Day 227: Shopping on the Royal Mile, Fringe and Saying Goodbye

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Today marked our return to Edinburgh and our last full day in Scotland. We said a fond “See you again soon” to Wilson, who made our stay in Lauder so pleasant. And boarded the bus bound for the city.

As if blessing us, the sun shone all day, occasionally sliding behind a fluffy cloud for a moment, only to reappear and stream golden light onto us and Edinburgh. It’s the only day we had here without rain.

Arriving in Edinburgh we made our way to the Hilton near the airport, in preparation for flying out tomorrow at noon. But this was not a day of relaxing. After we dropped off our luggage we took a bus back to Old Town. We wanted to savor every moment of our time left in Scotland, and each of us had a list of purchases to make. Mindy and I also wanted one last afternoon tea in this bonnie land.

When we first arrived in Edinburgh, from Glasgow, I didn’t notice a big difference in the feel of this city, other than an ancientness in Old Town that I didn’t feel as deeply in Glasgow. However, after spending several days in Lauder and the Borders, where life moves at a wee bit slower pace, I immediately felt the shift in energy when the bus pulled into the bus station. It wasn’t a bad energy, but a surge of strong busy energy, connected to thousands of people.

Nowhere is this bustling energy more apparent right now than on the Royal Mile in the heart of Old Town. The Fringe Festival is still going strong, continuing until August 25. It is the largest art and entertainment festival in the world and has been held each August for the last 67 years. Performers from all over the world showcase their talent in more than 3,000 shows. While venues for shows are all over Edinburgh, many performances take place in buildings along the Royal Mile or in the open air in the streets in and around the Mile. Performances range from singing and mime to plays, comedy routines and musicals, from the spectacular to the downright weird!

As we approached the Royal Mile on foot, the bustle and busyness and noise came out to meet us, rolling over us like a wave. Thousands of people were shoulder to shoulder on this famous strip of road as performers took to the streets, sidewalks and makeshift stages. We divided up. Harry headed to a store he wanted to visit while Mindy and I started on our shopping lists. Amazingly, our first two stops provided exactly what we were searching for.

Mission accomplished, except for buying Scottish tea to bring home, we gathered Harry and began the search for a spot to settle for afternoon tea. This proved more challenging than we thought it would! As Harry would gladly testify, we walked a long time, looking for just the right place, only to push through the throng and discover we’d made a huge circle, back to where we had started. Not finding a new shop to try, we returned to a restaurant we had eaten dinner at earlier in the week and had a late lunch followed by a simple tea. It was perfect actually. After our light meal we had a cup of tea and a bite of bakewell tart, which was a deliciously tart cake with fruit filling and almond flavoring.

We again split up to complete our shopping, Harry to buy a book while we girls headed to a tea store. We are serious about continuing afternoon tea when we return home. We previously bought Scottish cookbooks and today we bought Scottish tea. I can’t wait to have afternoon tea in my garden at home.

I have to admit a pang and tear filled eyes as we walked away from the Royal Mile. It’s not because I don’t want to return home. I do! And I’m exited to see my family and friends and jump back into the real estate business. No, the brief moment of sorrow is in feeling the separation from this beautiful place I love so much. But more than sorrow, I feel gratitude and joy for this wonderful journey that has so deeply connected me with my roots, with this amazing country and with new friends. I drank in all that I could and the trip feels completed. I’ll carry this experience in my heart no matter where I am. I look forward to my next visit, and bringing others with me who want to share the journey!

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