Tomorrow is when the adventure proper begins, with a walk into the Blue. Yesterday I spent travelling, and today I wandered around Edinburgh contemplating Past Victoria’s folly and enjoying Present Victoria’s decision to start here.
I spent the academic year of 2002-2003 in Edinburgh, doing my third year of undergrad abroad. I enjoyed it very much, and learned a great deal — the basics of ancient Greek, the rudiments of art history, and far more English lit critical theory than I’d ever wanted — but I also learned a huge amount, in retrospect, for all the things I didn’t do while there.
I didn’t walk out of the city, which I wanted to do. (And did in Halifax.) I didn’t do anything with the hot air balloon club, though I joined it. I didn’t really go anywhere in Scotland — or even in Edinburgh itself, as I managed to see more of the city in my perambulations this afternoon than I ever did in that year, even with most of it spent in the Royal Botanical Gardens. But you know what? I had a great time, and I loved the city, and I’m glad I came back. After much thought, I decided not to begin by walking out of Edinburgh — let me leave that for another trip, one where I also go to the Highlands and isles and all the other places I haven’t been in Scotland. No, I’m starting with the Border between Scotland and England, and that is tomorrow, when things really begin.
Instead, I spent four hours in the botanical gardens, dodging rain showers, and two more wandering — from my B and B near Holyrood House (the palace of Mary, Queen of Scots) and Arthur’s Seat (a mountain park in the middle of the city) to the gardens, and then down the Water of Leith — upon which I saw a heron! — to the village of Dean, once famous for its mills, and from there across one of the great Victorian bridge designer Telford’s bridges to the New Town of Edinburgh and Princes Street Gardens, and views of the castle.