This is the second part of our trip to Edinburgh. I wrote about our first day here.
Our second and third days in town involved a little bit of business, but mostly continuing to visit old places and take the walks that were a part of our everyday life not too long ago.
We started out day 2 at Chocolate Soup, which I gush about here if you missed, and then walked down to our old flat.
Chris used to make this walk every day of the week, about 45 minutes one-way, and it was a great way to unwind after a day of research and writing. The walk went down the famous Royal Mile, a mile-long road through the heart of the city from the Edinburgh Castle (which is beside New College, where he studied) to Holyrood Palace, where the Queen stays when she is in town.
This little cobblestone road was at the bottom of the mile, just before the park.
Into the park,
Holyrood Palace on the right,
(view from the front,)
and onto Holyrood Park.
We loved living here. This beautiful picturesque park was always full of runners, people walking and playing with their dogs, and was lined with these incredible rolling hills.
This (below) was the view from our flat, and we would often talk about how we would probably never have a view like this again in our lives, at least not at such an affordable rate. We spent many mornings staring out at it over our breakfast, had names for the regular dog walkers and our favorite dogs.
The middle hill is the highest hill in Edinburgh, which you can see from most anywhere in town, Arthur’s Seat.
We have lots of memories of Arthur’s Seat, aside from staring at it over our coffee. We climbed it the first week we lived in Edinburgh, and every person who came to visit us in climbed it’s as well and has pictures of themselves at the top. There is a road that goes around Arthur’s Seat and I would often run this when I was training for the mini, since a lap around it and the park was about 3.5 miles. We watched the fireworks set off from there, including one year that a firework went awry and lit the brush beside it on fire.
This beautiful pond was located at the bottom of the hill and had swans living there year-round. I never got over how incredibly quaint this was.
The final path at the edge of the park that we took to our flat.
We walked down to our old flat, walked inside the building, then turned around and left, and I burst into tears.
I’m not really a “burst into tears” sort of person, but being back in a place that felt so familiar, so much like home, and so “us,” and being confronted with the reality that our time there was over was a strange thing.
I wouldn’t rather be living our old life instead of our current life, but it was a wonderful time filled with great memories worth celebrating, so that’s what we did.
We walked back up to the center of town, stopping for lunch at our favorite pub along the way, and then headed to New College where Chris was doing an honorary lecture as a part the Templeton Award.
There was a reception afterwards and it was so funny to stand around and talk with everyone. We knew several of the PhD students since many of them were in their first year when Chris was finishing up. It was so funny to listen to their interactions with him now, several huddled around him in a little group, asking questions about their upcoming submissions and vivas, their job options and applications, on moving back to the US after being away, etc. It was funny because they were obviously very excited and impressed about the Templeton Award, and since Chris received it based on the research and writing that he had done in Edinburgh, they had a “one of us made it to the big leagues” sort of feel, and they were trying to soak up every last bit of information that he could give them.
This was a really nice part of the trip. It would have been strange to have come to Edinburgh strictly to sightsee, and done nothing at all with the University since New College is what brought us to Scotland in the first place. It seemed appropriate to stop there, not just to say hi, but to stop off for a bit of “work.”
That evening, we had one of our favorite Edinburgh dates. We went to a great gourmet pizza place, walked over to Starbucks for coffee and then headed to the movies.
Dinner and a movie has always been a favorite date of ours since our dating days, and at first when we were feeling homesick, we loved that we could still do something familiar in a place that was unfamiliar. But it eventually became it’s own thing, not a way to do our “date from back home,” but a favorite date in Scotland. The food and movie parts were similar, but the rest was different.
First there was the leisurely dinner and walk to the theatre. Since British restaurants have no sense of urgency in bringing you your food and bill in a quick manner, we were forced (at first) to allow ourselves tons of time for both, which meant we had ample time to chat, enjoy our food and our dessert. The theatre is the nicest I’ve ever seen. The lower level is home to several expensive and high class bars and restaurants, which kind of sets the tone that your evening at the movies won’t be surrounded by dozens of middle schoolers and standing on old red carpet with pictures of animated popcorn on it. Going to the movies was a classy affair. That is, until afterwards. Inevitably, the weather would turn while we were inside, and we would step out to rain completely unprepared. We then headed over to the bus stop, which was populated with other people leaving movies, shows and pubs. The bus ride home was ALWAYS interesting, and luckily it was a short ride.
The next day was our last, and my camera was firmly tucked away in the hotel room so that I could soak every second. We had a leisurely breakfast and then parted ways. Chris was meeting with his old advisor for lunch and I was going to lunch with my old colleagues. I rode the bus out to campus and met up with them in my old office. We went to lunch and had a perfect time, chatting, catching up, eating yummy food followed by yummy dessert. It felt like no time had passed at all. At the end of our lunch they walked towards the car and I cried as I walked towards town to meet Chris.
That evening we stayed with some of our best friends in town. We went to one of our favorite restaurants, this cozy little hamburger place called Bell’s Diner. It only had 7 booths, you needed a reservation to get in, but it was completely unpretentious and absolutely delicious. We stayed with our friends that evening and stayed up far too late talking. First thing the next morning we were on our way back home.
It was a perfect trip. A beautiful and emotional reminder of a place and stage our lives that we loved. But we were thrilled to be headed home to a new life that we love, and one of our favorite parts of our new life, a little boy who we missed desperately and we couldn’t wait to be reunited with.