With that serendipity that rules life, I’ve found myself in a wonderful neighborhood. Sure, the tourist stuff is nice, but I’ve seen and done most of it before. Except for the National Gallery of Modern Art – where I can go back. Again. And again. Works we’ve seen in books and posters are here, up close and personal. Thank you, freezing rain, for sending me on another wonderful trip, even if I did have to walk through you for an hour.
As I said on FB, my last time here was festival time one August – daylight til almost midnight with wonderful weather. I spent most of my time indoors, in theatres and pubs. Now it’s dark before 4:00, high temps are near freezing and I’m wandering around outdoors. I’ll admit to loving the national cuisine – some of the best Indian food I’ve ever had.
Within a couple of blocks of where I’m living are at least four, probably more, yoga studios, a gaggle of alternative health places, three food coops, a bunch of great restaurants and pubs, along with all the other usual urban amenities – surrounded by 4-5 story housing and adjoining a wonderful city park. I’m a 15-minute walk thru the park to all the historic areas, and another five minutes to the “new” Georgian part of town.
My first night here I stopped into the pub across the street. One of the advantages of waiting at the bar for a pint is that you chat with others while you’re there. The man next to me noticed my accent and the fact that I had to keep asking him to repeat himself. It was a combination of the loud ambient noise & his Scottish brogue. I didn’t mention all the military hardware fired off next to my ear or the years flying airplanes sans headsets. I did tell him about the years backstage with rock bands. He asks, “Who?” I answer yes, and others, too. He invites me to a table with other members of his band. We figure it’s time to leave when the barman is sweeping the floor and putting the chairs up on tables. Next day he’s serving me coffee and a scone at one of the local health food places. And as I walk down the street there’s a knock on the window of a bike repair shop. I wave back at the repairman, who’s a Ph.D. student who plays in the same band.
Neighborhoods like this can be comforting. I’m guessing they can be claustrophobic, too. I love finding them now, but wonder what it would have been like to grow up in one. It’s a question I’ll need to ponder. You’re lucky I probably won’t be able to answer it in this blog format.
Oh, and one more thing about Edinburgh. This is the city where a dog had the right to vote before women could. As the story goes, Grayfriars Bobby was given citizenship so that he could be licensed and fed from the city coffers while he guarded his master’s grave for fourteen years. A place around the corner from me has good food for people – and a full menu page of free snacks for the dogs who bring their humans in.