Saturday, 23 April 2016

..and puts the heels back in the box.

So I'm back from my weekend in the city and it's been back to my more usual footwear

although on sunny days I've worn these.

This means that Dogstarke has been very happy because it's meant lots of "walkies" for her. And coupled with some lovely sunny weather it's brought smiles all round.

As well as one of our regular walks, taking in not one but two of Dogstarke's favourite beaches we also explored another one from the excellent walk highlands site.  It was in many ways a perfect walk; circular, close to a coffee stop, excellent views, historic interest and for Dogstarke a friendly dog to play with (because she's not so big on views)

looking north

Dounie castle

across to Jura

We ended the week with  a lovely lunch at The Hawthorn Restaurant at Benderloch and then (partially) walked it off at Tralee beach. It has to be said, DogStarke did most of the calorie burning, and she hadn't eaten lunch. But I did have a paddle.

Today the weather has turned a little cooler but we still had a lovely walk and enjoyed the Spring flowers.

We have visitors next week so I  hope the sun doesn't go too far away. And after that I might just be dusting down the heels for  another city outing.

Until next time

Marina x

Monday, 18 April 2016

and found some!

We've been on more "walkies",   DogStarke  describes them here, but I'll concentrate on urban things and our visit to Edinburgh. This time we decided to travel by train and didn't need to choose a hotel with parking. I had a look at what was available for our dates and settled on Motel One Princes Street. I hadn't heard of this brand before, but reviews were good and prices low, so decided to give it a try.

Entrance to Waverley Station, right opposite the hotel

It definitely leads the field in the  budget range. I arrived early but was able to check into my room. The process was very quick and friendly, and DogStarke was made particularly welcome. I was pleasantly surprised by our room,  bigger than I'd expected with a king sized bed.

There are no wardrobes just two hanging rails,  though they have "proper" hangers not those awful fixed on things, and a small shelved area. If you were staying for a longer period or had lots of formal outfits,  storage might prove to  be a problem but for a weekend break it's just fine. Rooms also have a full length  mirror, hairdryer, free WiFi and the usual kettle and mugs.

The shower room was compact but the shower itself was good, though the towels were a bit skimpy.

We didn't check out that "One Lounge" because while the hotel is dog friendly they are only allowed in bedrooms, not in any public areas. That didn't matter too much as DogStarke was getting her own special treat, staying at MasterStarke's for a night.
Actually she wasn't only one looking forward to seeing him, and I really enjoyed our lovely night at Nonna's Kitchen on Morningside Road.

The restaurant is a favourite of his and GGGF, and deservedly so, it has good food and a great atmosphere. You can always tell a restaurant has something right when it's regularly full on a midweek night;  for five or six years I would pass by on my way home from my Pilates class on a Wednesday night, and it was never less than buzzing.
He can't remember, but when MasterS was just a little boy he loved, and was welcomed at The Patio on Hanover Street which was the Stornaiuolo family's former restaurant.

On Saturday came the reason for our trip, we travelled down the coast to  The Granary at Balgone just outside North Berwick, where my friend was celebrating her Ruby wedding anniversary. It's a great place with plenty of space to spread out, inside and out, there's even a covered heated pool. We didn't test that out at the party, but as the weather was kind (mostly) we were able to enjoy the gardens. It was a lovely afternoon with four generations of family and lots of friends enjoying good food and company.

Back in Edinburgh we had planned to pop down to V deep in Leith for the evening as  I'd discovered it was dog friendly, but we'd eaten so well at the party and were quite tired, so just cocooned in our room and watched TV instead.

Sunday saw us back on the train and heading home.

And that's where I am now.

Marina x

Sunday, 10 April 2016

and meets herself coming back.....

Well, sort of.....Actually I'm stealing Dogstarke's subject matter with this post. Yes it's a post about walkies! On Easter Monday we drove to Glen Etive, which you may have seen in a certain movie  a few years ago, and walked westwards along the north shore of Loch Etive.

looking north to Glen Etive, Easter Monday

 Yesterday we drove up from the Connel Bridge, where the Falls of Lora were in full flow, past Ardchattan Priory to Bonawe where the public road ends. We parked up and set off east ,towards the head of the loch.

looking north from slightly further south, yesterday

In the best tradition of Winnie the Pooh we fortified ourselves with ", pro, things we take with us..." and stopped for a picnic lunch along the way.

everyone got a picnic

Now Loch Etive is nearly 20 miles long and even though we'd started our walk nearly half way along we had  no plans to walk all the way to the head of the loch, we were aiming for the spot we'd turned around on our eastward trek. But tempted by signs for this bridge

quite a bouncy bridge....

.......over this

we took a detour, passed by this offgrid hideaway and then after finding ourselves in quite a boggy spot had  a final cup of coffee and  decided it was probably time to head back home.

If you like the sound of this walk you can find another description here

Today I was pleasantly surprised that  I wasn't too stiff but my toes were sooooo happy sunshine let them  get some respite from boots.

putting my feet up, today

Soon we're off on a mini break back to Edinburgh so I'm hoping to report on some nice clean sheets. Last time we stayed at the Novotel on Lauriston Place but this time we'll be trying out somewhere new. I'll be sure to let you know.

Marina x