Being Here

Saturday was gorgeous, like the most beautiful day ever. So many people out walking their dogs and their kids, people sunning themselves. The North Sea sparkled like gems, so beautiful it could make your eyes bleed. I didn't go out. Too much. I watched it all from a safe distance, inside. Why go out and battle for space for a view that I could already see?



The beach is mesmerizing. In the original, original Plan - the kind of Eat, Pray, Love knock off - I intended to spend a few months on the beach. Then Edinburgh popped into my mind and I decided to go with it. I had no idea there was a beach here or near. Although if I'd looked at a freaking map, I would have noticed that it sits on the North Sea.

Portabello, where I’m staying, is a 25-minute bus ride to the city center of Edinburgh. There's a bus stop not 5 minutes from my door and I could go in all the time but I don't. In a week and a half I've been in three times.

A cup of coffee while I watched the sun rise.

A cup of coffee while I watched the sun rise.

The first time was to find coffee. The Airbnb host had instant coffee. No. But he also had a French press. Hmmm... Those two don't work together. The closest grocery store Sainsbury Local had more instant coffee and other coffees I didn't want to attempt. Missing Anderson's, my first adventure into city center was to Artisan Roast, where I had a flat white and got their house bean ground for French press.

Apparently J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book in coffee shops in Edinburgh. The Elephant Room claims she wrote it there, but I hear that's not true and others lay claim to the boast. Artisan Roast had a sign that said, "J.K. Rowling did not write here." I’ll get a picture of when I go back.

The second time I went into the city was to get a new adapter and a new flat iron. I bought an adapter/converter with me and it worked perfectly for charging my laptop, phone, etc. Until I tried to use my blow dryer. The box of the adapter says, "Use with devices like these: hair dryers, curling irons...". I plugged it in, all confident, and turned it on. Immediately, and I mean immediately, there was a pop and a curl of smoke and a burning smell from the blow dryer. (Remember what the box said?!) In addition to frying my dryer, the converter/adapter also fried itself, so I had no way to charge my laptop, phone, etc. This was dire.

I went into the city the next day to find a big Boots where I could get a cheap flat iron and I figured they'd have adapters as well. They did. I spent that afternoon walking around the castle and museums and getting a better idea of the lay of the land, swinging my big Boots bag full of UK compatible supplies. The simple adapter works just fine and the cheap flat iron is almost better than mine. I also found another coffee shop, Fortitude, where they have an amazing dark chocolate hot chocolate. Habit forming.

From certain places, Edinburgh reminds me of San Francisco.

From certain places, Edinburgh reminds me of San Francisco.

The third time I went to city center was for the local National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) meet-up. I followed their lead on what to order: a most excellent beer (something German), chips (really good french fries), and tomato soup with hearty bread. When in Rome... or Edinburgh as is the case.

They are a fun group, and we talked some about writing, but I got to ask them about Scotland and Edinburgh, what tourist-y places were worth it, and tipping. They asked me questions about Donald Trump and guns. Ugh.

In Portabello, I've found a coffee shop (and art gallery!) that I really like, The Tide. I've been there a few times. They have egg and bacon on a roll, brown sauce (!), scones and cake. I took my second draft there and started to go through it. I need to complete the third draft before November when I want to start a new novel for NaNoWriMo. I think it's going to be my main writing "office."

A singing washing machine! #travel #Scotland #edinburgh #UK #laundry

A video posted by Julia Lee (@theblisstour) on

My days here are a lot like an extended vacation, but I'm doing Airbnb, so I have chores to do. I do my laundry with the Singing Washing Machine. I love this thing and I think I've been doing more and more laundry just to hear it. I also get to hang up my laundry to dry with a nifty pulley system thing-y. Pretty cool.

I've already extended my stay here, doubled it in fact. Instead of leaving at the end of September, I'm staying until almost the end of October. The beach is too beautiful to leave in a couple of weeks. It's a sunny day again. I'm off to write!