The benefit of not having a job at the moment is the amount of sightseeing and exploring I have been able to do in Edinburgh! While I’d love to be working, being a lady of leisure has its perks, and I’ve made a list below of some of the things and places I’ve managed to check out over the past couple of weeks:
Walking the Water of Leith, Warriston Path, and the Botanic Gardens – long, peaceful walking tracks among beautiful flowers, a vast range of community gardens, and peppered with the occasional glimpse of squirrels! There’s also an old, run-down cemetery in Warriston that is unbelievably pretty. I’m looking forward to doing these walks again as it heads further into spring.
The Writer’s Museum – its housed in a beautiful old building that used to be the mansion of Lady Stair, and it contains artefacts related to the life and career of three of Scotland’s most famous writers – Walter Scott, Robert Burns, and Robert Louis Stevenson. It also has the BEST gift shop I’ve ever come across for rabid bookworms like myself.
‘Plague!’ exhibition at the National Library of Scotland – a free exhibition on the history of plague and sickness in Scotland. It sounds disgusting (it was) but it was really interesting as well!
The Scottish Storytelling Centre – I am yet to go to one of their events, but I checked out the centre itself and fell a bit in love with the idea of it – an institution devoted to the art of storytelling! It’s also connected to the house of John Knox, famous Reformer, and that’s a really interesting glimpse into the history of architecture and religion in Scotland in the one place.
Museum of Childhood – just passed this one day and decided to check it out (because it was free, hooray!). It was crazy! Five floors of exhibitions, mainly toys, but all related to the history of childhood in the UK. So many weird and cool things to see (some terrifying, like a room full of dolls), but I think my parents would love it when they come to visit – lots of model cars and Ladybird books!
Checking out landmarks on the City of Literature map – Greyfriars Kirkyard with its stories of grave robbers, Harry Potter names, and gorgeous little Greyfriars Bobby; The Deacon’s House Cafe, site of infamous Deacon Brodie’s former home and workshop where they serve hot chocolate with whisky; The Elephant House, famous for its claim of being the ‘birthplace’ of Harry Potter and its HP graffiti-filled bathrooms; Parliament Hall, where Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson used to stroll in conference; and the various closes and areas that feature in books and novels.
Easter at St Giles’ Cathedral – after receiving a chocolate-filled care package from Mum and Dad, I went to St Giles’ for a Good Friday service. It was just hymns and readings, for 45 minutes instead of the usual midday 15 minute service, and it did my soul good.
Scott Monument – the worlds largest monument to a writer (287 steps to the top!). The views were absolutely incomparable, but I would counsel against going on a weekend or holiday. It takes a long time to climb when the staircases are so narrow that you can only fit one person in at a time, and it gets real squashy up the top!
Rosslyn Chapel – a half-day trip with an Australian friend of mine. An utterly beautiful (unfinished) 550-year old chapel, with the most intricate stone carvings and a fascinating history. The visitor centre is brilliant, and (I had completely forgotten about this) it featured heavily in The Da Vinci Code, so was part of the film and had it’s visitor numbers boosted considerably. A really interesting place in a gorgeous area of countryside.
I have been a busy bee. And I’m off to the Scottish Poetry Library today, and then to a contemporary choir rehearsal, so I’ll have to dash. Thank you all for reading this far and for the response to my post about meeting J. K Rowling. Still the most exciting thing I’ve done!