my second day in edinburgh and my last day over the pond was dreamy in two ways – 1) it was near-unreal fantastic being enchanted by that age-worn, ebullient city; and 2) the travelweariness had finally and firmly settled into my bones. the happy haze that surrounded me was both wonder and exhaustion.
i woke up early and strolled through the princes street gardens, so uncrowded and warm with color and vegetation. look, there was a clock made entirely of flowers!:
then i spent an hour in the scottish national gallery, and fell in love with a new van gogh. i loved how luxe the museum felt - the deep red walls covered with masterpieces.
then it was time to climb the narrow spiral staircase to the top of the sir walter scott memorial.
there were four different landings and the views were sensational! the sun popped out for the first time in days as i stood perched on those ledges, in delicious awe.
in the foreground is waverly station, edinburgh’s train station that is literally right in the middle of the city.
in the background are the famous crags of salisbury – more on them later.
in front and below the castle is the national gallery, where i had just gawked at art.
as i was marveling at the vistas, music was swimming in the air – on one side of the monument a bagpiper puffed away (you saw him in the picture above) and on the other side a jazzy brass band crooned and slid. what a oddly delightful cacophony! the world around me was noisy in the brightest way, and all of edinburgh was under my feet! i loved it.
i headed back to the royal mile to go inside st. giles cathedral:
there i found a much less dissonant symphony of sound: a baroque quartet was playing a free concert under the arches and between the stained glass. the colors in st. giles were almost psychedelic. i just loved the way everything looked – the shades and hues and angles and textures. lush and full and passionate.
outside the cathedral the royal mile continued to pulse with outdoor performers and creative advertisements for indoor performances. i wish i had all the crazy costumes i saw documented. people come up with neat ideas, and i love how in edinburgh in august, they go all out.
i thought the first unicycle juggler was pretty neato, but then this other guy stole the thunder with flames.
check out that banjoist’s passion for the music!
costumes and an opera singer: she was actually astonishingly talented!
i hopped onto my open-top bus and cruised to the crags of salisbury on the outskirts of town just as it began to rain:
they call this path up the side of the cliffs the “radical road.” i was so tired. but the views were pretty rad.
that building in the foreground is where the queen stays when she comes to edinburgh: hollyrood palace.
self-timer from a rock. yes, i know i am amazing at getting those shots!
stormy last overlook of the city – settled a somehow pleasant melancholy in my heart as i stood on top of a scottish cliff realizing that my epic adventure was so very nearly over.
i gathered my backpack at the hostel, and walked back across the royal mile to waverly station. as i waited to cross a road, i was stopped dead in my tracks by a crystalline moment, an age-worthy slice of time. it was as if i could see myself from above in the waves of sights, sounds, smells … just me on an edinburgh corner, surrounded in bagpipe music, a heavy backpack, and the sting of the very last page of a chapter of life. everything whizzed by in a blur, but me in the bubble of myself was strikingly clear and my travels were summed up in a feeling of triumph and sweet exhaustion and i sucked all my senses in as i walked slowly down to the train station.
train to galway, walk to bus terminal, bus to the airport, plane to dublin, sleep on a bench in the dublin airport, plane to new york city, bus to manhattan, subway to the upper east side, walk across the street into the arms of my brother. i was ready to be back, awakened from the good, good dream.