Monday, 14 April 2014

A love affair with Princes Street Gardens

I've lived in Edinburgh for four years and still, despite all the other corners of the city that I've discovered, my favourite part of the city is Princes Street Gardens.

Today I had a day off work and although I probably should have done something physical given that the clock is ticking until I have to complete a Triathlon and Tough Mudder, instead I spent the day sitting in Princes Street Gardens, happily idling away the time.

The sun was warm on  my face today, the first attempts at Scottish spring desperately trying to break through. One of my favourite things about the gardens are the sturdy wooden benches, all a little worn from many other bodies sitting on them. Each of the benches is dedicated to someone who has passed and I like to read the inscriptions and realise that I'm sitting somewhere that was so loved by someone that they have a remembrance bench placed here. I sat on the first empty one that I came across today and when I leant in to read the plaque I saw that it was dedicated to someone with the same surname as me which was a nice little twist of fate.

It's not hard to explain why Princes Street Gardens is one of my favourite places in Edinburgh. It literally throbs with life, from the vibrant green grass, to the numerous trees bursting into flower with the advancing of the year into the spring and of course the multitude of people walking through the gardens, sitting on the benches like me or sprawled out on the grass, soaking up the feeble Scottish sunshine.

Normally I like quiet places where the world feels like it belongs to me alone, but there is something pleasant about the people in the gardens. Everyone seems so happy. The couples drape themselves over each other, lazily and contentedly. The parents clap excitedly and coo as their toddlers take wobbly steps on the grass. Older children chase after each other, full of childish exuberance, some adults sit alone, lost in the pages of a book and others like me just sit, thinking about nothing in particular and yet everything all at once.

The grandeur of the castle casts an impressive shadow over the gardens, reminding me that I'm situated in the heart of one of Scotland's most iconic cities and the buzz of the shoppers on Princes Street drifts down to the gardens, a perfect juxtaposition between the ancient world of the castle and the modern world in the street above.

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