Out and about

The fall evokes that burrowing effect, and I love being cloistered inside typing away next to the heater, as I am this sunny, Saturday morning. But yesterday, we finally ventured out of our little mouse hole. We took it to the big city, folks!

To get the 50 or so miles to Edinburgh is far more complex than commuting in the States, which is perhaps why we don’t do it more often (because we totally would). We have to walk to the bus, take the bus to the train station, and take the train about an hour to Waverley Train Station. But the journey makes arriving so much more exciting, like we’ve won it. Out of St Andrews: score!!!

What a perfect day we chose to go, mild all around, a rare happenstance here. Edinburgh is a spindly, gothic city; possibly the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen. Modern shops are scattered below the hill on which sits the most touristy castle in Scotland followed by the Royal Mile, a street which is home to more kilt and cardigan and Scottish flag shops than you could conjure. It’s also your best bet for hearing bagpipes in Scotland.

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With crooked and intricate buildings, bright colors, and performers everywhere, the city’s carnivalesque. Edinburgh thrives on its ghost tours and dark stories like Jekyll and Hyde, and it’s no wonder: every street has a thousand closes sneaking off it into dark, secret places. (A close is a narrow passageway leading off the main street.) Most of these lead to fun little restaurants and shops and historic sites (this isn't off a close, but it is a historic site. Hello, Sir Walter Scott's back!).

Halloween must be truly goose-bumpy here as many of the attractions are ghoulish (Halloween word? Check!). I once took a poetry field trip to the Surgeon’s Hall Museum, home to, well, you can read about it. Disturbing, to state it mildly. We also, as always, saw the world’s most pierced woman yesterday: creep-o! All of this is not to say that Edinburgh is a freaky place, because it is absolutely gorgeous and so, so interesting, but that it was just a calm way for us to feel the Halloween vibes.

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We traveled in to see an old poetry mate and his very lovely fiancé, and had an absolutely this-is-so-good-to-be-catching-up time in the pub. Non-stop conversation, outbursts of laughter, a trip to the Scottish Poetry Library. Shout out to my incredibly talented course-mates; I could barely pick up a magazine in there without one of their names in the contents. I felt like a proud mama, just in the my friends are practically famous sort of way.

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While I was scanning poetry, Walk (ever-patient!) found a sight pretty nigh nil in St Andrews, brick, with the craggy hills of Holyrood Park in the background. Red brick often means old in America, and historic cities like Williamsburg and Philadelphia are recognizable for their brick. In Scotland, it means new.

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Walk and I shared the camera, and there's a 50-50 split on photo credits. (Strangely, alternating almost exactly with my photo first, his second, mine third, etc . . .). Between the two of us, we came home to a card full of us!

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We finished the trip with a delectable dinner in the National Museum of Scotland's Tower Restaurant and stunning views of the lit castle. And the train chugged us home to our hole, where our pumpkins and apples are turning deeper colors, and we are excited about everything that they are (seen today).

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Happy Turning Toward Christmas Weekend! Happy Halloween!