1:49 PM, 8/28/06
I love Edinburgh. From its old buildings to its friendly people to its affordable prices (finally!), the place is great. Of course my affable disposition toward the city might also have to do with the fact that I finally got to sleep in. Yes, and to 10:00 no less! Granted, that used to be long before I’d wake up back in the states—but that fact aside, it felt goood. I woke up and wandered the city, searching for a grocery store at which to get breakfast. One of the girls at the hostel had given me directions, although despite an hour of searching, I didn’t find it. Upon returning and getting directions (which strangely seemed much easier than the first set), I headed back out and found the place. And as I said above, the prices were so reasonable! I actually bought food for the next several days without—WITHOUT—draining my bank account (which incidentally, I checked today… and yeah…shouldn’t have done that.) Anyway, so I brought groceries and then went to a bakery that was part of a chain called Greggs (they clearly had me in mind) where I got some breakfast rolls. I returned to the hostel, intending to take a shower, but seeing as all my clothing except that which I’m wearing was still out at the Laundromat, I had to wait. I’m kind of finicky about showering when I travel. If I’m going to be going around new places, I want to look snazzy (and you never know who you’ll meet
So Edinburgh. If the countryside was beautiful, the city seemed to have a heightened asceticism to match. Here in the city center, even the buildings for apartments and offices are structured in a style that meshes flawlessly with the antiquity and sophistication of the older city buildings. I just walked around the city with a smile on myself, absorbing the medieval-ness of everything. I could almost close my eyes, strip away the sound of cars, and see in my imagination’s eye the city hundreds of years ago, where people walked the cobbled lanes, bartering over produce or on their way to court. Maybe it’s because my surname is Scottish and my blood feels home here, but I could see this city rivaling Syndey as my favorite city. That said, I’m note sure how long I’ll stay. On the one hand, I’d like to keep moving and seeing everything, on the other hand, I’d also like to absorb the city and visit the countryside. I found out that Jacob intends to stay back in Ireland and bike the country with the Canadian we met. With that, comes more liberation on my travel schedule. However, I’m disappointed at losing my traveling companion who I’d hoped to continue with until the end of September. Sometimes it’s easier to meet people and do things in pairs. It may force me to be more social at the hostels (not that it’s really that hard). I sent him a message encouraging him to bike Scotland instead of Ireland, as the countryside here seemed more beautiful and the roads, safer. I doubt he’ll take up the suggestion, but I would surely prefer to bike Scotland over Ireland.
I settled into the hostel with the rest of my morning and wrote some emails. I found that I couldn’t post my blogs from the computer at the hostel so I’ll be posting this along with my other two momentarily at the coffee shop I’m at. The coffee shop—the name involving something about an elephant—claims to been voted to have the best coffee in Edinburgh. I can believe it! The coffee was fantastic, and moreover, this is “the birthplace of Harry Potter.” And no, that’s not why I picked it, but it is kind of cool to think that J.K. Rowling sat in this room (I’m there right now) as she wrote what became the most popular children’s books ever. Coming to places like this (as well as treading the streets of Dublin, where once greats like James Joyce and Oscar Wilde walked) puts one in close connection to a literary legacy. There’s a certain connection a writer feels in these places, an energy if you will. The creative spirit is strong. And now, with “Edinburgh’s best coffee” pulsing through my veins, and the creative spirit hovering in the air, I think I may settle in for a bit of work on my novel, which has been forsook these past two weeks.
Tags: coffee, Edinburgh, Europe, Food, Money, Scotland, Travel