Thursday, July 14, 2011

Scotland Finis: Edinburgh Messes with Our Emotions.

So, where were we? Ah yes. Here:

Also here:

Here as well:

And of course, here:

Edinburgh never breaks character. She's into it, all the way, without reservations. Gloomy, gorgeous and brooding. You walk around her streets expecting to bump into Byron or Shelly around any corner. Which is a bit odd, since neither of those authors had much to do with Edinburgh. Just go with it, okay? 

See also: Edinburgh Castle
So I guess we can add menacing to the list of Edinburgh's charms.

Within the castle walls and gorgeous.

The back of the chapel within the castle walls.

These guards look intimidating and all, but it turns out they suck at their job. Someone let all those tourists in, dudes.  I'm looking at you, Stony McStatueface

We ended up spending two days here, and it's safe to say this was our favorite stop on the trip, despite the fact that the atmosphere made me want to dye my hair black and write bad poetry. 
Seriously, Edinburgh? You're pulling out the mossy tombstone with rose? It's like an emo barfed on a goth and then they made love.
Of course it was raining when we arrived (We get it, Edinburgh, you're melancholy.) and the traffic patterns nearly killed us, which was awesome. But then we parked the car and started roaming the city on foot. And that, my friends, was magic. 

The streets in the older part of the city wind over and around each other so fluidly. It was not unusual for us to be looking down from a bridge one moment and the next looking right back up at it from below without ever remembering having turned around. And there were creepy alleys with stairs and secret gardens hiding among them, and restaurants hidden underground in former wine cellars. I fully expected to be set upon by thieves and ruffians at any moment, and I had my best romantic-swoon ready as soon as they did. I felt confident Mr. Awesome would understand that this was a ruse to confuse the blackguards as he disarmed the first with his rapier while I came back up with sturdy parasol in hand ready to smack some manners into them before tea time. (What's that you say? Too much Amelia Peabody in my life? Oh darling, one can never read too much Amelia.)

Speaking of swords, let me introduce you to the Scottish armory. Which is pretty impressive despite being slightly behind the times...

...and somewhat poorly aimed:

The one downside to our stay here was the ghost tour we had the misfortune of seeing. At night the royal mile is amass with various ghost-tour offerings and it had seemed like the thing to do at the time. In my defense, I will say that we looked carefully at several options before buying tickets and finally selected one that seemed more "family friendly" (read: suitable for pansies like myself). However, in a country where the legal drinking age is 5, I guess "family friendly" has a whole new meaning. I won't give you too much detail, but let's just say the tour started in a torture museum, passed through a demon possessed chamber, and ended underground in a room where several families had been baked alive during the great fire. Lovely.
Afterword, we washed that out of our respective psyches as best we could by eating in a cathedral that had been made over into a pub and then trying on various plaid corsets in a few gift shops. (Well, technically I tried on the corsets and Mr. Awesome stood there saying things like "I think you look very pretty" which was clearly not the point of a racy corset and would he please get out of the dressing room?!?)

And then we walked down through Edinburgh gardens, which are lovely enough even without the giant castle looking down on them.
Oh, so now you're whimsical too, Edinburgh? Well aren't you just the city of a hundred mostly gloomy emotions.
Oh yes, add some nudity why don't you. Because the castle in the background isn't sexy enough.
My favorite moment, though, in Edinburgh and on the whole trip, came when we chanced upon the main building of the University of Edinburgh. Many of you will recall that had things gone differently I would have been a graduate student there by then, brooding my way through PhD level courses and preparing for my field work in India. The university seemed so perfect, the city so magnificent. I knew I would have loved it there, had things gone a different route. It was a very strange moment for me, standing in the center of once choice with my arm around the waist of the other. We stood there for a long moment, both of us thinking the same thing and neither one ready to break the silence.

I made the right choice.

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