Edinburgh and Dean Village: A Magical Few Hours in a Magical City

I’ve only been home a few days, and there’s a big part of me that’s still in Scotland. So much so that I feel oddly protective about delving too deeply into the trip. I’ve been sitting here staring at the screen for a while, trying to loosen my grip on the experience enough to get a post going.

For some reason, our day in Stockbridge and Dean Village is what shook out, so…here it is.

The entire city of Edinburgh is like walking in a fairy tale. You look one way – it’s beautiful. You turn around – there’s a whole different intriguing view that lures you in. It just goes and goes, which is fantastic and so immersive. You start to feel like the whole world is just this dreamy, quaint place. I didn’t want to leave…

We spent part of our last day in the city, before moving on to Glasgow, walking around Stockbridge and Dean Village. It’s just a few minutes removed from the main parts of the city, but feels a million miles away. Peaceful, calm, beautiful…I would love to be able to walk there everyday.

This is another topic I’m going to dig into deeper on my soon-to-be travel blog, but here are some views into a great morning…

A Few Hours in Paris are Better than None…

I’m a little more than halfway through my trip to Scotland, which I’m not going to ponder too much. Reality – go away! I’m going to stay! Anyway…on to blogging. (Posting straight from a small cafe on The Royal Mile in Edinburgh.)

This adventure started with a bonus stop in the most magical of cities…Paris.

My husband and I jumped at the chance of some time in the city, thanks to a long layover. It was our first visit, and we don’t know much French, so we took the stress off ourselves and hired a private tour guide. We only had so much time, and didn’t feel like wasting it being confused. Best decision we’ve made in a while? Yep!

I’m going to do a longer post just about the specifics of our short stay, and the luck of finding such a great tour guide, but that’s another day. And another blog: I’ve had plans for a travel blog brewing for awhile, and after this trip, I’m finally ready to commit!

So, for now, here’s a glimpse into our day…

There was a beautiful sunrise, but the closer we got to Paris, the clouds closed in. It was a bit like flying into a dream.

Our guide picked us at the airport and we were off to Montmartre!

Lots of tourists!

Look my feet are on the ground in PARIS!!!

A path for next time…you can only see so much on a layover

This is a total “that’s what she said” thing to say, and also sort of silly, but up close the Eiffel Tower was much, much bigger than I expected it to be. Here’s a long distance shot…

Back at the airport, and to one of the best pastries I’ve had in a while – a not-too-sweet apple tart.

I appreciate the French attitude towards food: eat good stuff, and not too much of it.

Next stop: Edinburgh!

Reading Edinburgh: 44 Scotland Street

A surprise book! I haven’t even introduced the subject yet!

I’m heading to Scotland in just over a week, and what better way to prepare then to read about it? I’ve checked out a big stack of books from the library about all different parts of the country, and am having a great time digging in.

We’ll be spending our first few days of the trip in Edinburgh so that’s where I started, and fortunately picked a great book to begin my journey, 44 Scotland Street, written by Alexander McCall Smith. Mr. Smith came into his writing career in his 50s, but has since  sold over 20 million books and his work has been translated in over 40 languages. And he lives down the street from J.K. Rowling! He’s known for an easy-going style and creating memorable characters, and that certainly holds true here.

Cockborn Street in Edinburgh
Cockborn Street in Edinburgh (image by David Monniaux, via Wikimedia Commons)

This story originally came together as a daily serial in the The Scotsman newspaper. It ran everyday for six months, and was enormously popular. Nothing huge happens, no drama or earth-shattering revelations; just a nice story with engaging people in a unique city.

Full disclosure: I’m listening to this one. I don’t take advantage of audio books very often, and I have no idea why. They almost always turn out to be a lot of fun, and this is no exception. The narrator, Robert Ian McKenzie, does a great job and all of the Edinburgh accents are completely charming.

And a bonus: our hotel is less than a mile from the address in the title. I love it!

Scotland Street to Brunswick Street
Scotland Street to Brunswick Street (Source: Google Maps)

Reading Portugal: Baltasar and Blimunda by José Saramago

What a beautiful, lyrical, strange, sad, piercingly funny experience this book is.
A week since I turned the last page, and I can’t stop thinking about it.

A love story, biting satire, melancholy musings on faith, loyalty, and the meaning of life. It’s all there. And a master writer like José Saramago makes it work. Hauntingly so. Go ahead, read it.

Enrique Casanova - Portugal Pittoresco
(Image by Creator:Enrique Casanova, Museu Imperial [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)