EDINBURGH? Delicious, green, + groovy
I had originally planned to visit Wales. But, after a 15 mile hike in Keswick, England, I fell asleep on a rural bus, and left my luggage on board. Whoops. I was told by a ticket agent if no one fancied it between Friday and Monday, I may be able to retrieve Monday at the last bus stop waayyyy down the Cumbrian coast. He suggested I stay the weekend in Penrith, England. I looked around and then up at the train schedule, saw the next train was headed to Edinburgh. And, I'm so glad I got on.
Green + groovy? Like, literally... super green. The city and surrounding landscape is edibly lush.
Edin's vibe is also exceptionally progressive + bohemian. I saw men in bell bottoms, real ones, rocking them well. Mmmmmhhhhmmmm. Many aging hippies reminded me of my home in Colorado. The city smelled like rich spices + warmth I have only smelled in crunchy Rocky Mountain towns. Shops, signs, + city initiatives were thoughtful, inclusive + compassionate. Bathrooms had nappies and anything one would need to care for a baby, bread companies give free bread abundantly + consider the holistic nature of their projects down to the water they use + the way they source their grains. One volunteer-run vegetarian cafe had three walls of community flyers next to their "free store" filled with books, clothes, + art supplies for anyone to take. Having nothing but my purse and the clothes on my back, I took a look. It was LGBTQ PRIDE weekend and the all government buildings, city banks, even grocery market chains were ablaze with rainbows. Most meaningful, was a huge sign hung in the city's main park declaring support and camaraderie with the LGTBQ community of USA, Florida, and Orlando.
Dragons?! Yes. Real dragons. Well, seagulls that are huge, fearless, + aggressive. As they spiral around spires of Edin's castles they look like slick white beasts of old + fly like them too. (I'm sure they eat small Scottish babies) It's no wonder the city inspired Harry Potter's Diagon Alley.
Best Cake? Ever?
My first afternoon in Edin, I wrote about finding human-breadcrumbs of heartbreak in visual poems on paper. The next morning I found my myself in a simple + stunning cake shop called lovecrumbs. I sketched while smiling deep, enjoying every crumb of succulent beetroot coconut cake w/Scottish breakfast tea. I remembered my late friend Tashi, she would have loved this place, this cake, + this moment. Breast cancer chased down and ended Tashi's life this passed spring after a four year sprint. During that time, Tashi traveled the world, spent time with her family, and intentionally pushed herself, even in the haze of chemo, to take in the life that was slipping. I thanked her for the ammunition to rally, to chase life vividly, to taste life, and I remembered that I am alive.
That's good cake. 😉
I planned my departure from Edinburgh according to lovecrumb's opening time. The cool ladies behind the counter packed me a slice of orange poppyseed zucchini cake, a brownie, + rose cardamom hot chocolate for my train journey. I split the burnt caramel brownie with a young Toronton (?) astrophysics-scholar/gymnast. He picked brownie lovecrumbs off the thin white Ethiopian scarf Tashi's husband bought me. As the train rambled through Scotland, we talked about raising compassionate children, the beautiful brain wiring that accompanies learning disabilities, + the physics of sound waves. He described the science of how concentric music waves pat the inner ear in ways similar to being physically pet or stroked with love. He agreed it was the best brownie he had ever eaten.
Highlights? Getting lost in the hiking trails of the stunning Hermitage of Braid nature preserve + found at the top of Blackford Hill (w/ one of the best views I have ever witnessed), walking winding alleys, steep staircases, and tripping on cobble stones. The grassmarket hotel was a nice sliver of luxe + well located. El Cartel Mexican food. Yes, incredible Mexican in Scotland. Perfectly battered cod taco with Scottish sheep's milk cheese. Great hip hop playing. This spot was highly recommended from the hostess from Timberyard... Who gave me this magical sheet of Edin gems, if you ask nice, I'll send you a copy... + she had also recommended lovecrumbs. So, she rocks).
Next time? Can't come soon enough. I will stay much longer. I will go to every place on that magical list, including Timberyard, (+ I will make a reservation so I actually get in). King Arthur's throne. The surgeons museum. Perhaps some historical tours to get the depth of the history of Edinburgh, because, clearly, the place has roots. More wandering. Who's in? ;)
Hermitage of Braid beauty.
From Blackford hill.
Yep. That was intense.
Until next time xxx