European Journals

Day 2: Arthur's Seat & The Botanic

30 August 2017

We got up before the sun and walked straight South to Arthur's seat. We meandered up the back, past the Abby ruins and got a good spot facing the sunrise. I shot some nice ones, then we got a few of the two of us before heading to the top. The trail up there was deep and rutted into the rock, which was a bit cool, really. We met an older gent up top who talked with me a bit:

"Nice morning, eh?


"I expected it to be much colder, but it's wonderful."

"Best to be a pessimist. It's always better than you expect then." ("Everything's better then"?)


I asked him about the lumps in the distance, one he knew to be Bass Rock, a rock in the Firth of Forth that houses thousands of gannets. He seemed to be taking a time lapse with a small old digital compact. We bade him farewell after we got a look and had a little chat with a runner with a deformed arm, who asked me which was the actual Arthur's seat (of the two monuments). I told him the white obelisk was probably the top, but that I didn't know well enough to say with confidence. Now, I think that the whole thing is the "seat," as that's the name of the formation.


We made our way down the finned rock, steps, and fine gravel trail, enjoying the view, then following another trail to a gully behind the face's rise to the West. The stone stairs down were familiar, like they were on my back hill - quaint, maybe. The wild flora felt so medieval, so old. It was a lovely stroll, and we saw a pheasant (a fox in the dark hours by a car in the city), and a few magpies, and two garbagemen in a lorrie going past us on the trail. The driver game a thumb up, which I thought funny and maybe perhaps something he did because he assumed we were American. After yesterday and this morning ( 6 & 7 Sept.), however, I think it's something pretty Scottish. I saw a forklift cut off a car in a tiny roundabout in Mallaig and he gave a thumb up to the other driver, and I've just seen a pin of a thumb up with the filling being the Scottish flag/cross (St. Andrew's Saltire). Who knows.


We made our way back into Center City and then North towards the Botanic. We stopped in a Tesco Express and got some breakfast: packaged pancakes, a box of wheat bricks, two tubs of yogurt, and a litre of orange juice ("with bits"). Walked along the stream, making way for an older woman avoiding the border of nettles, arriving at the gates and finally having to wait for the gardens to open. The first gates were wonderfully hewn of iron, and the second of polished aluminum (aluminium)  I think - very intricate.


We walked all around shooting and that, eventually making our way out after two hours or something. We hurt by then, but had to walk to the buses, then didn't have change for it, so we had to walk to get cash, then change, then got the bus into town to check out the National Museum.


We started in the basement with the ancient geology and archeology, first settlers and second and third. The original "Scots," if they can be so called, probably have little to no presence left in this world. Everyone here is made up of a constant stream of invaders. We ascended, Teysia got some coffee while I checked out the highlanders and Jacobin period after talking with an ex-woodsman turned docent about the museum, work, and the Pacific Northwest. We saw the atriums and stuffed animals and it was a real grind - my head hurt. We got booted at closing, then rode the bus North to get food at The Chop, but forgot where we were going and got off at the Black Fox. We even asked the young server about the black bun we'd seen and he reeled back a bit, so I remembered later on that it was from the Chop. Anyway, I got a sandwich made with this thick cheese called halloumi, fried and salty. It was great. We shared some sauces (pari pari and bourbon mayo) and such, well good.  I was happy even though we'd forgotten our original intention. Probably a better meal for a better price anyway.

Jacob Sell Hicks 20170830 20170830_183735.jpg


So then we got on a bus going the other way thinking it would loop, and it of course didn't, so we had to walk from the stop to a shop to get change after asking the lot at the stop (including a drunk guy who drooled at me, responding through his earbuds that he'd left in). We finally got on the bus and back to the AirBnB, about two hours later than we'd planned. Showers were in order finally, and we did laundry.