Climbing Arthur’s Seat

July 2, 2017

Edinburgh’s summer feels a lot like the Seattle’s fall to me. Crisp, with bright breaks of sun through the near constant rain drizzle. God, I love it. But when rain kept us in for our first weekend and sickness kept us in on our second (Walt had a rough cold), I finally looked up and realized we’ve been here for two weeks and haven’t seen a lot of this city we’ve find ourselves in.

It was high time to change that.

Yesterday Walt and I climbed Arthur’s Seat, a series of hills and cliff faces at the base of the Royal Mile. The walk touted fabulous views of Edinburgh, and the sun was out, so even though it was covered with tons of people, it was a pretty great hike.

Walt and I talked about how we would have played on the trails as kids. Teenage Walt would have used the crags and rocks to play capture the flag, where as elementary school Kylie would have absolutely been an adventurous Scottish princess on a quest to break a curse.

Ahem. In any case, we had a good time.

Once conquering Arthur’s Seat, we headed over to the neighboring Calton Hill to see its towering, if hodgepodge group of monuments. We had learned on a walking tour that the National Monument was originally proposed to allude to the Greek Parthenon. Because multiple theologians, economists and scientists had come from Edinburgh at the time, the city had dubbed itself the ‘Athens of the North’ and figured it needed a Parthenon to celebrate the center of learning the city had become.

Unfortunately, the project quickly ran out of money. The only thing they could afford to build was an incomplete facade that stands to this day.

Probably my favorite part of the day though was the pub we stopped at on our way home. The Jolly Judge is a stones throw from our apartment, and we had wanted to try it for a good while. We came in to the dark, low ceilinged space to find it full of patrons enjoying a late-afternoon pint. So we asked if we could share a table with an older couple, who were happy to oblige. After a while we ended up talking with the Scottish couple about his golf tournament (he had played poorly, so he was spending his final tourney day in the pub with his wife!), about our odd work/travel/life arrangements, and, dangerously, even some American politics. Before we knew it, they were buying us a second round of drinks.

That’s right, guys. A couple of lovely Scots bought Walt and me a pint at an atrociously Scottish pub.

That’s got to be worth at least 20 life points, right?

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