09.19.2012 - 09.19.2012 57 °F
The morning is sunny, the forecast clear of any rain. After Matt leaves for work, I put on my hiking gear and head east down the Royal Mile toward Holyrood Park, stopping at a few shops along the way. I buy some Christmas gifts, which I stuff into my pack, and then barter with one of the shop clerks to get a discount on an Edinburgh sweatshirt for myself; we end up chatting for about 20 minutes after I make my purchase.
It is a beautiful day for hiking around Holyrood Park, not too cold but just a little windy, as always. I start out on the same path that Matt and I took on our climb to the Arthur's Seat summit, then veer off on some paths that follow the valley between Arthur's Seat and Salisbury Crags.
The interesting thing about Holyrood Park is that footpaths zigzag like spiderwebs all over the hills, through the valleys, around ponds. You basically can go where you want to go and do whatever kind of hike you want to do. When I pause to take pictures and admire the hills around me, I see specks of people following the countless paths and trails. Some are tourists, others are walking dogs or jogging. All these different people brought together by a love for the outdoors and the sunshine.
When I'm ready for lunch, I head back to the Royal Mile and stop at a restaurant called Cafe Vivo. I grab a seat in front of the window, sink into the comfortable leather seat, and order a goat cheese, chicken and sun-dried tomato panini on a crisp baguette and a cappuccino. I'm torn between watching the pedestrians hurry along the sidewalk and staring at the assortment of brownies, cakes and truffles at the counter. I tell myself that it is okay to splurge and that I would grab it on my way out. But at the last minute I decide to save my money—I'll be spending enough of it while shopping in the trinket stores.
And spend it I do. I duck into almost every store, picking out gifts and looking at the plaid tartans that remind me of Catholic grade school. When I finally decide to call it a day and head back to the apartment, I feel like I've accomplished a lot of what I needed to do but still flustered by spending money. Keep in mind that 1 British pound equals about $1.60 USD. I constantly estimate the amount in my head, which helps me be at least a little more judicious with my purchases.
Matt returns to the apartment a little after 5:30. We are not going out to dinner tonight because he is meeting his boss for drinks tonight and will probably end up eating at the pub. I decide not to go so that he can stay out later (since I like to go to bed early) and bond with his work friends. I heat up a microwave pasta meal and look forward to catching up on some reading and relaxing.
Tomorrow I will be taking a train trip about half an hour east of Edinburgh to the coastal town of North Berwick. It is supposed to rain, unfortunately (what luck that both of my train trips have been rainy days!). But I'm looking forward to seeing another city, especially one that is on the coast. It should be pretty different from the hectic Edinburgh and the bucolic Pitlochry.