There are many things to like about Edinburgh – the impressive stone towering architecture, the dramatics of the castle sat high over the city like a careful watchman keeping a keen eye out for intruders and the cobbled streets that have you tripping and stumbling like a whiskey drunk. But the thing I admire most isn’t any of these.
The city has achieved a perfect balance between the old and the new – the historic and the contemporary are entirely harmonious without any doubt that either side belongs exactly where it is. It’s not odd that Primark sits opposite to the Scottish National Gallery, nor does it feel like Monsoon shouldn’t face Sir Walter Scott astride his plinth. The city has been expertly executed so that you don’t even really notice the cross over from the past to present until you’re standing in St James Shopping Centre in all its sparkling pristine glory.
And as for all that other stuff I mentioned? Well, I love that too! My thirty (ish) hours of boots on the ground lead me 20,000+ steps around the city darting in and out of fudge shops and cafes, art gallery rooms and tiny souvenir shops, former execution sites, and the street that was the so-called inspiration for Harry Potter’s ‘Diagon Alley’.
The spooky mood that simmers through the streets is drowned out by the babble of tourists during the day, but at night turns to a haunted and secretive murmur. The low, dark alleyways become the stuff of Victorian horror novels and the formidable buildings fall to black casting long, angular sinister shadows. Walking through corridors and up and down stone steps the hairs prickled on the back of my neck, but I never once felt unsafe from the people… more from the fear of the unrested souls of the city’s grim past.
Alongside the mystery, Edinburgh also feels really rather festive with the odd Christmas shop here and there and I can certainly see a winter market trip on the horizon. But for now, I’ll get back to my countryside grass and far stretching field views and try to shake off that feeling that I’m being followed by a ghoul!