Stopped for coffee before heading down to Holyrood House and then a nice walk past monuments, through cemeteries, and up to see views over the city. Now back at the hotel relaxing before dinner. We had Laduree macarons for tea. A treat from Paris. Frambois for me, chocolate for Mark and salted caramel for Dave. It’s amazing to just spend time with Mark and a blessing.
Mark got dressed into the clothes he’s wearing to a Victorian wedding. He looks fantastic! After a shower and some relaxing we took a walk to the Scran and Scallie. Meaning food and children, Tom Kitchin’s gastro pub is amazing. The food was excellent and the staff fantastic. I will do a review on my blog. We had a good walk back to the Hotel and within 5 minutes of getting here exhaustion set in. I was so happy with how Mark can just chat with us about anything! I climbed into bed and discovered the soft mattress is actually the springs which have given in. Despite that, and the noise, I managed a fair night’s sleep.