Wednesday, May 27, 2009

from Edinburgh: changes

The Edinburgh airport is small, but even so, my Ryan Air flight is parked at some distance to the terminal. For a minute, I wonder if they’ll charge us for the bus ride in. [In case you don’t know, Ryan Air is the Walmart of the airline industry: the flights are very cheap; but you have to be careful – everything is subject to a surcharge: sending luggage through, the weight of each bag, the order in which you want to board the plane, the water you drink on it – everything.]

I scan the grounds and notice that there are only a couple of planes at the gates. None of them Air France.

But as the bus pulls up to the terminal, I see the familiar Air France logo taxing toward us. And so I am not surprised when at passport control, the person behind me is Ed, arriving after a series of connections from Madison.

It is damn cold here. 51F feels very nippy after the heat of Bologna. I notice that even the locals are in their woolies. But I also notice that it’s not raining.

I had briefly lived in Edinburgh more than thirty years ago, when my then husband was working on his dissertation on the Scottish Enlightenment. I remember very many wonderful things about the place, but I also remember the rain. You could start the day without it, but sooner or later a nice black cloud would roll in and dump its wet stuff on you.

Today, however, there is (occasional) sunshine.

But the city’s a mess. It appears they’re putting in a tram along Princes Street (the main commercial hub). Everything is ripped open. No matter. We’re here for the night only and we’ve got stuff to do: buy pants for Ed (his fell apart on the flight over; you have to know Ed to understand why that is not a ridiculous statement – the man wears his clothes to their bitter and often unexpected end), buy book on the Glen Way hike, buy sim card for cell phone, walk back several miles due to getting off at wrong bus stop, find hotel, convince them that it’s fine to leave our bags for several weeks there, etc.

We do all that against the backdrop of Edinburgh’s splendid scenery.


Indeed, if you look up toward the castle, or down toward the Firth, it all looks quite fine.


You just cannot look straight ahead, because all you’ll see is construction.

In the evening, we stop everything to eat dinner. We pick a place with a seafood theme, so that Ed can gradually adjust to the Scots’ preference for blood on the plate. We eat sardines and trout and mussels and I think – it’s not too bad foodwise up here in Scotland.



On the walk back to the hotel, I look up and notice the telltale clouds on the horizon.


It’ll be an interesting few weeks.

IMPORTANT NOTE: for the next twelve days (until June 9th), my Internet access is going to be very uncertain. Over my years of blogging, I can think of only a handful of times where I could not post because of a connection problem. This may well be another such time. I will try – I’ll be hiking and kayaking with my computer in my pack (scary thought that it is). But we’re not sure if we’ll find places to stay (we have our sleeping bags) let alone places to hook up. So, stay patient please!