• Emma

Taking back the city

Updated: Apr 18

As much fun as Edinburgh Fringe is, the city is so busy that by the time you reach the end of August you’re actually looking forward to a bit of peace and quiet…or at least I usually am, and I don’t even live in the centre!

So last week, as the last of the tourists were getting ready to leave, my favourite exploring buddy was home for a quick visit and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend a day soaking in a slightly quieter Edinburgh. Getting off the train just after 12 we decided that our first port of call had to be lunch. You see we had somewhere in particular in mind and they don’t take bookings so really you have to get in there fast as it’s a small restaurant with only a few tables.

A 15 minute walk to Thistle street and we arrived at El Cartel to find mostly empty tables. Jackpot! Our last attempt to visit we were greeted with an hour and forty minute wait. We were given the option to sit at one of three tables so the corner table next to the cool tiled wall had to be ours. Frances definitely has an eye for a good instagram shot!

We ordered up a couple of margaritas, attempted to take some insta worthy photos and took quite a while deciding what we wanted to eat. The waiter suggested ordering up to five dishes between us; tortillas of our choice with up to three sides. I reckon we could’ve ordered and enjoyed everything on the menu, but we stuck with the five, didn’t want to seem too greedy.

I was torn between a couple of tortillas but ended up going for the steak and avocado….oh my was that a good combination! Frances had the cod and we ordered plantain chips with guacamole, chorizo quasedillas and sweet chicken wings to share. I’d never had chicken wings cooked with a sweet sauce before and I really don’t know why, it may have been a game changer for me. My only regret is not taking a large group of people so that we could try everything… at least I know for next time.

With benefit of hindsight and a rather uncomfortable food comma, maybe 4 dishes between us would have been sufficient for lunch but seriously with food that good can you really blame us for wanting to try it all? Sufficiently stuffed we decided it was time to roll out and attempt to walk it off.

We were on a mission to find some cute mews and a vintage car in Stockbridge, Frances not only takes a cracking photo but she does her research on where to find some great subjects for said photos. And really if you dont visit circus lane on your way did you even go to Stockbridge?

It didn’t take us long to find the Mews, they were cute but sadly not as cute as circus lane so it was a short stroll through and on to spot the vintage car.

Hello cute pastel blue Morris minor.

All I ever think when I see these cars is ‘that must cost a fortune to keep’ but I bet the owner absolutely loves driving around in this beauty!

Happy that we’d taken a sufficient number of photos of the car, we decided to head back toward Princes Street. Our overindulgence at lunch time had left us feeling rather lethargic and we weren’t really in the mood for much more exploring. A couple of quick snaps of cute front doors as we made our way up the hill and stopped in at a couple of shops.

With a little time to kill before our train home we grabbed a bottle of juice and a seat under the scott monument to enjoy what was probably the last of the summer sun…or at lease that’s what it felt like.

As much as I love the Fringe its definitely quite nice to have a slightly quieter Edinburgh back; you can actually get to where you’re going in a reasonable amount of time! That being said, I’m already looking forward to next August.

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