I don't want to forget these things about Edinburgh. I don't think I will, and I'm sure I'll add to this list, but this is just to share with you pieces of the city that make me sigh, chuckle, or even drool.
1) If you look at a satellite view of Grand Rapids on GoogleMaps you'll notice the all too famous grid pattern of streets and city blocks, houses just far apart enough to keep out of your neighbor's personal bubble, backyards and front yards, space. In Edinburgh (especially Edinburgh), people literally live on top of each other. The city planners must have decided that just because a building was in a certain spot didn't mean they couldn't build something right on top of it, and not in the same style necessarily. There's even two hotels on a street near us that share a wall. Every building is squished together. I love it. It makes for that cute postcard look. But the twisty streets and bridges also make for a complex and photogenic Old Town. Victoria Street (West Bow) is my favorite curved street. It winds up a hill and at the top is another street that basically sits on top of all the roofs of the buildings lining Victoria Street. Plus, it's where the cheese monger has a shop.
The next two streets over are streets running under huge archways on top of which are other streets. The fourth street is another bowed street called Candlemaker Row. It's not only a maze, it's amazing! hardy har.
2) The Mosque Kitchen is this awesome (and inexpensive)outdoor....can you call it a restaurant? You walk in a door to get your (amazing!....or should I say "gorgeous"?) food from the two men serving it and walk back to the covered courtyard to eat the steaming hot curried chicken and rice with a huge, larger-than-a-plate, piece of naan. With all the pigeons, leaves, and the cold, it really has a feel of an outdoor soup kitchen. Everyone is bundled up and eat with plastic utensils. And of course, the delightful sign beckoning you to dispose of your trash is a proud and adorably ignorant display of linguistic ambiguity: "Please clear your dishes when finished in the bins provided." As if one may be having so much fun in the bins provided that they forget to clear their plastic "dishes."
3) The way our apartment faces, Alex and I can never see the sun, but I see the effects of it on the castle out our window. It reminds me of Monet and how he painted the Rouen Cathedral in different lighting. I wake up with that castle and go to sleep with it. It stands out orange against a darkening blue sky; tinges of pink speckle the bricks in the early morning when the sun is in the east; the upward shafts of light illuminate this monument through the long hours of darkness. Sometimes lights are on all night and I pretend a princesses is in a fit of sleepless insomnia as her lover battles the British with William Wallace's army. Ok, maybe I don't go that far, but I do wish I could wear pretty Jane Austen dresses all the time and run around palace grounds like a princess shirking her royal obligation to poise and reputation. You try having a castle out your window sometime and see how your thoughts wander!
4) Edinburgh is rife with fodder for "Say What?". Some of our favorite examples are:
-Bin your litter.
-No dog fouling.
-Beware of pedestrians.
-Park and display ("Have you paid and displayed?")
I guess I should save some examples for "Say What?" shouldn't I?
Oregano. No, not o-RE-gah-no. It's o-re-GAH-no. No lie. It's weird.
Shallots. No, not SHA-lots. It's sha-LOTS. Where do they come up with this?
Basil is not BAY-zil, but BAA-zil (like the a in apple).
Corriander is what we call cilantro, both swede ("sweed") and turnip are names for what we call rutabaga, and pudding is any kind of dessert here (but mostly cakes). Our pudding is their custard.
Also, food can be for "eat in or take away" instead of for "here or to go."