Five days in cloudy, wet, dark and miserable Edinburgh were enough to make me miss Athens, Greece!!!
More so since I have often heard it mentioned as the Athens of the North.
I missed the light, the sun, the fresh breeze in the morning. I forgot all about the traffic, the noise, the dirt and could just think of all the blessings we enjoy due to our climate –which we are fast destroying… I could even forgive our German friends their envy of our sea and islands. After all we share them willingly with all and sundry so there..
Back to Edinburgh and some very superficial first impressions. Our Bed and Breakfast was run by a Lithuanian looking like a KGB pensioner but turned out to be very helpful and pleasant once we got over the language barrier. He charged us about 100 pounds for a triple ground floor room with a small sitting area which became the meeting point of our group since we also boasted three cups for coffee instead of the usual two!!.
In anticipation of the wedding we were there to attend we were invited to visit the couple to be’s new home. A 130 year old building with four floors and no elevator!! The no-smoking habits of our bride and groom forced the smokers among us to lose quite a bit of weight but this was a gain at least. We realized that while these old buildings look quite picturesque and quaint on the outside the inside is not exactly the same. Their owners cannot change anything without permission from the city council: from repairing a window in their house to changing the buzzer or re-tiling the stairs. There are no built in cupboards and there are parts of the houses without outside windows, in this case the kitchen!! I have to revise my penchant for period houses….
I loved the gardens, the flower pots and the large pavements of Prince’s street and the Royal Mile. The constant rain has its own advantages.
Prices are quite steep but the Scottish seem unimpressed. We arrived the day after the general elections which were won by the Scottish National Party with an absolute majority and impressive losses by all other parties.
Is this a return to the roots stand? A nationalist fold up? I cannot presume to answer such questions but let me mention that the shop selling kilts in our neighbourhood had a sign on the door asking customers to take a number and wait at the queue upon entering!! I saw very few kilts in the streets but at the wedding the majority in the groom’s crowd were in kilt and with very good esthetic results. A real respect for tradition is a good thing and I would like to see it repeated in restaurants. Instead of that we met with “haloumi on toast” and falafel at the pubs while the most sophisticated restaurant was Indian!!
I would like to visit Edinburgh again at a more convenient time and see more, give it a second chance, but at the moment Athens wins hands down.