While living and working in Edinburgh in 2008 I set out to write one million words in 366 days... but only managed 800,737.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

In Search of Another Edinburgh

I have been living in Edinburgh for six months now. Six months is long enough to know there is more to this city than Old Town vs New Town. Long enough to get a bit spoilt by the oldness of everything. To forget to lean out the window and spy the castle on a sunny day. To pull the curtains, without blinking, on “the best example of Neo-classical Georgian architecture in Edinburgh” (I’m quoting a guidebook I read in Matalan the other day while waiting for Marisa to finish browsing), aka West Register House.

I still believe I will never arrive in another city and think, "This is more amazing than the time I walked up the steps from the Waverley Train Station for the first time." But sometimes I like to see things that won’t be mentioned in guidebooks, grace postcards, or appear on your bog standard travel blog.

There is another Edinburgh out there, smushed between the castles and kirkyards, you just have to go looking.

So that’s what Marisa and I set out to do today.

But first we had to drop some books off at the library, which meant walking through the daffodil-overloaded Princes Street Gardens and up the Mound to the George IV bridge. It’s hard to think of a more iconic twenty minute walk in Edinburgh. Anywho, we then struck out for new ground, and found a mosque and a decaying office building on the edges of the university.

This is more like it, I thought.

We powered on past St. Leonards (Rebus’ Police Station… ur… ) and into Newington. We passed the Scottish Widows offices, which Marisa said reminded her of Christchurch. I agreed and took a photo.

But then we found ourselves so close to Salisbury Crags and Holyrood Park, and decided, since we hadn’t walked around Queens Drive this way, we might as well. Who knows what sort of Edinburgh we’d find.

It was a lovely walk (I sound like a nana when I say that, don’t I?), passing Duddingston Loch and the village (a village, ooh!) of, ah, Duddington, and then we found ourselves half a mile from Craigmillar Castle. We decided to have a nosy, see what the admission price was, etc. When we got to the carpark, there was a Scottish Heritage person telling everyone it was free to look around the castle today (usually it’s £4.20 or something).

So we set out looking for the un-Edinburgh, and ended up at a castle! This says a lot about Edinburgh, but also that, whatever we tell ourselves, we’re still tourists after six months.


Anonymous said...

We went to Napier for the cricket - Trevor not only forgot the pegs and poles for the tent, but he also forgot the bung for his airbed.


Laura said...

You're doing the same tour in about 2 months. Just so you know.