I have written many Tea Towel Blogs which have included references to Edinburgh: whether it was about the International Festival, Fringe Festival, Forth Road and Rail Bridges, Christmas Market or the Botanical Gardens. I have talked about my first holiday in the caravan where we ended up in Edinburgh, the steam railway journey that took us on an expedition to Edinburgh for Christmas shopping with Gwyn and Pete and Edinburgh as the end point of the National Trust cruise round Scotland. There have been references to various tea rooms, shopping on Princes Street, the wonderful public transport system and the unique shops that sell unusual tea towels. In fact, I would go as far as to say that Edinburgh is definitely one of the best cities to buy a tea towel. I haven’t yet got around to writing about my two, very touristy tea towels of Edinburgh, very traditional with sketches of the places all tourists should visit. Although the first one, with the tartan background was bought in 1989 and the second one, plainer, more than 15 years later, the pictures are virtually the same: Greyfriars Bobby, Scott Monument, Palace of Holyrood, the cathedral of St Giles, the Forth Bridge, John Knox’s house. The tartan one has Princes Street Gardens and Princes Street while the later one has a larger picture of the castle. I like the fact that each sketch on this plainer one has a story about each of the pictures and in the centre it describes Edinburgh as “the ancient and historic capital of Scotland whose skyline is dominated by the magnificent castle…..”
For me, Edinburgh is one of those very special cities; it is a place I have imagined living, in my retirement. It is a physically attractive city, with solid looking buildings; it is a city with a lot of bungalows (my type of home) with attractive gardens; it is a city with a good public transport system; it is a city steeped in history with museums, art galleries, churches, a castle; it is a city of two parts – the Old Town and the New Town, a town planners dream; it is a city within easy travelling distance of so many other attractions within Scotland and it has an airport; it is a city with so many great places to eat, drink and shop plus several theatres and if you want to look at a bridge, Edinburgh has three magnificent bridges. If you want to see a Botanic Gardens or go on a City Bus Tour, Edinburgh has both
For me, Edinburgh is a city that knows how to enjoy itself: whether it is the Jazz, Film, Book, International or Fringe Festivals, whether it is the Tattoo or Hogmanay celebrations, whether it is the Royal Highland Games or the Christmas Market, Edinburgh is a great place to enjoy yourself. I like being able to walk along Princes Street and hear a Piper playing, and playing extremely well. I like being in the city that brought Inspector Rebus to life (courtesy of Ian Rankin), that allowed Bertie to grow up in 44 Scotland Street (courtesy of Alistair McCall Smith); I like to think of JK Rowling writing the first Harry Potter book in the Elephant tea room near George 1V Bridge or Detective Inspector McLean working the streets of Edinburgh (courtesy of James Oswald).
Edinburgh would be my idea of heaven as a place to retire to but impractical for reasons of cost, distance, isolation from family and friends. I don’t want to find myself living in a place that might not be part of the United Kingdom in the future, better to stay where I am and just travel there on holidays. For me, Edinburgh holds so many wonderful memories; and while I have some really elegant and quirky tea towels from here, I love these two tradional tourist tea towels that remind me of all the wonderful things Edinburgh has to offer (even if I don’t know what, or where, White Horse Close is!).