Chris and I spent a wonderful few days in Edinburgh last week – our first wedding anniversary, our first visit to Scotland and our first city break planned almost entirely using Google Maps, the Google Places app and Foursquare. We dipped into a couple of guide books before we left to get a sense of the city, the areas, the main attractions but the real triumph of our trip was the food and that was where our smartphones* came into their own…
In a trip that admittedly sounds more like a Gadget Show challenge than a city break, we found ourselves checking our phones for cafes and restaurants twice a day but, most importantly, reading the online reviews and using them to choose venues for lunch and dinner. And, you know what? It worked! Without fail, every single meal we ate was simply wonderful. We had cream teas in the Royal Yacht Britannia’s prim and proper tea room; delicious tapas and a pitcher of beer in Cafe Andaluz; wholesome soup and a sandwich at a little deli called the Edinburgh Larder; authentic Thai in the exotic surroundings of Thai Lemongrass (a few doors down from our townhouse hotel); rich, creamy gnocchi and a bottle of Cab Sauv at La Piazza; burritos, served with complimentary spiced popcorn and Gomez on the stereo at Tex Mex II; and beautiful green tea that smelt and tasted of summer at the eteaket tea boutique.
The very best restaurant, in my opinion, was the delightful and intimate French restaurant, Cafe Marlayne, on Thistle Street. Just nine small tables, menus handwritten on blank sheets of paper and photocopied, gilt-framed pictures on the wallpapered walls and a ceiling-high CD case in the corner: it was like eating in the dining room of your favourite foodie friends.
Can’t help wondering though…would our trip have been such a success without the technology?
*The Taylor household smartphones of choice are an HTC Magic and a Samsung Galaxy. No iPhones here, thank you very much. We are Android all the way.