Tuesday, September 19, 2006
I love Edinburgh! I love Scotland! Why did it take me 7 years to go back to visit? That was the one constant this weekend, everywhere we went, everything we did, I kept thinking it was absolutely mind-boggling that I have stayed away for so long. I think part of it was that I realized how far away I am from my student days. I think I harbor the illusion that I am still really young, just out of school really. Its actually been a long time since I was a student. You'd think that the whole baby business would have helped remind me how much time has passed, but actually not.
I can't really figure out what it is I love about Scotland. I mean, there is a very long list of things I like, including but not limited to:
* the misty looking hills that surround the city
* the way my hair gets curly and my skin feels "dewy" because the air is so wet
* the Scottish accent
* the way you can see the sea from the center of town
* the long narraw stairways that run up and down Old Town
* the way grass is so green
* the buildings all look old, making me imagine all the hundreds of stories that they hold. It always feels to me like living in the middle of a history book
* the men walking around in kilts- especially when it is paired with something like a sweatshirt, as if a kilt and jeans were basically interchangeable
* the names of the streets- Canongate, Haymarket, Calton Hill, Alton Circus, Drumsheugh Gardens, Pleasance
But I don't know why I love it. I felt just giddy walking around town. We didn't even do anything special. We went to see our old apartment which seemed MILES away from everything. I must have commented three or four times on how long the walk was to get there and how my legs and ass must have been in the best shape of my life when I was doing that walk, uphill, once or twice a day for a year. I was tired just walking the downhill section. I must have been in Olympic athlete type shape when I was in school and carrying 20 pounds of books on my shoulder. I have to go and look at the old photos because I must have looked like a goddess back then.
So, we walked all the way down the Royal Mile and Canongate to the old apartment and HolyRood House and Arthur's Seat. We saw the new Parliament buildings (didn't like it at all). Saw the new Harvey Nicks store (great view from the resto). Saw 4 Starbucks, compared to zero when I was in school. Just wandered around town really, which was the nicest way to see things. Sheer exhaustion kept us from going up to visit my last apartment, which was next to the old Royal Infirmary. The taxi driver told me that it had been knocked down and part of it was now flats. I can't even imagine what it must look like without that huge building there. Sadly, we had the time but not the energy. We decided instead to participate in that other traditional Scottish activity, beer drinking, and parked our tired bodies in a pub instead. Sadly, this morning the scale pointed out that I would have done better to hike across town and see an empty hospital than sit and put one more bad thing in my body, as today I can barely squeeze this body into its jeans.
We also went to Rosslyn Chapel on Saturday. Its the place they talk about in the Da vinci Code and it felt a little bit like going to Edinburgh and not seeing Rosslyn would be like going to Paris and not having a peek at the Eiffel Tower. Its more interesting to say you saw it then it actually is interesting in and of itself. I read the book and kind of remember the story about it, although it is all quite vague. The guy at the front desk sent us there, saying it was a fun thing to visit and its true that it was impressive, completely covered in carvings. The downside was that we got stuck there without a taxi and B missed his chance to go out shooting. He ended up having to spend the afternoon at the spa with me.
The spa was nice but I have been spoiled by my trip to the George V hotel in Paris and everything seems a bit lacking after that. I have to admit that it wasn't totally relaxing. It is a bit nerve-racking when you are laying naked on a table and someone comes up to you with a pair of rubber gloves, clearly asking for your permission to do something, and yet you cannot for the life of you, understand what that something is. I used to have no problem with the Scottish accent but I have been gone for too long. I just kept nodding yes and hoping that I wasn't going to have any unwelcome surprises.
Ella also had a fab weekend in the country. She chased the animals, ate lots of food right out of the garden, and obviously was spoiled rotten by her grandparents. There are lots of things about those two that I don't like but the fact that they are so good to Ella really makes all the rest inconsequential. All in all, this was definitely the relaxing weekend I had hoped for. Of course, between the list of things I have to do today and Ella's suicide attempt the after effects aren't going to last very long.