Apologies for the delayed update — moving and settling in seemed to take priority over the past weeks. But there are still a few albums to put up, so without any further ado, let’s jump into Rebus’s Edinburgh…
A personal Rebus tour
It is quite impossible for any reader of Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus books to remain untouched by the Scottish capital. Which was the sole reason it had always been on my list of places to visit in Britain. And while I’d always imagined myself to be a mountain and wilderness type of person, hating crowds and concrete jungles (despite having lived in a variety of them for over three decades), yet Edinburgh, with its thronging Festival season tourists, it’s crowded streets and it’s traffic snarls, was one urban jungle I did fall in love with.
Rebus came alive the moment I stepped on to the platform of Waverley Station. Within minutes I was on Princes Street, looking up at the dizzying Scott Monument, past the National Gallery of Scotland and into Princes Street Gardens. As I walked up the Mound and into the Old Town, the streets become cobbled. It transported you into a different time, and if it weren’t for the traffic it would be hard to imagine this wasn’t a dream, and without the Lothian and Borders Police van, I’d have forgotten why I was really here!
However, a few minutes in the heart of Edinburgh made me — if not forget — disregard the Rebus connection altogether. For the truth of the matter is, you do not need an excuse to visit this beautiful city.
From the Mound, up the steep Castlehill brings you to the foot of the Edinburgh Castle and the start of the Royal Mile (from the Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse). And it puts you in close quarters with a number of other Rebus landmarks: Lawnmarket, Grassmarket, High Street, Canongate, St. Giles Cathedral, the Radisson, the City Chambers, High Street…
Traipsing along the Royal Mile during the Edinburgh Festival was an adventure in itself. Having always avoided crowds like the plague, I was fascinated to find how “into” it all I was. The street performers were amusing, fascinating and hair-raising in turn, but the spectators were fantastic. Parts of the Royal Mile were blocked off to traffic and these were generally so crowded with people that you could only go in the direction the crowd took you.
The end of the Royal Mile brings you to the Queen’s official residence in Scotland, the Palace of of Holyroodhouse, and the eyesore that is the Scottish Parliament. Hailed as a modern architectural masterpiece, this latter building is open to tourists. But more fascinating than the inside is the outside, and the beautiful landscaping and the view around it. Standing with the Parliament building behind you, you have vast green lawns for people to walk or sit on, and to your right is the majestic Salisbury Crags looking down at it all. Imposing though it is, it makes for a gentle walk up, and affords a fantastic view. Someday I hope to make that climb.
A mystery 🙂
According to Doctor Who, a spatio-temporal rift exists in Cardiff, but the only one I experienced in Britain was in Edinburgh! For there can be no other explanation of Princes Street. The Gardens cannot possibly be in the same dimension as the rest of the street… I mean, how else can a few metres’ walk take you away from a crowded, noisy street and transport you instantly into a calm, peaceful, verdant retreat? Interestingly, the railways run through the gardens, but I never realized it till I spotted it from atop the Scott Monument!
With the Edinburgh Castle perched on Castle Rock maintaining its unceasing vigil on the heart of the city, the skyline of the Scottish capital remains impaled in one’s mind once seen. Even getting completely lost in search of my B&B along the interminable (and completely illogical) Queensferry Road, alone and desperate in a big city on the other side of the world, pales in comparison to the memory of that unforgettable view.
Click on the collage to go to the album, as usual.