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Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Hello, Scotland! I've Missed You!

It is difficult to convey in words the joy in one's return to a place that has so captivated one's heart.  I first set foot in Scotland six years ago. That was my first trip overseas in a very long time, and done completely solo. Here it was, July 2015 and I was back again, committed to a two-month journey with only my backpack, my tent and camping gear, kind friends throughout the country, and a determination to slow down and completely immerse myself in this magnificent country and its culture. My first stop, as it is for many, was Edinburgh.

Edinburgh is an unusual place, unlike any other in all of Scotland.  The city in its 'Old Town' section was
built up within the confines of Flodden's Wall out of matters of security following a devastating defeat at the hands of the English army centuries ago. The resulting growth within those parameters left  Edinburgh nowhere to go but up, which lead to a fascinating evolution in architecture - towering ornate sandstone edifices standing shoulder to shoulder with one another, and so many quirky little closes and wynds burrowing between them, each with its own unique personality.

Tourists tend to follow the Royal Mile and not give these little offshoots a glance, but in so doing
they miss a fascinating feature of the town.  One can duck into any number of these, escape the humming noise and bustle of modern tourism, and slip into a pocket where time seems to jump back a century or three.  I found the masonry all by itself compelling, and the quiet solitude a welcome relief.  There is so much history to explore here, one is hard pressed to even begin to fathom its depths.

The first two days were spent just adjusting to the time zone and reacquainting myself with this magnificent town.  Shoving jetlag aside, I explored as much as I could in the time I had before I was to head north.  Everywhere you look, there is more to see, and there are museums built around every aspect of this town.  I visited a few of them during my second visit into town, with the guidance of a kind friend who was born, raised, and still lives here.

Bear with me, I am a day late in getting this up as I am simultaneously prepping for an art show, but I'll show you a little bit more of Auld Reekie on Thursday - with some of Edinburgh's trad music too.

Until next post, all the best!

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