Please forgive the time lapse between when this letter was written and the time it has taken me to type and send it. The original letter was written on April 6th, while I was on a brief trip north to Scotland. The letter is as follows:
I am sitting in a pub in Edinburgh with a glass of red wine. The bartender didn’t even seem to know what types of wine they offered, he simply knew them by color. Did I want the white or the red? I wanted the red. Allow me to put this pub into context: I am the only person in it drinking wine (all others sip pints of beer), I am the only American (probably the only foreigner), and aside from one of the bartenders, I am the only female in the joint. It almost feels like a scene from a Western, when an outsider walks into a saloon and everyone stops what they’re doing to size up the new guy, who then does something dumb like talk (so that you can hear a foreign accent) or order something that the bartender most certainly doesn’t have or doesn’t have the habit of selling.
Luckily for me there’s a Manchester United soccer game on and everyone’s attention was quickly diverted back to the screen. Are men in Germany as obsessed with Soccer as the English?
Anyways, let me reverse and begin at the beginning. Today, I took the train from London to Edinburgh. It only took 4 hours 25 minutes. I has assumed the trip would be quite picturesque, however it wasn’t until the last 45 minutes when we were significantly further north, and by that time, probably already in Scotland.
Not everyone on the train was going to Edinburgh, the train made several stops along the way. At one of the last stops (York or New Castle I believe), an older Scottish woman boarded the train and sat behind me. She made several phone calls on her cell phone; mi ami I swear her voice had the most soothing rhythm to it, it was better then music. I carefully listened to each phone call (she spoke mainly of doctor’s visits) and despite the topic being beyond dull I was absolutely over the moon for her voice. I began silently pronouncing her words to feel the way Scottish English made my mouth move. I think it may be my new favorite accent, with South African being a close second.
After we arrived I retrieved a map from the information desk and set out to find my lodging at the Lantern Guest House. My room here is spacious and quite Scottish with a plaid (tartan) head board. The building itself is a monstrous old stone establishment–the door is twice as wide as any I’ve ever opened of seen on a regular house and feels like opening a castle door every time I enter and leave.
Despite most of my day being spent in my seat on the train, I was quite tired when I arrived and my feet ached. Nevertheless, I walked around the city center and browsed a few shops. Tomorrow I’ll be more ambitious, getting up early to get a proper Scottish breakfast and then setting out to see the Edinburgh castle, Museum of Edinburgh, and the Botanical Gardens. I’ve stocked up on apples and nuts to have small snacks help get me through the day so I won’t have to stop for lunch. Now that I’m here, though, I wish I had at least one more day so that I might spend it on a day trip up to the Scottish Highlands. When I travelled to Dublin I took a day tour outside the city to visit the surrounding countryside, and it was honestly the best thing I remember about Ireland since Dublin itself felt a bit lackluster. I think what I enjoy most about vacations is stepping out into fresh air and wilderness. Perhaps that means I should quit taking vacations to such large cities. Next trip: Iceland!
Well m’lady, looks like the pubs about to close up shop now that the match has ended, so I’ll have to end this letter here. Sorry I didn’t have time to tell you about London and all the fun things Mer and I’ve done and have planned for when I get back. I’ll save those adventures for a phone call or another letter. Hope you’re well, wish you were here.