We interrupt our regular quick witted, well written blogs for something a little more…Canadian. That’s right, the Brodt’s flew over for an Edinburgh visit and I Chris Brodt am stepping out from behind the camera to write about it. I apologize for the lack of big words and proper grammar but Sinead and I agreed it was time I put my writing to the test and what better time to do so then when my own flesh and blood stopped by for a visit.
To say I was excited to see my family is an understatement. Having been away 7 months (6x longer then ever before) seeing my mom, dad and brother walk out from behind the airport doors was incredibly exciting. For the first time ever I would now be the family tour guide, ready to fill their noggins with a plethora of Edinburgh history. Well to be honest that ended up being Sinead’s job, much to my dismay but to the benefit of my family. We can get to that later but as for now let me take you on a highlighted tour of what we Brodt’s did on our 10 day vacation.
After a long day of travelling through multiple time zones my family was greeted by an overly enthusiastic newly married couple (us). Before jet lag truly set in Sinead had prepared a simple dinner of soup and bread over which we caught up on their journey. While my family slept Sinead and I were hard at work planning, ready to thrust my family into the chaos of an O’Brodtoll vacation. For those who don’t know, O’Brodtoll vacations mean go go go! Day 2 began with a hardy bowl of porridge to help begin the day on bright note but as luck would have it the weather had other plans. As we made our way through a couple of our favourite markets on our way to the museum, the rain/snow set in causing Sinead to turn back and run home as her shoes began to fill with water. Though in true Brodt fashion the rest of us braved the Canadian-esque weather stopping in shops along Victoria Street and finally finding refuge inside the National Museum of Scotland. After drying our hair under the hand dryers we set off to explore the incredible artifacts held within the museums walls. A definite highlight was the Natural Worlds gallery. My brother, an aficionado of whales, found the full scale whale bones of particular interest. Afterwards, looking for a quick bite to eat, we stopped at a quaint little coffee shop before ordering takeout at Dough (our choice for best pizza in Edinburgh) and ended the night sitting on the couch watching the Revenant. Sunday began the only way it could have, with a massive breakfast at Caffeine Drip, followed by a walk down to Stockbridge Market through what I believe is possibly the most beautiful section of the city, Dean Parks Garden. Through the ups and downs of Edinburgh’s windy streets we then made our way to the Portrait Gallery. I was most excited to show my dad, an artist himself, the portraitures of contemporary ordinary people. Forgive me but the old renaissance paintings just aren’t my thing. After a quick snack of coffee and scones my parents were eager to do some shopping while my brother and I were more interested to climb Scots Monument. And so we did. 287 narrow steps later we were treated to spectacular 360 degree views of the city. For my bother Michael it was a chance for him to see the Pentland Hills and Edinburgh Castle in one direction and the North Sea in the other. We had never done anything like that together and as cheesy as it may sound it was a bonding moment for the two of us, free of name calling and rough-housing. To end the night my mom made the entire family a Sunday roast dinner, about the best way imaginable to finish off a week.
The weather played nice with us on Monday which meant a trip to the Edinburgh Castle. Since Sinead was working it meant just the 4 of us, and ultimately no family tour guide (I did my best!). Thankfully my dad had done some research of his own and we spent the next few hours wandering through the tunnels and cobbled streets of Edinburgh’s grandest tourist destination. As we wandered home, our feet sore from the non stop walking we were delighted to fill our bellies with FREE sandwiches from Zebra Co. while we waited for our proper meal at Vitorria’s. It should be mentioned here that because we O’Brodtoll’ed our vacation thus far and walked miles upon miles, my parents aching feet became a cause for concern. From that point on we decided that walking was definitely overrated and instead chose a taxi for all our future transportation. Dinner at Vittoria’s was fantastic and the late night laughs at the local pub capped off the night of perfectly.
We began day 5 with a bus tour around the city, hitting all of the major landmarks including the Royal Yacht Britannia, the Queen’s boat of choice. My dad was particularly interested in seeing it and though we didn’t actually pay the hefty price to climb aboard we caught a glimpse of it from the dock. I should note as well that the beautiful weather from the day before decided to sleep in making the trip a wet and somewhat cold excursion. It was agreed that until dinner we would seek shelter at home. After grabbing a seriously delicious burger at Bread Meats Bread, the Brodt’s sat down and watched the family friendly flick, Deadpool. My moms obsession with Ryan Reynolds and the rest of craving a shoot e’m up made the choice a no brainer. Now Day 6, Feb 17 was a very special day for one particular person in the family, my dad. We all had the pleasure of celebrating a milestone birthday with him (I won’t say which one) in which we also had the pleasure of learning a long lost nickname of his (sadly I can’t say which one or he’d kill me). So what did we do to mark such a special day? Well first my brother and I scrambled to find him a present, as my dad is one difficult man to shop for, then we encouraged him to climb Calton Hill which is no small feat. For dinner Sinead and I agreed we needed to find a perfect example of a relaxing Scottish dining experience and so we took him to the obvious place, the pub. But the real highlight of the day was sitting around the ottoman watching my dad light up as he opened his cards and gifts as we ate cake and ice cream. We were all thrilled to be spending his birthday together in one spot. Day 7 blessed us with great weather of which we took advantage and headed out to Portobello, a sea side town with beautiful sands and a great view of the sea. My parents had yet to try the fish and chips and so after a walk along the beach where we made new friends with the cutest golden lab with settled into a mom and pop shop for the local classic. As the sun began to set we headed back home where I prepared dinner for the crew which was swiftly followed by some terribly bad British TV.
The next day was a very exciting one for me as it was my chance to finally give my parents a tour of Whitespace, the creative agency I have been working for for the last 6 months. As I led them around the buildings 4 floors I couldn’t help but notice how excited they were for me. In my brothers words, “this is what degrees get you eh?” I felt incredibly touched that they were so proud of me. We followed my tour with another, this time of Real Mary’s Close, an underground network of streets and houses from Edinburgh’s forgotten past. The dark and damp cobbled roads led us directly under the buildings of Old Town while the tour guide shocked us with his tales of sad histories. After stopping for a coffee and some obligatory shopping we headed home again where my mom prepared the one meal I was most excited for, her delicious lasagna. Because let’s be honest mom’s always make the best food and for my brother and me it was the fuel we needed for what proceeded, the bars! Now my brother and I have never gone clubbing together before and so I was not quite sure what to expect but I’m sure he can agree it was an amazing night. Hopping between two bars we chatted over drinks while the sweet sounds of house music played in the background. Only when I looked at my watch did I notice it was 3 o’clock and we were swiftly being ushered out the door. That night sits high as one of my favourite memories of our visit. Saturday, our last full day together was a relaxing one. As my parents tended to their tired feet, with the weather once again fighting us, we spent the day resting on the couch. We had dinner at the Dogs, another favourite eatery on our very long list and finished up with the not so great action movie Jack Ryan. As I sat and looked over at my family I realized this was going to be the last night we’d spend together in quite some time which I must admit was hard to accept. It had been an amazing 10 days and though we may have bickered and grown annoyed with each others antics on some occasions, we were sharing the evening together and that was enough of an evening for us all.
Day 10 was a sad one. Goodbyes were exchanged as the tram rounded the bend and as quickly as they arrived they were gone. Even writing this a week later I still struggle with the knowledge that it may be some time before I see them again but I honestly couldn’t have asked for a 10 days. Even me, a man whose stories are usually quite short couldn’t resist writing as much as I could about our vacation. For me this blog is about remembering as many details as possible from out adventures in Edinburgh and I am thrilled to have shared such a great one with the rest of the Brodt’s.