As a surprise, I was taken on a trip to Aberdeen two weekends ago. So much spending and eating dinner in random places then ensued that I had to split our adventures up into two parts. Part 1 is here.
Sunday: After heading out early to grab breakfast, Dave discovered Gregg’s wasn’t open – so I joined him and we headed out onto the streets in search of Books & Beans on Belmont Street, finding it reasonably quickly with our growing knowledge of Aberdeen geography.
Books & Beans was lovely. If you’re in Aberdeen, and like books and/or good food, go there. Tasty breakfast food, freshly baked cakes and shelves of reasonably priced second-hand books. Dave had a chicken and bacon sandwich and a coke, while I took the more decadent route of pancakes with Herseys chocolate syrup and a smoothie. It was a strawberry smoothie with Cherry Sourz in it – something I didn’t quite twig until after ordering it. So a breakfast boozy smoothie was odd, but nice nonetheless. I grabbed an Anne MacAffrey book while I was there, and we met up with last night’s fashion show DJ, Debra, so she could collect some of her things from our hotel room.
Aberdeen has a lot of shops similar to Inverness (and almost identical shops to Edinburgh, but less of them). The Bon Accord centre is particularly eerie because as soon as you walk in it’s almost a mirror image of Inverness’ Eastgate Phase II.
One difference is that the Thorntons chocolate fountain still exists, where I tried a Thorntons chocolate shot (£2 each). You can’t drink one of those without feeling ridiculous happy about it, but they also make you feeling a bit silly as you try to drink it all before it solidifies, and then leave you wondering if it would be acceptable to take the last bits out with your fingers.
Later, we headed to popular comic book, cult movie and generally geeky shop Forbidden Planet (similar to Inverness’ Heroes For Sale, but it’s part of a large chain) which had a nice 3-for-2 deal on. We ended up buying the first 3 volumes of Marvel Zombies for superhero comic fan Dave, the first 3 Scott Pilgrim books for my more indie tastes, and a brilliant Doctor Who poster showing the inner workings of a Dalek.
Returning back to the hotel room, we spent a few geeky hours reading through the comics, drinking tea and coffee and eating Milka chocolate. We also watched a movie about Genghis Khan, for no real reason, before dashing back to Forbidden Planet to get the next lot of our comics. Alas, it was closed.
That night we headed to Slains Castle for dinner, a horror-themed pub that’s part of the Eerie Pub Co. chain, which make some of my favourites cocktails. I didn’t get ID-ed at any point here! It was pretty amazing. We grabbed a pair of their 7 Deadly Sins cocktails, and the barman confused us both by putting whipped cream and toffee sauce on top of them – he was brilliant. Dave had Lust (Russian Standard Vodka, Malibu, cranberry juice and a lime) in a ridiculously girly, long-stemmed wide cocktail glass, and I had Sloth (Baileys, Kahlua, Russian Standard, and Disaronno with cream and milk).
For dinner I had a nice chicken tikka masala with white rice, and naan bread, Dave had hunter’s chicken (chicken breast wrapped in bacon) and we both had garlic bread. It was all good, the garlic bread was burnt but still delicious and Dave was eager to tell the barman how much he enjoyed what he called “half a chicken on a plate”.
After that, Dave had Envy (Creme de Menthe Green, Creme de Cacao white with cream and milk poured over ice) and I had some tea, and we headed out.
Down an alley next to Slains, we found a well hidden Baskin Robins! Unable to resist it’s retro decor and promise of delicious ice cream, we got a sundae each coffee, rum & raisin and candy floss for Dave and caramel banana, cookie dough and candy floss for me, both with an unnecessary helping of hot fudge sauce. The server got confused half-way through over who’s was whos, and was very glad when we both wanted the same sauce and no other toppings.
Monday: Most of the packing was done the night before, but we woke up early to finish off the last few items on our to-do list. For breakfast we called at the nearest Wetherspoons, the Archibald Simpson, which doesn’t look much like a Wetherspoons from outside apart from having ‘J.D. WETHERSPOONS’ printed on barrels at the door. I got ID-ed, though it was far too early for drinking so we just had a full Scottish breakfast and coffee for Dave, and a bacon roll and tea for me. The bacon roll was a bit rubbish, with only one piece of burnt bacon, but the full breakfast was good. Isn’t it odd how cafes and restaurants can always get perfect toast?
After that we grabbed our suitcases and were off to Forbidden Planet to grab the last volumes of Scott Pilgrim!, a Scott Pilgrim Who’s Who shirt for Dave and Marvel Zombies Volume 4, Dead Days and Marvel Zombies Return.
Returning to Union Square, it was time to check out Hobbycraft to get some things for Dave’s craft-y mum and little brother. It’s a huge shop of artsy goodness, and if I’d had more time I would have gladly spent hours pouring over their stationary, paper, brushes and inks. Fortunately for my bank balance we didn’t, and it was off to grab the train. I got a Juicemaster smoothie along the way and it wasn’t that good, very watery.
Taking trains anywhere outside of Inverness is a bit odd, because Inverness and Nairn don’t use the ticket-accepting barrier system and you just get your ticket checked on-board. So I needed to remember to have my ticket ready, then feed it to the machines and cross my fingers they’d give it back.
Getting the 11.59 train, we were back in Nairn was around 14.00, trundling our suitcases across the work-in-progress streets. I saved the last few pages of Scott Pilgrim until I’d arrived home, rushed out for milk and made a cup of tea to enjoy with it, and we chilled out with our comic books until later that afternoon (you can read a gushing post about how much I love the Scott Pilgrim series here). Then Dave’s cousin, 3-year-old Chloe arrived and Dave spent the evening playing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 with his little brother while Chloe, myself, Dave’s sister Ashley and Dave’s mum all headed out to the newly arrived showies.
All in all, a great – if expensive – weekend away. Aberdeen, you’re pretty cool, I’ll see you again some time.