March 21, 2015

An excursion up North

Today I happend to extend my cultural playground all the way to the far North. Arriving in Edinburgh for family reasons, I spent the morning exploring Scotland's most famous castle, a historic fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh castle has been at the heart of Scotland’s life for well over 1,000 years. It is the most besieged castle in the UK and over many centuries has witnessed royal ceremonies, savage battles, medieval parliaments, lavish feasts, grand parades, ruthless politics, raids by stealth, the birth of a king and the deaths of queens, jousting tournaments, troubled marriages, devout prayers and intensive military activity. It is a fascinating lesson in Scottish history, built over various epochs, offering endless nooks and crannies to explore. It was just a pity my kids weren't with me to share all the fun.

Barely soup and Scottish salmon for dinner with a late night stroll down Princes street to digest it all. Porridge with proper strong tea for breakfast and a spectacular view onto the castle. Souvenir shops selling kilts and cashmere sweaters. Scottish bag pipers throughout the old town displaying their talent making an extra few Scottish pounds. It all went straight to my tourist heart's delight.

I came across many fellow tourists who were being guided and given directions by the locals. The traditional department store "House of Frazer" was sadly deserted due to unbeatable competition by global high street brands.

Blue skies and fabulous sunshine were a real treat and the Scottish laid-back pace, the unusual accent and the friendly smiles all left me with a taste for more.

But most of all the feeling of content lifestyle prevailed in stark contrast to the daily stress of a metropolis such as Paris. Edinburgh might be Scotland's second largest city, but it certainly has found its own comfortable, humane rhythm. I'll be back with my children soon.

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