I spent a lovely few days in Edinburgh with a friend from New York who had never been. Although the skies were Paris-esque gray, it gave the city a somber but elegant air.
While it has become quite a tourist mecca and a gateway into Scotland, it's still a nice place to explore. They make it easy to get around, and being in my first anglo-speaking place in a few months was much more comforting than I thought it would be.
It's by no means a huge city, and you can cover most of what needs to be seen in a few days and not feel cheated. It's filled with old neighborhoods and gray stone buildings and a good art and band scene.
The main thoroughfares are filled with tourist shops, selling the perpetually marketable items such as kilts and butter cookies and cashmere of dubious quality, and the odd loch ness monster. Street corner musicians forego the usual guitar and drums in favor of the in comical and insufferable bagpipe.
I do love the big, wild park on the edge of town.
Last time I was here, I got, as we say in Maine, "Wicked vertigo". This time, I was better, but it is windy enough out to give you pause to get close to the cliff edge.
Oh, and silly me, how could I forget about the ambrosia of Scotland?
I've been a Scotch drinker and a fan of single malts since, well, ehhh, before I should have been legally drinking expensive whiskey. While my taste have changed quite a bit after enough of those rough mornings with Laugavulin and Talisker still on my brain, I am super happy to sit down and have a chat with a bartender and let him pick something for me, and get a nice mellow evening of sipping and chatting. I was introduced to some very nice new-to-me Campbelltown malts.
It totally makes the haggis go down so much easier.
There seems to have been a bit more of a foodie scene since the last time I've been. It's expensive to eat well here as the £ is really strong to the € and the $, but I found some decent places and didn't starve. I was really happy to get cheese that wasn't from France. As much as I love fromage, it's nice to have some Cotswald and Isle of Mull Cheddar and Wendslydale every once in a while.
It can get quite dreary here in winter, but fall was nice to visit as the summer crowds were long gone. Knitwear was donned and the scotch kept the chill off at the end of the day. I can not ask for much more in life without seeming overly picky.