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  1. 1. a wee mag forlasses & laddies
  2. 2. table of contentsEditor‘s Note 4Appetising Bites 5Warning! this may raise your blood cholesterol! 6Guide to sweet Edinburgh 7How to find your inner gourmet 9Is it Possible to Fall in Love with a Potato? 11Old! But Not Boring. 13People, Let‘s Go Dancing! 14Royalty - a lost virtue today?- Not in Edinburgh! 16The Palace of Holyroodhouse 18Craigmillar Castle 20How the Scottish Parliament became what it is 22Grave Night Out 23Green Edinburgh 25The Botanic Garden 26Visit Calton Hill! - Overlook Edinburgh! 28A Desert Island is Only a Bus Journey Away 31The Amazing Coast 33For Art‘s Sake 34The Shadow over Edinburgh 35Four strings, three pipes, lot‘s of keys and a voice- or totally different 41Grassmarket: A Vintage Haven 43Stand up for The Stand 45Fear and Loathing in Edinburgh 46Welcome to the House of Film 48Scottish Surrealism? 50Readers, Writers and Speakers 52Secondhand But Twice as Precious 53Laddies and lassies!!!Are ye ready for a wee blether?? ,...Aye, I guess?...‘ 55Sounds of the Scots 58The fictional Edinburgh:
  3. 3. Drugs, Clubs, and Mr Hyde 60The Characters Behind the Lines:The life and sorrows of 3 famous Scottish writers 62Just Walk the Words! 65Newsroom! Quiz Night! Read All About It. 71Culture ´n` Stuff 73The Spirit of Scotland 74Braveheart Country 76Kilts are everywhere –a short review about the Scottish national dress 79Edinburgh - Just a Traditional City? 81Big News from the Newsroom 84A day out for the young and the old,and everyone in between 85Travelling Beyond the Numbers 87The Pope is coming - how get people affected?- A way through Scotland‘s world of religion - 89Small matters that matter –Edinburgh examined with a fine - tooth comb 91Edinburgh‘s Unequal Faces –Where Past and Future Come Together 94Good to Have a Plan! 96A place where traditionand modernity melt into one 97The Perfect Saturday Morning 99From a Kilt to a Rolex –Shopping in Edinburgh! 101Tips and Tricks 103Highland Hospitality - an unofficial rule 104INTERVIEW - Orlene, a university student 105Adventure: Public Bus! 107Snip ´n`Sip 108Glossary 108The Team 111Editorial 116
  4. 4. editor‘s noteSo you think you‘ve seen all the sights of Edinburgh? Sure, you‘vepadded around the castle and been startled by the one o’clockcannon; you‘ve strolled the Royal Mile and been bombarded withoffers of tartan scarves and postcards; heck, you‘ve even chokeddown some haggis and Irn Bru in Deacon Brodie’s at the height ofyour attempt to become acquainted with the Scottish capital andits customs. But have you perused the second-hand bookshops in theGrassmarket for some first-edition gems? Been twirled around by astranger at a traditional ceilidh? Donned some wellies and trekkedto one of barren isles of the city’s windswept bay? If not, you’vemissed out on some of the finest cultural offerings of Edinburgh, acity with an artistic spirit as hearty as its inhabitants and a socialtradition as robust as its landscape. Enter Back Alley Edinburgh, amagazine devoted to exploring the underground facets of life in the‘Burgh that have yet to make it into generic travel guides. We’vedone the dirty work of examining the niche nooks and cranniesof Auld Reekie’s darkest alleyways, and the cultural gems thatwe’ve unearthed will intrigue even the most conversant of visitors.Written for young and old adventurers alike, Back Alley Edinburghis a guide for anyone who’s a lass or laddie at heart! So grab yourkilt, knock back a wee dram, and get ready to delve into theshadowy alcoves of the city that even the Romans couldn’t conquer.Slainte!The Team
  5. 5. 6 appetising bitesWarning! This may raise your blood cholesterol! Sticky, greasy fingers, paper wrap from your mouth, a oil dripping don’t like fried food, as long as you have a sweet tooth and are in for drained with fat – for some people a treat, you should overcome your this may sound as much arepellant fear of taking in far too much satu- for a meal as ants or spiders. But for rated fat and try the famous Fried others, especially the Scots, this makes Mars Bar. For the author, the best a perfect take-away for lunch. Using way to have it is shortly before mid- batter and vegetable oil, Scots are night on the Royal Mile. Stop by at able to deep fry almost everything, the Clam Shell Take-Away on your and as far as take-away shop staff tour through bars and pubs, and it are concerned, there is nothing one will be freshly prepared right be- cannot deep fry, including meat, fore your eyes. As soon as your teeth potatoes, bread, vegetables, fruit, crush the thin crispy batter and the cookies, sweets, and even ice-cream, hot creamy caramel chocolate inside although the classic remains fish- melts softly into your mouth you’ll fish’n chips is still the all time favou- know it is worth every single calorie. rite, despite competition with haggis up here in Scotland. But even if you Text and Photos by Luise Hausweiler So do you dare to risk your health and/or figure? Check out these places: Clam Shell, 148 High Street: Qui- te pricey, but still number one in Old Town Castle Rock Chip Shop, 87 Grass- market: Close to the area’s pubs For something cheaper, try the ones along Leith Walk
  6. 6. appetising bites 7 Guide to Sweet EdinburghFudge- The sweet treat Edinburgh Rock- The commercial oneFudge is made out of milk, cream,butter, and Edinburgh Rock is a traditional Scot-sugar which tish confection, and it is quite distinctis mixed from the hard minty candy oftentogether found in seaside towns. Edinburghto make Rock consists of sugar, water, andsmooth and cream of tartar. It is formed intocreamy bars. sticks and has a soft and crumbly tex-While you ture. In Edinburgh, you will find thecan buy best sugar canes in all colours andpackaged fudge in supermarkets, I flavours, even Irnwould recommend going to a more Bru. Nowadays,traditional place like The Fudge almost all shops sellHouse. This shop, which is over 60 some sort of Edin-years old, sells handmade fudge in burgh Rock, but ifa variety of flavours. You can have you want a morecaramel (the most popular), coco- special place, trynut (my favourite), and even peanut the I Love Candybutter, made especially for American shop, a pretty pinkcustomers. In addition to the fudge, shop that is an experience in can try something even more It has loads of shelves filled withScottish, a treat known as tablet. It sweets, and the air is filled with theis very similar to fudge, but the tex- sweet smell of them. If you can’tture is grainier. Still, it melts in your decide on a treat, go for Edinburghmouth and leaves a creamy feeling Rock, which can never go wrong.on your tongue. The Fudge House isa traditional family business in which Scones- The all-rounderquality and friendliness are most im-portant- so when you stroll along What is one of the things Britain isthe Royal Mile, make sure you stop most famous for? The five o’clock teaby to experience the sweet treat. of course, and what would that be without scones, a fluffy kind of bread
  7. 7. 8 appetising bites with a crunchy outside. You can have to order this delicious pudding. The scones plain or with raisins, and they dessert consists of layers of raspber- are wonderful accompanied by but- ries, cream, hon- ter, jam, cream, or clotted cream. ey, oatmeal, and In Always Sunday, there is a great whisky (of course choice of scones: they have apple it does- we are in and cinnamon ones in addition to sa- Scotland!). Best to voury ones with dive your spoon cheese. Here into the glass and you can enjoy a taste all layers at scone at every once. I recently came across a Cra- time of the day, nachan accidentally in The World’s whether it is for End. This pub also serves other breakfast or as food, so the dessert is great after a small snack in a nice dinner. It might be a bit ex- between meals. pensive, but it is worth every penny. While the great- est variety can Text and Photos by Helene Hirschl be found in Always Sunday, the best-quality scones are served in Café Truva in Leith. Here you get Box Fudge: Fudge House, 197 your scones toasted and warm. On a Canongate, Royal Mile. Opening sunny day, you can sit outside with Hours: Mon-Sat 10-6, Sun 11-6. your scone, watch the Water of Leith, Price: £ 2.49 per 100 g. and relax after a busy day in the city. Box Scone: Always Sunday, 170 High Street. Mon-Fri 8-6, Sat&Sun Cranachan- The fancy one 9-6. Price for Scones: £ 1.75. Café Truva, 77 The Shore. 9-6.30 Although Cranachan is a typical daily. Price for Scones: £ 2.10. Scottish dessert, you can’t always find Box Rocks: I love Candy, 38 it easily. The best way to locate a Hanover Street. Opening Hours: place that sells Cranachan is to look Mon-Sat 10-6, Sun 11-6. Price for at all the restaurants and pubs you Rocks: 45 p. pass. If you are lucky enough to find Box Cranachan: World’s End, 4 one on the daily menu, cancel all High Street. Opening Hours: Daily your other plans and take your time 11-1. Price for Cranachan: £ 4.99.
  8. 8. appetising bites 9 How to find your inner gourmetSince Edinburgh lies try thebesidethe sea shore, why not right fresh For small budget foodies, how- ever, two places on Rose Streetseafood that is offered at several might be the more interesting:places around thecity? It won’t costyou a fortune!Scotland has alarge fishing areaaround its shoreswith seafoodfrom the Atlanticwest coast as wellas the ShetlandIsles in the North.It is very popu-lar throughoutScotland; in Ed-inburgh someof the fine butrather expen-sive restaurants (e.g. Fishers Bistro On one hand, there is the Mussel Inn,and The Shore Bar and Restau- which features a maritime interiorrant) can be found on The Shore in with colourful mosaics on the walls.Leith. While some places in the city‘s Specializing in all kinds of seafoodOld Town are as pricey as those at beyond just fish, it is the perfect placethe waterfront (like as the Mus- to have a very first meal of mussels,sel & Steak Bar on Grassmarket prawns, scallops and oysters. Go withand Creeler’s Restaurant in Hunter some friends, order different startersSquare just off the Royal Mile), all (£3-5) or grilled platters (£5-10), andof them have attractive lunch time share – not at all slimy! Even betteroffers of two courses from a set and befitting the restaurant’s namemenu for usually no more than £ 10. are the ½ kilo pots of mussels for only
  9. 9. 10 appetising bites £5.80, perfectly cooked in different ly more than £ 10. The recipes are stocks that you can choose personally down-to-earth but with a twist, a (for example, roasted pepper, Mo- genius combination of main ingre- roccan, or blue cheese) - delicious un- dients and lots of fresh herbs (for ex- til the last drop that you‘ll eventually ample, cider-smoked haddock with wipe up with the warm fresh bread thyme mussels). While the bread is that is refilled for free. not free, it is obvious- ly home-baked and On the other hand, very moist and well- there is The Seadogs, a worth the extra £ 0.95. quirky but classy place that is my personal fa- Having seafood might vourite because of its be a culinary adven- fantastic price-to-per- ture and gastronom- formance ratio. White ically-virgin soil for walls, partly decorated you, but it doesn‘t with ornamental wall- have to be expen- paper and various col- sive or pure glibber. lections of wood and So when you‘re in red plastic furniture, create a chic Edinburgh, sharpen your teeth but cosy atmosphere. The menu in- and senses and broaden your ho- cludes traditional Scottish seafood rizons on a delicious exploration! dishes, like tomato chowder and high standard fish and chips (with differ- Text and Photos by Luise Haus- ent sorts of fish like plaice or trout weiler, Photo by Helene Hirschl to choose from), as well as vegetar- ian meals like barley paella. During the daytime, everything is around £ 5, but the wider dinner menu are also reasonable- a dish costs rare- Seafood venues with great value for money: Costs: usually £ 5 - 10 Seadogs, 43 Rose Street Mussel Inn, 61 – 65 Rose Street
  10. 10. appetising bites 11Is it Possible to Fall in Love with a Potato?In terms of eating, vegetarians are body. It’s cheap, it’s a lot of food (the portions are over-generous), andoften at a disadvantage. But for- it’s is very, very yummy. The shoptunately Edinburgh offers a lot for only uses the freshest of ingredients,the meatless people. At Cockburn and you can taste that by far. An-Street, for example, there is an awe- other greatsome store thing are thecalled The many fillingsBaked Po- to choosetato Shop. from - farOf course, on too many toalmost every try all in onesecond corner trip. Theyin Edinburgh are all prettyyou can buy impressive,a baked po- with stag-tato, but this gering rangeis without a of veggiedoubt the best place in the city to and vegan options from peppersget a baked potato. For years, the and avocado to chili, curry, cheeseshop has sold potatoes in every vari- and beans, coleslaw, tuna, or sourations and sizes. The great cooking cream. There are alternatives to theand good service of the Baked Po- main stuff: mushrooms, cous cous,tato Shop keeps the customers com- sweet corn, of course the delicateing through the door in flocks. Even home-made soup of the day, variedif you’re not a vegetarian or vegan, selection of filled rolls, filled pittasthe delicious taste of their potatoes or sausage rolls- the list of the deli-is simply mouthwatering for every-
  11. 11. 12 appetising bites cious meals goes on and on. Being a vegetarian or vegan has rarely felt better. These stuffed potatoes are something you absolutely must try to com- plete a Scottish visit. For dessert, you should try one of the home- made cakes, es- pecially the vegan carrot cake. After sharing dinner with them. If it’s good all that, you’re likely to feel totally weather, find a place along the Roy- pigged out, but it´s absolutely worth al Mile to sit down, eat, and watch it. The Baked Potato Shop is mainly the world go by. You will love it!

 a take-away shop, but you will find a very small square table with a Text and Photos by Nadine Massag bench. Why don´t you try to have a sit? Frequently, you will meet complete strangers there with excit- ing and funny stories from around the whole world, and you will love Where to find: 56 Cock- burn Street Edinburgh EH1 1PB Costs: From £ 1.40 to £ 4.00
  12. 12. 14 old but not boring People, Let‘s Go Dancing! ...B ut not the kind of dance where you don’t move away from the safe spot you found somewhere on the dance floor, hardly moving your body and only rhythmically nodding with the head to the base drum. No! We’ll be going to a Ceilidh! ...Excuse me, what, you ask? The name Ceilidh is Gaelic and has its origin in the Highlands. Traditionally, clans always had to arrange their In Edinburgh there are many great own entertainment programme be- places where people get together cause there was nothing else to do in the evening (after supper- ‘cause around the area at night, so clan you will need loads of energy) to chiefs would invite all the clan mem- enjoy cheerful music, to meet out- bers to their houses, usually the big- going people, to see Kilts which spin gest of them all, where they gath- around dangerously high, and of ered to tell stories, play music, and course- to do a lot of dancing! At a take advantage of the good chance Ceilidh there is always a caller who for young men to meet young girls of announces the upcoming dance and their clan. While the Ceilidh originally explains the steps to it. You then had nothing to do with dancing, over repeat the steps and everything time dancing became an established comes together for an energetic and part of the gatherings and is now the cheerful dance, which pften involves central idea of Ceilidh nights. As one changing partners, many twists, of Scotland’s many cultural tradi- jumping, and sometimes being spun tions, participants must do the tradi- around in the air. While it might be tional dancing to the tunes of a Scot- a bit daunting at the beginning see- tish band and join in the drinking and ing some “real” Scots in their national the socialising with all kinds of people dress jumping around as if there’s no to get the full hands-on experience. tomorrow to get warmed, do not
  13. 13. old but not boring 15 Places to go to for aworry and don’t decide to just “turn Ceilidh nightoff” the brain, thinking you don’tknow how to do this. Rather, join The Lot, 4-6 Grassmarket Edin-in, learn the steps and have a great burgh EH1 2JU;night out; it will be an awesome ex- Tuesdays from 8pm-11pm; Tick-perience and a blast you would not et: £6want to miss out on. After all, there’salways a bar close by so you mightas well drink the worries away beforegetting started on the dance floor! The Ghillie Dhu, 2 Rutland Place Edinburgh EH1 2AD;Text by Gabriella Friesen Friday nights 7.30pm; £25 (din-Photos by Gabriella Friesen, Magda- Gabrielle ner incl.)lena Hinterhölzl & Andrea Micheal