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I’ve been trying to post about my Edinburgh trip since Thursday afternoon, but there’s something going on with Flickr and I haven’t been able to update my pictures. So I’ve uploaded the pictures for this trip to my old Photobucket account, and we’ll see how it goes.

So, Edinburgh. You know what’s crazy about Edinburgh? There are MOUNTAINS in the middle of Edinburgh. I’m not sure that there’s another city in the world that has this kind of outrageous natural beauty rising out of a metropolis: Holyrood Park is unique.

I decided to start my Edinburgh posting with my climb up Arthur’s Seat, because it was pretty much epic, but by the time I started out from my guest house on Gilmore Street, I had already had adventures with Scottish taxis, been incapable of turning on the shower in my room (I figured it out eventually), negotiated a new currency, and forgotten several times that Edinburgh is in fact an hour behind Paris (this particular confusion came back to haunt me a couple of times over the slightly-more-than-24 hours I was in Scotland).

First of all, the walk to Holyrood Park from Balmore House was truly glorious. There are flowers everywhere in Edinburgh; they’re like a blanket over the lawn of the Meadows.




I took kind of a round-about way of getting to the park, which meant that I came in from a small entrance to the side of everything and hadn’t the foggiest idea which hill was Arthur’s Seat, which is 823 feet high. Holyrood Park is completely unmarked, as far as I can tell, and there is no signage, no arrows saying, “This way to Arthur’s Seat.” This gives it kind of a Brigadoon-like feel, as though all of a sudden you’ve gone back in time to a part of Scotland that only appears once every hundred years. (Not to mention that I may or may not have listened to Brigadoon all the way there and halfway up…)

Anyway, I got into the park and stared up at the hills for a few minutes, trying to decide which one to climb.



There were two directly in front of me, and I picked the taller of the two. Perhaps this was Arthur’s Seat, and besides, it had stairs all the way up to the top…which I thought was going to help, but actually since I am utterly out of shape for things like this, made it even harder. But that’s okay, because the views were truly spectacular.



Never-ending stairs to nowhere…


And more gorgeous view.






The reason I have so many different views of Edinburgh from the hill is because I had to stop every few steps to catch my breath. Oof. But I did eventually make it to the top, only to look across at the neighboring hill and see this:


I don’t know if you can see it, but that’s a little pillar thing. Which marks Arthur’s Seat. Arthur’s Seat, by the way, is characterized by Wikipedia as “an easy climb.” I probably should have read that before I started out, because I would have known that I was on the wrong one. But I gritted my teeth and went to the top of that one too.



I made a friend!


And then I came back down, because I looked at my phone and it said 10:30, and I was supposed to meet my friend Naomi for tea at noon. (On the walk back to my guest house, I realized in a blinding flash of clarity that when it said 10:30, it was actually 9:30, so I had all kinds of time.)





Then the craziest thing happened. All of a sudden, as I was walking down the hill, I heard somebody singing. And not just sort of humming, but popping out tenor high C’s in what sounded like “Che gelida manina” from La Bohème. I could hear it everywhere and I couldn’t figure out where it was coming from. I was hoping the whole way down to run into the singer, but part of me believes that it was somebody with a stereo blasting Pavarotti into Holyrood. On the other hand…Brigadoooooooon…Brigadooooooon…

Haste ye back,