Frank Turner’s Be More Kind is today’s blog song. A sweet song with a poignant message.
Words written for the year: 92,032
I am at this moment sitting in a park, surrounded by gravestones, atop a literal mountain of bodies. I have a slight buzz thanks to the whisky tour I just completed, and I can hear the faint sound of bagpipes blown to me by the almost constant breeze. If you guessed I’m in Scotland you would be quite correct. If you guessed I was in Edinburgh you would be even more correct. I could have also told you that I just finished eating a roast pork roll that had the option of haggis stuffing but I felt like that would have been giving it away.
After a very enjoyable second week in Vienna, including a weekend away to the picturesque St. Wolfgang, the Lady Holly and I said farewell to J and A and flew to Edinburgh. It’s been quite magical. Not least because it’s festival season here, something we were dimly aware of, and which means there are roughly five different festivals taking place; all of which have a staggering amount of acts that are all competing for your attention at the same time. Because of this the city is bursting with people, with its populations likely to double this month. It does make sense however, because if you want to run a festival in Scotland it would have to be during the short summer months. In our three days here we’ve mostly worn jumpers and beanies and have been rained on every day. I can only imagine what winter looks like.
This increase of tourists is not a bad thing however. One, because we ourselves are tourists, so who are we to complain, and two, because the city is crackling with energy. Everywhere we go there are buskers performing, people handing out flyers asking (arguably begging) us to see their show, pop up bars, pop up venues, tour groups, comedians, and a general sense of excitement and holiday mentality that can usually only be found at Christmas; all surrounded by the stunningly old and stunningly well maintained city of Edinburgh. It’s quite the atmosphere.
Speaking of Edinburgh’s age, we’re staying at an airbnb in the new part of Edinburgh–new meaning it’s roughly two hundred and fifty years old. Which sounds a little crazy until I consider that the old part of town is roughly eight hundred years old, or more. It’s all a little staggering. The bedroom I’m staying in was built roughly seventy years before my hometown of Melbourne was even founded. The gravestone next to me, which is one of the newer looking ones I should note, is two hundred and fourteen years old.
As you can imagine, a city with that much time under its belt it has a substantial amount of history trodden into its cobblestones. We’ve only done a couple of walking tours in our short time here but it already seems that any one spot in Edinburgh has a dozen stories attached to it; most of which are brutal or comical or both.
It is a city of filth and festivals, cholera and culture, bloodshed and beer. It’s a place where you can find multiple pubs on every street, where graveyards are also park lands, where it’s heroes are scoundrels and dogs (literally), and where history drips out of every crack to soak into your imagination and shoes.
I love it.
Remember to look after yourself, disconnect when you need to, go for a walk even if it’s raining, put your phone in the other room and read a book for an hour. The world can wait.