3 Countries in One Weekend!

Over the bank holiday weekend we decided to get out and about as an antidote to the previous weeks' long working hours. We went to Hay-on-Wye (Wales) on Friday and Saturday; spent Sunday and Monday at home (England); and on Tuesday decided to have a day trip to Edinburgh (Scotland). So 3 countries in one weekend. And no passports needed.

M6 at Tebay
We had planned to go to Edinburgh a few times during the summer but had cancelled each time because of the weather. On a good day the journey from Lancashire is beautiful. Even the first part, the M6 and then the A74(M), is surrounded by amazing hills, woods and streams. But once you leave the motorway at Abington and start heading across the moors towards Edinburgh the scenery is outstanding. The long slow descent from the high plateau into the city of Edinburgh helps to build up a real sense of anticipation. And approaching the city centre through Morningside always starts a conversation about Alexander McCall-Smith, with Lindsey speculating whether this music shop or that deli was the one mentioned in his latest novel.

West Bow
We love Edinburgh at this time of year. After the festival has finished it has a relaxed feel. Our favourite part of this handsome city is the area around Grassmarket, the medieval city's market area in a valley below the castle. Today it is alive with cafés, bars and interesting shops - including a good number of book shops. The beautifully curved street that joins Grassmarket to the city above, West Bow leading into Victoria Street, has some especially interesting independent shops.

It would be a bit eccentric of us to travel all the way from Lancashire to Edinburgh just to buy some cheese, but we do usually return with a good selection from I J Mellis on Victoria Street. Rather than keep the cheeses locked away in chilled cabinets they have chosen to refigerate the entire shop so you can get up close and personal with the cheese. This is a true cheesemonger, not just another cheese shop, and they are few and far between these days.

After a good stroll along the Royal Mile and a quick drink in the café of the National Library of Scotland we retraced our steps and arrived home at about 9pm.