Anglotopia Day 5 – Edinburgh (Brexit vote day)
Many windows in Edinburgh sported the “Vote Remain” sign. “Vote Remain” against the looming Brexit polling day.
When we woke that morning however, my British friend came into the living room, looked at me because we had both seen the “Yes, Brexit” vote, and said, quite tiredly, “I need tea.”
The very idea of Brexiting, had happened, seemingly against all odds. This was a perfectly British response to a shock.
It would not be such a positive day in the city, as a high portion of Scots had voted to remain in the EU.
The skies were heavy and overcast as we walked down the Royal Mile toward Holyrood Palace, reflecting the mood of many in the cafes and on the streets. It seemed as everyone moved in slow motion, a dream-like state, as if in denial that Brexit had indeed happened.
At Holyrood, the palace was quiet and almost soothing compared against the outside world. We toured the interiors, and I enjoyed the family photographs and the “friendlier” feeling of this palace over the others I had visited. There was an interesting exhibit on Queen Elizabeth II’s dressmakers and dresses throughout the years of her reign.
It was a fascinating study of fashion and change over the years. In Thailand, when the king passed away, it was said that people were distressed as he was the only monarch most of the Thai people had known all their lives. When I think of Queen Elizabeth II, who ascended to the throne in 1953, the same is true of her. She has weathered through a great deal of scandal and massive historic changes throughout the decades.
From the palace, we passed into the ruins of the abbey next door, a vision worthy of a poem such as Tintern Abbey. Open against the sky, the walls of the abbey were a mossy tribute to the passing of time and the overtake of nature from man.
For the rest of the day, we explored Edinburgh, including a visit to the free Museum of Childhood (one of many free small museums in Edinburgh), which was a massive dose of nostalgia for some of the childhood toys and games in there (I’m an 80s baby and a 90s child).
Perhaps the best part of the day was a stop at Reekie’s, a smoked meat joint. If it’s one thing I miss about the States, it’s genuinely good BBQ and smoked meat. Oh my goodness, I don’t even need bread when smoked meat is around. Just give me a pile and a fork. I was introduced to their smoked meat, homemade pickles, and Irn Bru – which is a tasty cream soda concoction.
Afterwards, I went tartan stole shopping, which was quite a serious task in Edinburgh. First of all, there were many shops carrying tartan stoles. Then, there were many colors and patterns, all with different meanings, and, if you’re Scottish, clan patterns. And then there were the types of fabric, from luxury cashmere, which feels like butter, and reasonably nice blend of cashmere and wool, and then there’s just plain stratchy wool. Obviously, the cheapest option out of all of those, but a bit course depending on the shop. The average tourist shop probably isn’t the best place to look for quality tartan.
To find a bit of peace, though, from the politics of the day, I wandered into Canongate Kirkyard, where famous economist Adam Smith was buried.
Nothing like a slow meander through the quiet of a graveyard to reset balance.