I am so crazy excited to share our recent visit to the country that will always stand a spire's height above all others for us. In July, we went back to Scotland for the first time in three years, and the reunion was sweet as Scottish fudge (which is basically 100% sugar).
We trisected the trip with stops in Edinburgh, the Isle of Skye, and St. Andrews, so I'll blog accordingly, starting with Edinburgh, that city of stately stone and effusive greens.
Nearly as soon as we arrived in our hotel in Edinburgh, I pushed myself under the thick, old glass window of our flat, lunged the stout frame the very few inches I could, closed my eyes, and breathed in the rain on the slate roof below. Wet stone is the scent of Scotland. Beneath, everything was green and neon; a burst of triangular gardens in the courtyard was sprinkled with yellow, orange, and pink blossoms.
I'd forgotten how bright flowers seem to flow out of houses and stairwells everywhere in Scotland.
And how perfect the city parks are. Because they are plots of unplanned nature that dictate the city rather than the other way around, cliffs vault up right out of the city streets.
Once we climbed the first hill of Holyrood Park, we were in a valley hidden from any sign of human interruption.
I always try to quilt a few moments from each trip into my mind so that I have more than photos sticking it into my memory, and this is a moment I saved: sitting in the sun above the city, nibbling a prism of cheese on the dry grass. And the air so quiet.
We were only in Edinburgh a couple days, so spent the majority walking the city (including the famous, touristy Royal Mile and residential Meadows park) and laughing in cafes with old friends, which was definitely a highlight of the trip. (Speaking of, my friend Niall whom we spent most of Saturday with and who writes so much better than I about his country just won the biggest poetry prize in Scotland for his book, Moontide.)
We also stopped by the famous Stockbridge market, a tree-covered market proffering cupcakes, posies, hand-crafted cards and niche chocolates to rival Brooklyn.
And we stopped by one location of Ian Mellis cheese, the shop that instigated the avalanche of affection I feel for cheese.
Before we landed in Scotland, we wondered how much we would like Scotland after we'd had a bit of distance, but we never should have questioned. Edinburgh's peace was the perfect welcome for your jet-lag, and remains one of our favorite cities in the world.
Here are some of the places we enjoyed, if you ever visit!
The Chester Residence had superb service, ample space, and views of the sea. We took the new tram right from the airport, and landed in our huge space.
Timberyard was the stand-out restaurant for us. Scandinavian-inspired food with miniature gardens, and fabulous gluten-free accommodations. We loved the way they had transformed a barn into a sleek space, and that there were chickens in the back garden. The Pantry in Stockbridge had a delicious Scottish breakfast--my favorite soft curds of egg and beans. And the Edinburgh Larder and The Urban Angel were both delicious cafes with fresh, local foods.
Cheerio, city of my dreams!
This post is sponsored by my in-laws, who made this luxurious trip possible. Thank you! And by Walker's incredible photos.