Beauty & the ‘burgh

Posted on July 22, 2013

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19429-63One of my greatest joys in life is discovering a new city on foot. I’ve written about this often in the past from cities as far afield as Bangkok to Budapest, Singapore to Sydney, Lyon to Lijiang.

Rising at the crack of dawn to discover crooks and explore crannies, watch day break and neighbourhoods come to life then return feeling utterly euphoric thanks to the priceless rewards that running brings … how can that not signal the start of a wonderful day?

Equally as rewarding though is rediscovering a city you love and that I did this morning. Edinburgh is without a shadow one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Cosmopolitan yet compact, it is bursting with amazing architecture, gorgeous gardens and history and heritage on every street corner.

My love affair with this city started at my school, Fettes, arguably the most impressive building in the city and the inspiration for Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. In those days however, my ‘runs’ were more about strategic escapes out of the school gates, often followed by a quick change and a slick of lip gloss, ready to talk our way into some nightclub! Then, as a working girl in the slick financial world, at the very start of my career, I fast realised that getting in your exercise in a gym, somewhere artificially cooled and devoid of natural light, post an office-bound day in a similar environment, was a soul-destroying option.

So why not make this beautiful city my ‘gym’ instead?  Enjoy hearty runs up Arthurs Seat, round Hollywood Palace, up and down the broad streets of the New Town, through Princes Street gardens under the shadows of the ever-present and beautiful Edinburgh Castle, past Victoria villas and Georgian townhouses … the sort of invigorating romps that leave you with a cold red nose, burning quads and a heart on fire.

And so this morning, on waking up (at silly o’clock having failed to adjust my clock on arrival here), I couldn’t help but dash out before anyone else had stirred a peep. And now, back at chateau Leckie, I feel invigorated and refreshed, in body and in mind. I love this city and defy anyone who could argue that it’s not one of the worlds most treasured places. My visits back are sporadic these days … a snatched week here and there to play daughter / sister / auntie / friend. And, it seems, to play the runner because as long as I can run, this place will be one of my best-loved playgrounds.

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