I stood in a downpour holding an inverted, broken umbrella. My wet hair slicked heavily against my face. I clumsily stepped in puddles leaving the train station, managing to soak my shoes and feet while trying to catch a cab. Despite all this, I immediately fell in love with Edinburgh. It would be hard not to fall in love with this city; dark gothic architecture set against a vibrant clash of green. There's a mysterious allure about Edinburgh.
One of my biggest regrets years ago during my semester in Ireland was passing up a chance to go to Scotland for a weekend with a group of friends. I wanted to go. I really wanted to go, but my funds were running low. These things happen. Scotland has been at the top of my list ever since. We didn't intend to go to Scotland from London. In fact, we had a plane ticket booked for Paris, but as I learned, finding a reasonable hotel a week before you leave for the city of light is an impossible feat, unless of course you happen to be an heiress or princess. I am neither. So I booked a train from London to Edinburgh and watched a whirl of green unfold from the windows on the train. It was mesmerizing. Scotland is more my speed.
Edinburgh is a walking city. We walked through the Princes St. Gardens, up and down hills and cobblestone streets. We walked along Hollyrood Park and up Arthur's Seat, taking the steepest but quickest route to the top. And then we ate a well-earned jacket potato, or should I say tattie, covered in salt, a mountain of chive butter, and guacamole.
The queen was in Edinburgh for her garden party and a barrage of kilts, dresses, gloves, hats, and fascinators paraded the streets. We heard rumor eight hundred guests were invited. I wouldn't doubt it. We made our way to Stirling, to see the castle of course, and took a ferry to the Isle of Arran later that week. We walked some more, along the beach and collected seashells. It rained on and off for days.
You get used to the rain. It grows on you. There was plenty to keep us company while we waited for showers to pass, cups of tea, potato leek soup, and cushioned seats in cozy pubs.
I saw much more of Scotland than I would have, had I gone all those years back. Just further proof life unfolds the way it should. I hope to make it back to Scotland someday and get up to the Highlands. I'd like that. It's my kind of place, rain and all.