Edinburgh

About two weeks ago I called the hospital to get pre-admittance instructions for my surgery and was surprised and angered to find it wasn’t in fact scheduled like I thought it was. For the second time I had run into issues with getting the surgery actually scheduled. I burst into tears on the phone, shocking the stiff-upper-lip Brit I was speaking to, and wallowed for a bit in my frustration. “This is kind of a big deal! Don’t they realize the inconvenience their disorganization is causing?!”  Well, once again, now that I’ve calmed down, I can see God’s timing and I’m actually thankful my surgery got pushed back to this week. Because of that we were able to get away for a long weekend to Edinburgh, Scotland. We loved every minute of it, and I think we both really needed that time to relax together before my surgery this week.

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Edinburgh is a city that I’d imagine is beautiful in every season, but wow, the autumn leaves and green grass contrasting with the grey buildings give it a certain glow. We stepped off the bus onto Princes Street and took it all in. To the left we saw antiqued steeples and rooftops sticking out from the hill, to the right your typical British High Street with a Marks & Spencer, H&M, etc. Scott’s Monument jutted out of the Princes Street Garden into the blue sky. The woman behind me on the plane said, “This is the first time I’ve been to Edinburgh when it hasn’t been raining!” (Now I’m not sure how impressive of a claim that is, as I’m not aware of her travel history, but it did make me thankful for the crisp clear sky.)

Scott's Monument, for Sir Walter Scott

Scott’s Monument, for Sir Walter Scott

After gazing at the city for a few minutes, our bags started to get heavy, so we made our way to the flat we rented for the weekend. I’ve followed advice of other spouses here and looked at hotels, inns, B&B’s, hostels and private rentals when booking trips. It was very nice to have our own little apartment in the city, and we were able to experience more of the “local” atmosphere because of it, including two great local eateries (Joseph Pearce’s and Word of Mouth Cafe).

Feeling perked up because of lightened loads and a few minutes of shut eye, we walked from our place up the hill to the Royal Mile, feasted on pulled pork from Oink!, and began exploring.

???????????????????????????????Edinburgh IMG_3754Royal Mile EdinburghWalking up the hill along the Mile, you see towering grey rooftops and shop after shop hawking tartan and shortbread. But turn and look down the hill and there’s the sea, churning peacefully below. Then, you turn the corner, and CASTLE.

Edinburgh Castle

Since it was already late afternoon, we held off on visiting the castle and headed to the Scotch Whisky Experience. Despite thinking whisky tastes like battery acid (I imagine), I enjoyed the tour. The chemistry and detail in the production process was very interesting, although the amount of money some people spent on it is simply baffling. Scotland sure loves its whisky…

What could be more British...

What could be more British…

The next day, typical rainy and dreary Scotland weather had returned. Edinburgh Castle was first up on our itinerary, looking mightily interesting shrouded in rain and fog.

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The rain came and went as we were up there. It just made the streets and rooftops shimmer, the green grass greener, and the clouds dissipate. We even saw a rainbow.

We plopped down by a window in the cafe to wait out the rain and realized we were just in time for the 1:00 gun. (I had never heard of it until planning the trip… It’s an interesting bit of history, find out about it here.) WordPress won’t let me upload the video onto my blog without me paying for an upgrade (no thanks!) so I’ll try to upload it to Facebook later.

At the castle we were also able to see (but not photograph) the Scottish Crown Jewels. The jewels have a fascinating history – it’s amazing they’re still around today. At one point they were even snuck out of the castle by plainclothes women (the sword was cut in half and smuggled out in a skirt) and buried in the dirt for years to keep them out of the hands of the English!

Edinburgh Castle

After the castle we headed to the quirky shopping area known as the Grassmarket.

Grassmarket Edinburgh

We perused the market and boutique shops while sipping mulled wine. Yum yum yum.

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Once again, the bright colors stood in stark contrast to the grey old stone and brick.

Ever since seeing Sunshine on Leith a few weeks ago, Sam and I have been singing and humming songs by The Proclaimers (the Scottish band who did “And I would walk 500 miles, and I would walk 500 more…”). Edinburgh didn’t help that problem. Especially since we actually stayed in Leith, in northern Edinburgh.

Proclaimers

The last thing we really wanted to do in Edinburgh for this trip was to visit Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park – a rustic thumb poking through the surrounding city. We climbed up to the peak and were once again thankful for clear blue skies. As far as views go, we couldn’t have asked for better weather!

Entering Holyrood Park

Entering Holyrood Park

Sunshine on Leith

Sunshine on Leith

Fellow climbers

We made it to the top in less than an hour. Not too rough of a climb, but man it was hard for me!

On top of Edinburgh

On top of Edinburgh

Oh, hi!

Oh, hi!

On the right side you can see Edinburgh Castle and Scott's Monument.

On the right side you can see Edinburgh Castle and Scott’s Monument.

The southeastern view.

The southeastern view.

More hilltops to climb on another day

More hilltops to climb another day.

We walked down the hill towards the sea but lingered for a while in the park... I love this picture. It shows how beautiful this place really was.

We walked down the hill towards the sea but lingered for a while in the park… I love this picture. It shows how beautiful this place really was.

Swans (and pigeons) everywhere!

Swans (and pigeons) everywhere!

We also explored the National Gallery (which deserves a post of its own) and walked around a lot of the city. Even still, we felt like we were able to unwind and mentally prepare for this week. It didn’t feel scheduled or rushed. Just like we were spending a relaxing weekend in a different place.

In college I went to Sydney, Australia. It was beautiful and pristine, but I remember thinking “Do people actually live here? Where are they? What do they do after work?” It all seemed too polished, too professional to be anyone’s residence.

Edinburgh is lived in. There’s rubbish on the street, people busking for their living, students and employees rushing to bus stops, couples hurrying from pub to pub. It has dumpsters on its street corners, sirens sounding in the distance. People walk their dogs, some clean up the droppings. But that’s what I loved about the city. Not the dog droppings… What I loved was that I felt people were enjoying and experiencing the grey of the city day after day, bringing their own color to it, breathing life into with their laughter, sighs and conversation.

Edinburgh has a lot to offer and begs to be explored again. I’ll gladly do just that.

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But for now we’re back in England with a new adventure on the horizon. Tomorrow I check into the hospital and on Wednesday I’ll have surgery. Please pray for me if you think about it. Here are a few specific things you can pray for:

  • I’ve been experiencing nausea/dizziness almost daily for the last week or so, and off and on before then. Please pray this resolves either as a result of the surgery fix or by other healing.
  • Please pray for the doctors and nurses I come into contact with; that they perform their duties well and that I might be able to display the love of Christ to them.
  • Please pray for comfort, patience, peace and rest for Sam as he waits and encourages me. Also pray for the same comfort for my mom – I know how much she wishes she could be here. (Pray that God gives her the same peace he has given me about this plan and His timing!)
  • Lastly, please pray for me. That I will humble myself and ask for help when I need it, that I won’t be too stubborn so that I’ll actually rest,  that I will be healed of the symptoms and complications of my pectus excavatum, and that I will still seek God’s plan and joy every day throughout my recovery.

Thank you friends and family!

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