A few weeks ago I made a short (and cheap!) trip to Edinburgh. I can’t really explain why I wanted to go there specifically; something about the castles and weather and paying homage to J.K. Rowling appealed to me. What little time I did have there was lovely, but since I’m not a person to be rushed, I didn’t get to see that much of the city.
I am an enormous fan of writing and/or working in coffee shops and cafes. So naturally, I had to visit one of the cafes that the literary badass J.K. Rowling frequented, where she wrote much of the first Harry Potter (as a single mom living on welfare).
It’s called The Elephant House. It was made especially cozy by the view of Edinburgh Castle from the window, and the ominous gray clouds outside. And since I have you here and we’re talking about J.K. Rowling, I’ll just slip in this tangential-but-beautiful little excerpt from her 2008 Harvard commencement address:
“Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy to finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter, and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
ANYWAY BACK ON TRACK
Here are some nice pictures of the city:
As you can see… there is incredible architecture in Edinburgh. Cathedrals and castles are literally around every corner. I think that’s the thing I found most unique: this synthesis of the past and the pending in the interface between lumpy weathered cobblestone streets, and modern hipster coffee shops.
24 hours definitely wasn’t enough—Edinburgh is still largely a mystery to me.