Friday, 31 July 2009

A Symphony in Grey

There are some cities that you never hear a bad review of. There are people who don't like London or Wellington, or even Paris. But, like Vancouver or San Francisco, I've never heard a bad word said about Edinburgh. So when we visited it had high expectations to live up to. It didn't disappoint.

Edinburgh: photogenic

I'd read the city called a symphony in grey, which sums up both its colour and the beauty. Built on volcanic remains, central Edinburgh is all grand grey buildings, winding grey alleyways and old pubs. And smack in the middle of the city is this wonderful piece of wilderness, Arthur's Seat.

From the castle, perched on cliffs on three sides, down the splendid, tourist tat-filled Royal Mile to Holyrood Palace, and beyond, the city is just gorgeous.

Holyrood Palace, where the heavily pregnant Mary Queen of Scots saw her husband stab her secretary to death.

Is there a city with something comparable to this mix of beautiful buildings, fascinating history, cosmopolitan atmosphere and spectacular nature? Vancouver and Wellington have the setting and the atmosphere, but not the history or the buildings. London, Paris, Berlin, Rome and the other great European cities I have seen have the past, the architecture and buzz (and all more so in one way or another), but not the scenery. Same for Washington DC and New York. Perhaps the closest are Luang Phrabang in Laos and Luxembourg City, but they feel more like towns than cities.

I don't think anything will match the love I have for Wellington and London, the sense of ownership you get when you live somewhere very, very cool, but I would definitely have to rank Edinburgh near the top of all the cities I've visited.

So what your favourite cities and why?

This photo isn't really related to anything, but isn't it brilliant? Go Lauren!

1 comment:

Kimberley said...

I will always have a soft spot for Phnom Penh, New York, and Paris.