My final full day in Edinburgh began with a delicious breakfast of freshly cooked eggs benedict at the Urban Angel cafe, and then saw me turning in a different direction, this time north towards Stockbridge and its lovely village atmosphere, winding streets, independent shops, and pretty little houses.
Further on I came to the Royal Botanic Gardens and enjoyed a very pleasant couple of hours wandering around the grounds and different garden areas, mostly still dormant over winter there were signs of spring beginning to appear, and some rhododendrons that were getting a bit ahead of themselves by starting to bloom! Colour and small details were what captured me, textures of tree bark, jewel-like berries, and architectural monkey puzzle tree branches. Plenty of work was going on in the gardens to tidy up and prepare for the seasons to come, and unfortunately this meant the glasshouses were closed for maintenance so I had to make do with looking in from the outside.
(Click on any image below to enlarge)
One explosion of exuberance that made me smile was the prayer flag tree in the Nepalese garden, festooned with brightly coloured pennants fluttering in the breeze, it also brought to mind a traditional English maypole, but as it stood on Scottish soil I suppose the associations don’t really matter.
I also made a new feathered friend during my wandering. I had actually stopped to take a photo of some bright red berries, when out of the corner of my eye I caught a flutter of red go behind me. This little robin seemed quite curious about what I was doing, and then unperturbed when I turned around to take his photo. I managed to get closer and closer, kneeling down to meet his eye level, and he fluffed out his chest and gazed directly down the camera confidently. I'm so thrilled to get these shots - robins are very special birds for me so to have such a close encounter was just wonderful.
Respite came from a warm café and a slice of cake (I think with all the walking I’d earned it), then feet pointed onward again, this time following the Water of Leith Walkway alongside the river through quiet green spaces, the sound of the water rushing over stone soothing after the bustle of the last couple of days in the city. Reaching Dean Village, I snapped the requisite view of the beautiful old and colourful houses beside the river, pondering the lifestyle of their residents, before ascending the steeply cobbled streets towards the Thomas Telford-designed Dean Bridge, and then back towards the west end of Princes Street.
Not ready yet to end my explorations I continued back towards the Old Town and Royal Mile, mooching round a few of the tourist shops, watching a flame-thrower act entertaining a crowd, and capturing more memories of a wonderful week, plus the briefest glimpse of another glorious sunset above the castle.
Friday saw me packing up to return home, my bag slightly fuller than when I arrived (I’m a shopper OK, so sue me!), first making the most of a leisurely breakfast and a final walk back to the station, humming with people headed to destinations unknown and trains departing east and west. My own journey was uneventful, still enjoying the views as we passed through the country, arriving in London after dark, traversing the city underground to connect with my final train home.
I had a fantastic time, it was a real treat to visit somewhere new and to explore it at my own pace, enjoying everywhere and everything I came across, learning about Edinburgh’s history and development, relishing the outdoors and the beauty of nature on the fringes of the city, and soaking up the atmosphere of this vivid and very much living metropolis. I have hundreds of photos to recall the sights, sounds and smells of the places I visited, and a few lovely souvenirs to treasure too. Plus there are plenty of things I didn’t get a chance to do so that means I’ll have something to look forward to if I go again at some point! Perhaps more so though, I have the knowledge that I survived the week on my own away from home, the courage and confidence that gives me, and the desire to get out and see more of the world, to experience and learn more, to slake my curiosity, and to gather inspiration. I don’t know yet when or where my next adventure will be, but I hope it will hold the same wonder as this trip did, and you can be sure I’ll share with you whatever I find – about the places, and about myself.