I enjoyed that visit quite a lot, but I don't remember Edinburgh being quite so ... lively. And Sunny! And full of everything a easily pleased yet slightly snobbish and gustatorially-oriented person could ever want. It is my new favorite city. Look at the goods from my host friend's corner bakery! An endless selection, including Leo's favorite butter croissants. All freshly and perfectly baked, as top-notch as anything you might find in San Francisco (and the scones were better, natch).
Edinburgh Farmers' Market, which is directly in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, also beats anything like it in San Francisco or environs. The specialty meats alone (venisons, bison, Happiest Pigs in the World, and of course haggis; sorry, vegetarians) would make even the most casual carnivore sweat with anticipation. But then there were crepes. And oh the baked goods. And even the coffee. (Don't forget to follow the market on Twitter...)
The weather was very very very very good, even atop the Castle where it was slightly windy. Everyone warned me UK weather at the end of February/start of March would be crap. But we experienced gloriously sunny, if chilly, days the entire weekend I stayed. Not to mention glorious views. Of ancientness. Everywhere. Ancient exists in California, but it is rarely so tangible and certainly not as omnipresent as it is in Edinburgh.
St. Margaret's Chapel, also part of the Castle, was built in the 12th century by King David I in honor of his mother. You have to love a boy who loves his mummy.
Honours of Scotland, and part of the Crown Jewels exhibit). I also appreciated the affability of the very well informed docents. Did you know that Scottish kings often shared the throne if there were multiple eligible brothers, so that they did not kill each other over the crown? Robert the Bruce ended that era of reasonableness, though.
|Haggis, Neeps, and Tatties
Rosslyn Chapel. This picture does not do justice to the its 16th century elaborately carved sandstone gorgeousness. Which, apparently, has been restored to its former beauty in large part due to throngs of tourists who came to see it and brought their entry fees with them, after it was featured in The Da Vinci Code movie. Which I had not realized. If you are ever in the Edinburgh area, however, I recommend it. (the Chapel actually reminded me of the similar intricate sandstone carvings at the Cambodian temple of Banteay Srei.)
Edinburgh was such a delight that I occasionally wondered if my host had pulled a Potemkin Village on me. Then I started thinking that perhaps Iz should go to Edinburgh University so we really would have a reason to come visit again. So if you get the opportunity to visit Edinburgh? Do it.