15 September 2013
Lost on purpose in Edinburgh
Edinburgh is a huge pile. Literally, buildings are stacked on top of one another. They brace hillsides, depend on one another for support, cling to one another, and provide all sorts of intriguing passageways. Old Town specifically is just a mass of gables, turrets and dormers. It's incredible when you're trying to navigate narrow and winding streets, let alone when viewed from a distance.
I've tried to make a point every day that I've been here, to go somewhere new. Even if it's just a couple blocks over from somewhere I've already been, if it means trying a new coffee shop or a different cafe, I'm all for it. And one thing I love to do when I'm in an unfamiliar city is to get purposely lost. There is no better way to understand your surroundings than to get lost.
When you don't know where you are, your senses are automatically heightened. Call it anxiety if you wish, but you've done it on purpose, so you're not that anxious. But you're that much more in tune with what's around you, because you're inherently trying to figure it out. This way or that way? Take the corner or go straight? Up the stairs or down the stairs? Along the waterway or over it? The choices are aplenty and every one you make will lead you in a slightly different direction. There are infinite routes!
I live a block away from Edinburgh Castle, firmly set in Old Town, but it has a tendency to sometimes feel cramped and crowded with so many tourists and such narrow walkways and streets. Down the steps (or around the castle) and into New Town, the roads are wider, the sidewalks are wider, and there are just as many trendy, if somewhat slightly more upscale cafes and restaurants. I found possibly the best coffee in town, Wellington Coffee, which serves simple pastries and a very minimal yet exceptional coffee menu. No flavors, just coffee! More on them later, I think...
There are some great flowers in the Princes Street Gardens, but of course it's getting to be autumn so some of them are starting to look a little droopy. The color, however, on a cloudy day, is much appreciated.
I continued north through New Town until I happened upon a bridge over a small waterway, and saw a sign pointing to a walkway beside the water. It turned out the walkway was part of a long, winding pathway system called the Water of Leith, of which I actually ended up seeing only a very little. I might have to make a point to do it from one end to the other eventually. It's 12 miles altogether, so it would be quite a hike in one go, but it might be cool to break it up and do parts here and there.
I wound back into down and walked up Dundas Street. And perhaps the best moments go undocumented, but just as I was taking this photo, a guy off to the left of the frame started hollering for me to take a photo of him and he worked very hard to flex his biceps for me. A missed opportunity. Obviously. ;)
Eventually I also scouted out the Edinburgh Farmers Market, but more on that next time!