Said Miss Brodie in her best Edinburgh voice. Speaking of Miss Brodie, did I mention that the main reason I went to Edinburgh was this:
(apologies for the Japanese subtitles)
Anyway. After my epic hike, I showered and changed into cuter clothes and shoes for sight-seeing around Edinburgh. I met up with my friend Naomi at the Scott Memorial on Princes Street. That’s Walter Scott:
Princes Street is unfortunately under an insane amount of construction (side note: later on in the day we ran into a group of Scottish school kids who were doing a survey on tourism in Edinburgh. They asked me what my favorite thing about the city was, I said the architecture; they asked me my least favorite thing, I said the construction. The kid who had asked that question was really confused–you like the architecture but not the construction? Naomi had to translate), so I don’t have any pictures, but that’s where all of the touristy shopping is. George Street is where my preferred shopping would be. Actually, I found Edinburgh to be very much within my own style profile. I saw shop after shop full of clothes I would like to wear. Luckily I was on a budget, or I could have done some serious damage.
Naomi led me to Eteaket, her favorite teahouse just off Princes Street, for tea and scones. Neither of us wanted real food when there was cream tea to be had! I had always supposed to cream tea to be, well, tea with cream in it, but actually it involves tea and scones and clotted cream and jam.
This is me before digging in, with an empty cup because my tea was not done steeping.
Tea with jam (with jam and bread!).
I started off with cream first and then jam, like you would with butter, but the cream was so fabulous that I switched to Naomi’s way, jam first.
And then it was gone.
We then proceeded to walk it all off, all over the old part of the city (possibly called, in fact, the Old City, but that feels so Jerusalem to me that I’m not sure it’s right!).
Of course there is the castle…
One of the coolest things about Edinburgh is that it’s so multi-leveled. I remember walking somewhere near my guest house and seeing houses at my eye-level and then more houses that were up above them, farther away. Very cool–and it makes for some really good exercise!
People wearing kilts!
Poetry on the walls at the Scottish Parliament, which is unfortunately an incredibly ugly building, surrounded by gorgeous old architecture and cobblestones:
A view of hills from the Parliament building:
I said goodbye to Naomi, who had to hop on the train to work, around 3:30, and made my way back to my guest house for a nap. Then I took myself to the movies (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, a lovely feel-good movie with Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton, Celia Imrie, Bill Nighy, and the kid from Slumdog Millionaire) and out for Indian food (eggplant in some kind of peanut sauce, and a mango lassi, of course), and finally, to Bedfordshire.
Yesterday morning before I left (after the world’s largest cup of coffee and several misadventures with Scottish ATMs), I went to find the school where The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was filmed. Unfortunately it doesn’t look much like I remembered it, and the pictures were quite uninspiring (I only managed a couple of them anyway, because I didn’t want to look like a total creeper taking pictures of an elementary while standing outside looking in).
I sat on a bench for a few minutes before I headed back, just pondering. My trip to Edinburgh was my first travel experience since I arrived in Europe where I didn’t have to communicate in a foreign language, though sometimes it felt like a foreign language! I had some trouble making myself understood a couple of times, and more than once I had to ask somebody to repeat what they had said. But I also had the good fortune to listen to lots of accents that sounded like John Hannah.
I think if pressed, I could probably live in Edinburgh. I like the city’s style. I like the proliferation of tartan (I definitely bought a pair of tartan tights when I was killing time before leaving for the airport, having screwed up the time difference AGAIN), and bagpipes, shortbread and cream tea. It feels small and intimate and friendly, and if you ever need to get away from the city, you can walk into Holyrood Park and walk through the heather on the hill and the mist of May in the gloaming.