One of my favourite things in the world is walking up the ramp at Waverley Station (Fun Fact: Waverley boasts a ground area of 101,000 square metres, making it the second biggest station, by area, in the UK.). I realise that that probably sounds a bit odd but please, bear with me. This started a couple of years or so ago, but it’s only recently that I’ve really begun to understand it.
When I walk up that ramp I see a bank. A monument (one, I might add, that bears a striking resemblance – in my eyes at least – to Thunderbird 3, albeit with an extra leg). 18th century ‘multi stories’. Two art galleries. A large expanse of gardens. A castle – No, THE castle. In short, I see a picture-postcard of Edinburgh. But it’s also more than that; I see a little bit of home.
I have lived in Edinburgh for most of my life and it would be more than a lie if I said I wasn’t quite fond of it. Over the last few years being away has made me notice quite how stunning it is – especially at sunset, or perhaps that’s just my fascination with such things setting (pun fully intended) in again – and has made me appreciate it all the more. I now understand what really brings the flocks of tourists from across the globe to our city. And I have to say that I am a little captivated by it as well. But how much do I know about my home? Well, not very much it transpires.
Before I go away anywhere I always do a little bit of background reading to find out why the place deems itself special, to see what I might do. To the best of my knowledge, however, I have never done the same for ‘The ‘Burgh’. That’s not to say I know nothing, my parents were very good at taking me to see the sights and explaining why they were important when I was younger, but It appears that I just wasn’t listening.
I mean I know the basic functions of most of the buildings, and roughly when various things were built, but when I’m in town the chances are I’m in a bookshop, having coffee (and perhaps occasionally in the pub); I’m not climbing the Scott Monument, or looking out from the Castle. I know it’s all there, but because of that I’ve never got round to seeing a lot of it; it will always be there for ‘when I’ve got the time’, which remarkably never seems to appear.
The best way, I have decided, to rid myself of this woeful lack of local knowledge is to do the research, visit the places – to play the tourist in my home town. Over the coming months I will be visiting many of the city’s most enchanting attractions, sharing what I find along the way. I will also try not to get run over by our mythical trams (unsurprisingly the June 2011 deadline for 2 fully operational lines was missed by a country mile – not a single tram has yet run).
If you have any suggestions for places I should visit please get in touch below and I’ll add them to the list.
You can also follow the action live via Twitter (@contempclouds), which will be updated with fun facts and (perhaps on occasion) photos of the places I’m visiting.