Edinburgh is quickly winning over my affection and becoming a city I might just carry on a love affair with. (London and San Francisco are the others). Monday I went back to Edinburgh for the day. I’d been a couple times before but each time had only been for a few hours and I hadn’t been able to explore too much of the city on my own. This time I took the train early in the morning so I could enjoy a full day out and about. I must say, traveling by train might be one of my favorite things to do. There is something so very romantic about it. Perhaps that’s simply because I’m an American and we don’t have affordable or time efficient rail travel. Or perhaps it is because traveling by train through countryside that is as breathtaking and enchanting as Britain, really is very romantic.
The train platform at Leuchars on a foggy fall morning
Edinburgh is one of the few large cities in the UK that wasn’t hit during the German Blitzkrieg in World War II. Unlike London, which saw so many of its medieval and gothic architecture destroyed or damaged, Edinburgh remains in glorious condition. This makes Edinburgh feel very, very old.
It happened to be a sunny, crisp fall day which made it perfect for strolling along the cobblestone streets of the Royal Mile, Princes and George Street. Because the city is on a number of hills, it winds and weaves and small narrow stairways lead to various parts of the city. Some have little shops and pubs off of them offering views of the Princes Street Gardens. All of these stairways make me think I’m about to enter Diagon Alley.
Princes Street Gardens
Being the huge Harry Potter nerd I am, I had to explore the cemetery JK Rowling used for inspiration whilst writing the first books. There is a Thomas Riddle and Minerva McGonagall buried there. Sadly I was not able to find them, but since I’m terribly morbid I still loved wondering about the place.
The rest of the afternoon was spent poking about the National Museum and National Gallery of Scotland. Both of have excellent collections, though the Gallery was much smaller than I anticipated. It did have one of my favorite John Singer Sergeant portraits, which thrilled me. The National Museum on the other hand has recently been remodeled and it is quite wonderful. Filled with decorative arts, historical artifacts and natural history items, there is something to please everyone.
Main Hall in the National Museum
The end of the day gave way to one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve ever seen. From the top of Calton Hill there are 360 degree views of just about all of Edinburgh. The fog had began rolling in and the light reflected off the clouds and onto the spires, clock towers and domes made the city look absolutely majestic. Even as darkness descended, the temperature dropped and a low fog settled into the the cracks and crevices of the city, I thought, “Edinburgh, I think I love you.”