I love the rain-soaked Royal Mile. Cobbles that invite hiking boots, not heels, gleam in the light and draw you up towards the castle. The city sits dark and mysterious upon ancient hills. The castle glowers down at you as you climb towards it. Yet it's a city full of festivals and music and light.
I love the tinny bagpipe music in the souvenir shops. There’s something so very mournful about bagpipes, but they act as a siren’s call to those who need a novelty kilt and a Nessie shot-glass.
I love the Edinburgh Fringe with its ridiculously long programme masquerading as a phone book and its crazy street performers. I once walked up the Royal Mile and passed four different acts juggling knives. One was on a unicycle, one in his underwear, yet another was alternating with a chainsaw. The fourth one was probably feeling very inadequate about his simple, fully clothed, non-vehicular, power-tool free knife juggling. I’m sure he’s at this very moment trying to incorporate water buffalo into his act for this year’s festival.
I love the Scottish Library with its witty posters, proclaiming to the world that Edinburgh may not have the nicest weather, but its people are educated and clever and astute and they value the arts. I love the Burn’s Memorial on Princess Street. I love that it looks like Castle Greyskull and is blackened by age and weather. I love that people can get sentimental about a poet, long dead though he is.
I love that it is called ‘The Athens of the North.’ How pompous and presumptive - and how far away it is from the sun baked Mediterranean. The pillars and monuments draw inspiration from the Greeks, it’s true, but they are also so very, very Scottish
I love the Queen’s Gallery with its overflow of art, displayed with Her Majesty’s kindness. I once saw a 500 year old drawing by Da Vinci. I was the only person in the room.
I love Arthurs Seat, a huge, bulking , volcanic mass looming over the city. It’s a perfect climb on a bracing spring day with Scotland spread before you like a picture on a shortbread tin, all spires and mountains and arctic wind.
I even love the Elephant House Café, well actually I love the toilets. The walls are covered by people paying tribute to JK Rowling and her characters. Imagine your writing touching the lives of so many people. Imagine!