Since my corresponding list about London proved so popular (or at least so ‘likeable’), I thought I’d note a few surprising things about Edinburgh. Granted, I only spent a weekend in Edinburgh, as opposed to 6 months in London, so I might be more liable to surprise regarding the former.
The religious language on Hume’s grave. If you know much about David Hume, you will know what one ought to expect regarding Hume and anything religious. If you don’t know much, Google ‘The Natural History of Religion.’ Then click on this picture of his grave to zoom in.
How little nationalism was on display. Given how much power has been devolved to Scotland and that they will vote on independence from the UK next year and all those stereotypes from pop culture, I expected to see some pretty strong Scottish national pride, especially since there was a Six Nations rugby match happening at Murrayfield while we were in town. But I think we saw more Welsh fans in costumes and flags, and many establishments had both Scottish and Welsh flags hanging outdoors(Granted, maybe things would have been different if Scotland were playing England). Moreover, I reckon I saw more Union Jacks flying in Scotland than I did in Wales.
Blue sky!? There are two parts to this: First, sunshine is not all that common in London, and given its latitude and climate, one would expect to see even less of the sun in Edinburgh. Second, when we do have sun here in London, it doesn’t just peek in and out of the clouds. If it’s overcast, it will remain so all day. If it’s raining, it usually will rain all day. But while we were in Edinburgh, the weather several times went from driving snow to blue sky and back again. Mental!
How small it feels. Edinburgh is the capital city of Scotland, and has a population on almost 500,000, so it’s not a mega-city by any means, but I expected it to feel much bigger. While we didn’t exactly walk from one end of the city to the other, we did stay outside the city centre, and easily walked all around, back and forth across the city. We did take a few buses, but this was mostly because we had such a limited amount of time to see everything (and occasionally wanted a break from the bitter cold!).
How drastically different it looks from any English city. Yes, I know about the history between Scotland and England. But I guess I assumed that since they’ve been united since 1706, and because they are, after all, neighbours, that Edinburgh would look rather like an English city of comparable size. Not at all! While there’s much I could say here, I think one of the most striking differences is in the stone that’s used for all the buildings — and not just the massive historical buildings in the city centre, either. When we got off the train, I really felt like we’d gone to Europe.