I say “Bonjour” with hearty start-of-term enthusiasm as it’s my first week back at college (of final year, in fact). Doubtless the enthusiasm will fade but I’m starting as I truly mean to go on, and you have to respect me for that.
Last weekend I (finally) went to Edinburgh to visit Katie, last seen in my Budapest post. She’s been studying in Aberdeen for the last three years and I’ve really been meaning to pop over to the Scottish capital for a long time, so this summer she insisted I finally just book the tickets. And I was not disappointed.
Everyone loves Edinburgh, don’t they? Have you ever met someone, having just returned from a break to the ‘Windy City’, who reports it to be any less than fantastic? It really is beautiful. There are two sides to the city – the ‘old side’, dominated by The Royal Mile (my heaven – I will explain why in a moment) and the ‘new side’ where the trendier shoppers and cafe-goers can be found, sipping a latte or a glass of wine in Badger & Co. or moseying about what can only be described as the most ‘#goals’ shop in the world, Anthropology.
I made the mistake of booking a 6am flight from Dublin. In many ways it wasn’t a mistake, it was a super idea – it meant I could take advantage of a full day in the city upon my arrival, albeit a very very tired day. Still, for a €25 flight, who can complain? After dosing me up on milky coffee and toast, Katie outlined the plan for the day: Get the train from Dalgety Bay into the centre of town, climb to Arthur’s Seat, explore the Royal Mile (complete with even more coffee and cake in one of the glorious fresh-coffee-scented cosy cafes) and shop through the Old Town. I mentioned the immediate liking I took towards the Old Town. That’s mostly because, aside from the beautiful, old brick buildings and nooks and crannies filled with such gems as the Writer’s Museum and craft markets, the whole street is lined with shops selling the most amazing lambswool scarves. And I love me a lambswool scarf, it doesn’t matter what temperature it is outside.
After a lazy meander down the Royal Mile – starting by the castle at the top where the remains of Fringe Festival pandemonium could still be seen – we began the trek up to Arthur’s Seat.
Now, as you probably know by now, I love anywhere high up enough to see a large expanse of city or land around me. I feel very peaceful up there, and also a bit regal, like a lion surveying the grasslands. But recently, and I think particularly since our Bray Head Mission, I feel especially peaceful out in the wilderness, climbing over things like rocks and having the wind blowing around my head and feeling somewhat disconnected from the world around me. So in short, I loved going to Arthur’s Seat (despite a rogue shard of glass sticking through my shoe and into my foot, which I had to tend to with a napkin Katie had in her handbag, sitting at the side of the pathway as hoards of tourists and Weekend-Families-With-Kids trudged by).
I said to Katie “Do a model pose” and she did, and then she told me to and I did but first she captured be getting a gust of dust in my eyes.
On the way down it was a bit trickier than coming up…because we forgot which way we’d come from. Still, we stumbled down in the direction we deemed less likely to lead us to a steep drop. These chaps didn’t have such luck.
Anyway, we got home in one piece (well, we got to the Scarf Shops in one piece, and bundled ourselves up nicely before grabbing some burritos – at a little spot called Illegal Jack’s, if you’re interested or a burrito fanatic like me).
The next day consisted of shopping a lot, eating a lot, wandering about the gardens in front of the National Gallery, and taking a trip around the gallery itself to say a quick hello to our old pals Rubens and Velazquez.
…topped off with a rooftop cocktail at Harvey Nichols. Because rooftop views. Mojitos. We’ve been over this.
Anyway, overall the weekend was magical and I was kicking myself for never having followed Katie’s advice sooner and booking tickets. But I will be back sooner rather than later. But until then I have lots of important Final Year and House Things to sort out. Someone stole my outdoor bin this week, for example. So I have to wait until Collection Day and then stalk out and find my bin during the night. I do lead a fast-paced life, don’t I?
‘Til next time, then. Thanks for reading, as always,