I was warned before we went to Edinburgh this past weekend that it is the most beautiful city in the world or at least one of them. A warning was in order because I had never visited there and we do not live in Edinburgh but in Aberdeen. Hubs was worried that once we visited Edinburgh, I would hold a grudge against him for moving us to Aberdeen instead of spectacular Edinburgh.
Aberdeen was recently nominated as the most dismal city in Scotland. These nominations come from obscure magazines who are desperate for website hits so they come up with lists to lure readers (a technique that I intend to use from time to time!). After being home from Edinburgh for a day or so, and with the well traveled Hurricane Gonzalez opening up a can of whoop-ass on the city today, I would have to say that Aberdeen does not deserve the most dismal title. ‘Most Granit-ey” perhaps. ‘Most oil-rich’ certainly, “Most likely to experience historically accurate smells from medieval times on a bus”: definitely.
As I was saying regarding Edinburgh… Beyond the dramatic city-scape, dotted as it is with spires, castles, and monuments galore, there is the quite stunning profile of the dead volcano, ‘Arthur’s Seat’. There was a bit of confusion in our party as to which of the three mountains is actually Arthur’s Seat and which one is an impostor and which one is a hanger-on hoping for residual fame by association. It was confirmed that the real volcano was the highest of the 3 hills and a plan was hatched to climb it. This plan did not really get off the ground as one in our party needed to catch up on some Barth reading. And despite someone wishing that the volcano would erupt and incinerate all of or most of Barth’s works, this did not occur.
One thing we did climb was this rather severe looking monument:
It is a tribute to Sir Walter Scott and it is possible to climb all the way to that last tiny round part at the top. Yes its a bit insane. And the crazier part is that at the ticket booth at the bottom there are zero lawyer signs!! None. No signs saying, “if you have a heart condition or get dizzy or have a tricky knee or have ever fainted or don’t like heights or if you have a wart on your toe… we will not be held responsible for any loss or damage to your person or anyone you have ever known named Scott.”
So without these signs, we did not know to be afraid, and indeed until our ears started popping and the tiny spiral staircase became quite uncomplimentary to those of ‘traditional build’ like ourselves, we were having a good time. Then we reached the tiny terrace below the cake top thingy. Its about a big around as your dining room table. Of course there were gale force winds too, which made our faces and hair go every which-a-ways and you will be spared the pictures of that. I was half way expecting to see the giant eye of Sauron at the top of the tower, but he has not reappeared since that nasty incident with the ring and Frodo.
Up next: John Knox in a car park.