1 October 2011

edinburgh II - dreamy

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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.

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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!:
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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.IMG_0037IMG_0024
then it was time to climb the narrow spiral staircase to the top of the sir walter scott memorial.
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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.
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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.
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in front and below the castle is the national gallery, where i had just gawked at art.
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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:
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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.
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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.
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i thought the first unicycle juggler was pretty neato, but then this other guy stole the thunder with flames.
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check out that banjoist’s passion for the music!
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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:

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they call this path up the side of the cliffs the “radical road.” i was so tired. but the views were pretty rad.
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that building in the foreground is where the queen stays when she comes to edinburgh: hollyrood palace.
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self-timer from a rock. yes, i know i am amazing at getting those shots!
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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.

4 comments :

  1. I am so thrilled to have found your tour of Scotland! Beautiful pictures and you are a great tour guide.

    I would love to go and experience the same things.

    Random--but have you heard of the Isabel Dalhousie series by Alexander McCall Smith? The story takes place in modern day Scotland, and the author described it in such a beautiful way. Great books!

    Glad you had some great adventures!

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  2. How can you possibly have stuffed all this in as many days as you were gone?

    You should be a writer...and a photographer. Great stuff!

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  3. You are an awesome writer! I have loved hearing of your travels.

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  4. Awesome!!! I am an Art major and byui and I look at pictures in these places all day. That'd be awesome to go to them!!! I'll bet you had an incredible time!

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