It was 6:30 am when I woke up and looked out the window, through the fog I could see some houses along the road. The driver had announced “we are about to arrive to Edinbrah -or something like that-” I was thrilled! even with the cold penetrating to the bones on that autumn morning, nothing that a good coffee can’t fix.
Edinburgh looked mysterious, hidden in the morning fog, like a shy person trying to slowly step forward as the daylight grows stronger. Once the fog vanishes Edinburgh unveils all its magnificence, old, beautiful, calm, intriguing, inviting you to explore at your own pace, here there is no need to rush, here rain is part of the daily routine, and people make their best to speak slow and clear, don’t panic!
Thoughts start invading my mind, what do I know about Scotland? There it is, a flashback to my childhood, of that first time I saw a documental about Scotland, then my fascination for its Highlands began. The sound of bagpipes, sights of castles and Tartan, stories of battles and a legendary monster all come at once. This will definitely be a trip to experience what Scotland is really about.
A curious mind like mine quickly starts making sense of the surroundings, first things first get a map: Right, in the centre Princes Street Gardens, to the left Waverley train station, to the right on top of the hill Edinburgh Castle, from there the Royal Mile takes you to Holyrood Castle. The Old town has two view points besides the castle, Calton Hill and Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park (in case you are wondering, Yes! I know this information by heart!). Calculations come and go as I think “quite a lot to see, and only one full day in the city, time to start walking, but first let me take a coffee”.
I truly, deeply, madly love old cities, which means that ain’t no valley low enough, ain’t no river wild enough, and of course ain’t no mountain high enough to keep me from walking all over until my legs and feet hurt, okay maybe if it rains and get muddy… I don’t particularly like sightseeing buses, I don’t like the easy way, I like the challenge of finding my way through a new city, walking, stopping, taking pictures, walking, stopping, readjusting the route, recording which way I came from and which way I should go next, I was Google maps’ earliest and coolest version -I am still the coolest version- 😉
Everywhere from Princess Street to Holyrood Park, all along the Royal Mile, Edinburgh offers an indescribable experience, but I will do my best to explain. As I reach the royal Mile, beautiful architecture welcomes me on both sides of the road, and as I walk towards the castle some shops are already opening, music of bagpipes playing, it is in the atmosphere, it is in my head, it is in my heart, all around me, I feel it, I am in Scotland!
Suddenly, goosebumps, I feel happy and amazed by the view over the city from the castle, to the right the Old Town, to the left the New Town. The castle is what I expected and more, old but strong, cold but welcoming. Rain announces I can’t climb up to Arthur’s Seat, but I can still walk through Holyrood Park, not one person in sight, a car every now and then, it is as if I had booked this piece of Edinburgh just for me, I don’t mind the rain or the wind freezing the skin of my face, my next stop is already in sight, Calton Hill!
Calton hill has this unique power to make you feel like you couldn’t be in any better place in the world. The marvelous memories of Edinburgh at sundown need to be cherished for ever in a special place: Rain has stopped, and now sunlight breaks through the clouds, illuminating little patches of the city, like if it was pointing out where should I go. It is 3:00 o’clock and I have to make my way back to the hotel, not without thinking “How lucky I am to be here right now, even if I am wet and feeling sick from the cold, I’ll drink some tea and sleep, it was a long but unforgettable day, tomorrow is another day and I need my energy back. Tomorrow it’s highlands day!” Smiling I open the door of my room.
I saw a TEDx video by Laura Berman recently, she said: “satisfaction doesn’t come from what you do, it comes from who you get to be while you are doing it”. I become adventurous, explorer, tireless, strategist, photographer, very sociable, romantic, open minded, what I learn stays forever when I travel, and apparently when I travel back to my travel memories I also become a writer. Now your turn, who do you become when you travel?
Hasta pronto! See you soon! Auf Wiedersehen! A presto! Au revoir!