I've had a draft of this on my computer for years. It's never quite felt finished; it still doesn't. Every time I revisit Edinburgh I find something new and charming about the city. It's the only place I've truly felt homesick for. Time and again, I've found reasons to go back. But as I sit here, revisiting the words I've written and re-written, I have no travel booked back to my favorite city in the world. I think perhaps that's why it feels like as good a time as any to finally share this post.
Walking through the city, history unfurls itself like a map. From the epicenter of the castle and Old Town are buildings hundreds of years older than the founding of the US. At the edge, overlooking New Town, is University of Edinburgh's New College which was built in 1846. I suppose in the context of the city, it's new.
It's hard for me not to be romantic about Edinburgh, and Scotland in general. Part of me wants to say I feel most creative when I'm there, but I think that has more to do with me spending a focused year there writing and producing than me actually being more creative in a specific place. Since moving back to Seattle, I've written some of my best work. But in each story, a piece of Scotland was woven into the sentences.
This last visit felt like a combination of vacation and stay-cation. Having lived there not that long ago, Reese and I have done most of the touristy things around the city so we spent the bulk of this trip revisiting our favorite spots and catching up with friends.
The fun excuse for going back to Scotland this year was my graduation from University of Glasgow. I'm officially a Master of Letters in Creative Writing! I got to celebrate with my lovely cohort of writers and toast to our year of hard work.
I'm not going to list all of my favorite places and recommendations here, but if you're a first time visitor, here are my musts:
Pack good walking/hiking shoes--Edinburgh has so much beautiful green space in the city like Arthur's Seat and Calton Hill. But even if you're not that interested in the outdoors, you'll appreciate comfy shoes when you're walking up worn stone closes in old town and cobble stone streets.
Coffee shops are plentiful in every corner of the city. Artisan Roast (which has a few locations) is one of my go to's up there with Black Medicine Coffee Company. But if you're looking for some breakfast, my recommendations are on opposite ends of town. Twelve Triangles at the top of Leith Walk is possibly my favorite pastry place ever--I love the cinnamon buns. But if what you're in the mood for is a full Scottish, you have to go to The Birchwood.
If you're curious about where else you should go, I created a public Google List full of dinner spots and local bookstores and pubs. Sláinte.