I had been warned about Edinburgh before. It had come up so often, I was actually nervous about booking my flight; multiple people cautioned me about Scotland’s capital before my trip there this past month. But I ignored them and went anyway.
The Royal Mile, the main thorougfare in old town Edinburgh (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck.com)
“You will fall in love with it.”
There was truth in their words, an encouragement as much as a warning. Edinburgh is one of those rare cities at once timeless and affecting. It feels old, and you could be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped back in time as you wander among narrow cobblestone streets, passing under the shadows of looming Victorian buildings in unmistakable dark grey Edinburgh stone. Yet it also feels so trendy, so now, so current in a way that is almost achingly cool. You sense it in the boutique cafes and swanky, hipster-ish restaurants, and it becomes apparent why the city is as much an Instagrammer’s dream as it is a history lover’s. (Sometimes, the Instagrammer and history lover are the same person!)
A vintage car on Victoria Street (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck.com)
Haunting tunes on bagpipes and lively music on fiddles compete with a Fleetwood Mac cover band. There are men dressed unironically in kilts, and there are men wearing sweatpants and trainers. The dichotomy that exists in Edinburgh gives the city visual texture. It lends authenticity; kitsch and trite stereotypes could overtake Edinburgh, drowning it in a sea of Loch Ness figurines and tartan-printed boxer briefs and whisky-flavoured everything. It is the unexpected contrasts that make it real.
I cannot wait to recount my summer fling with this awe-inspiring city; it’s already left me aching to go back.
View from the upper level of Victoria Street, looking down to George Heriot’s School (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck.com)