Welcome to my first post on enchanting Edinburgh! You cannot imagine how incredibly thrilled I am to finally begin writing about one of my most favorite cities on this planet. Bursting (literally) with history, Edinburgh is one of those places where every street is significant. You can be strolling down a lane and see a house where Robert Louis Stevenson used to stay, or where Sir Walter Scott used to live. Oh, there in the horizon is Edinburgh Castle, or Authur’s Seat, or the Palace of Holyrood House. That tree on your left, was planted during the reign of Queen Mary of Scots, and Adam Smith used to take evening walks down that yonder lane. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle enjoyed visiting the gentleman who lived in that house in front of you and Robert Burns’ children used to play in that park. That pub you just passed, oh, the man who used to own it in the days of yore inspired the ever famous The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Oh, and did I mention that Alexander Graham Bell used to pace the hallways of that building, pondering his inventions?
I could go on, and on, and on, and on and exhaust my entire vocabulary (and my fingers) by simply trying to explain to you how captivating this city is. And I don’t love it just because of the history – yes, history is one of the reasons I adored Edinburgh, but I also love the place’s atmosphere. The inhabitants of Edinburgh are amiable, helpful, and wonderfully cheerful. In addition, their accents are sensational. Often times you may not be able to understand exactly what they’re saying, but just hearing that Scottish twang brings joy to my heart.
We stayed in Edinburgh only a few yet jam-packed days. I left feeling like I had only seen the topmost layer of what the city had to offer. And oh, did I mention the clouds? The clouds in Scotland are magnificent things. One cannot understand the awesome countenance of Scottish clouds until one sees them, but let me say this: I advise you to add ‘glimpsing Scottish clouds’ to your bucket list.
I wanted to write an interesting, story-like introduction to Edinburgh like I did with Chipping Campden, but I’ve realized that for this city, a preamble like that won’t work well. Instead, I shall inaugurate my Edinburgh posts by doing a mini book haul.
From what you’ve already learned about me, I hope you’ve uncovered that I have a very hard time resisting old book stores. I find it especially delightful to visit rare and used book shops while traveling so that I have a valuable keepsake.
While in Edinburgh, we were advised by the owner of our bed and breakfast to stop by The Bookworm. The Bookworm in a used book store specializing in military literature, but you can find many other types of books filling its shelves. This store had a good collection of vintage books, but not very many. Compare it to a Half-Price Bookstore, and you’ve got a vague idea of what The Bookworm offers. In looks, however, it is very different. This shop was cozy, smelled deliciously of paper and ink, and had bookshelves on the walls, bookshelves on the floors, bookshelves under stands, bookshelves in the window, bookshelves behind the door, and bookshelves along the staircase. I absolutely loved it. I looked it up the other day on the Internet and found the website : http://www.scottishbookworm.com/ . The kind owner, Peter, has a blog of sorts that lets you know what new (relatively) books he’s just added for sale.
Now to show you what we bought!
# 1 – Oor Wullie
Oor Wullie is a Scottish comic published in the D.C. Thomson newspaper. The strip first appeared on March 8th, 1936 and from what I understand, new strips stopped emerging in 1996. The comic book we bought isn’t old; it was published in 1994. We learned from the owners that Oor Wullie was a classic example of Scottish everyday life. Everything is written with a Scottish lilt and at first is quite hard to read. You can compare Oor Wullie to Charlie Brown or Dennis the Menace in terms of popularity. Wullie is a character very different from Charlie and slightly more troublesome than Dennis, however. He doesn’t think before he acts, he’s silly, and is eternally in trouble.
# 2 – Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
When in the city of Sir Walter Scott himself, how can one possibly forget to scour the dusty shelves of old bookstores for vintage copies of the celebrated Ivanhoe or Waverley? Once I learned that Edinburgh was Sir Walter Scott’s birthplace, I thought that if I should leave with one book, that one book ought to be either one of his novels, or a work of Robert Louis Stevenson.
The copy of Ivanhoe above is a rather small book. The book doesn’t have a publishing date on it, but the owner of The Bookworm thought it probably dates somewhere between 1890 to the very early 1900’s.
# 3 – A Cyclopedia of Poetical Quotations
This is a beautiful volume dating back to circa 1854. It’s an interesting book, with individual stanzas of poetry organized by topic. For example, if you turn to a section marked Dreams, you’ll see snippets of long poems or complete short poems that all pertain to dreams.
This book poetry is spectacular, and is definitely a bedside table essential. Unfortunately, as books from the 1800’s are, well, old, they don’t take well to constant handling.
Tangent: As I was paging through this book to find verses I wanted to display on this post, a bit of the binding (a tiny piece) chipped off and I nearly had a heart attack.
And that is the end of my very short book haul!
(On a side note: I really, really need to find another word for ‘haul’. It just oozes YouTube parlance. If you know of a better word, please do enlighten me!)
I hope you enjoyed my little introduction to Edinburgh and my third-rate photography!