“Bi toilichte cho fad’s a tha thu beo, bidh thu bas airson tide gu leor”
‘’ Be happy while you’re living, for you’re a long time dead’’
This Scottish proverb has empowered my adventure the moment I arrived in Edinburgh. The first week gave me the opportunity to find answers to the questions that made me curious about the daily life of the Scots. What do they encounter as difficulties on a daily basis? How do they enjoy life nonetheless? My theory on Gaelic culture might answer the last question, which is ‘a pub’. Rather than making assumptions based on books, I needed to let my journey answer them.
Being stubborn as I am, I decided to walk to the city from my hostel rather than going by bus. Without the comfortable internet giving me directions that might have helped me to go to the right way, I soon got lost. I said to myself while seeing the clouds getting darker and the wind becoming more vicious; ‘Don’t panic. Perseverance always leads you to the right objective even if the road is not the fastest’. That is why I decided to walk a bit further. Some time after that I reached a dead end. I asked a man that passed by to help me find my way back to the main road. He was kind and explained to be going the same direction. We walked together and talked about Scotland. I noticed that He talked with a slight eastern European accent. Nonetheless I could understand him easily while he shared his vision of the diversity and unification of people in Edinburgh. ‘Even though people might come from different countries. I am for example, from Poland. Everyone here has helped me from the first moment I got here. The only thing you need to do is to ask.’ This turned me silent and made me appreciate the bit of safety this stranger gave to me without even intending to. He was almost as new here as I was. He spoke about his own experience in the past two months that he became a citizen in Edinburgh. I asked his opinion on what he found troublesome in living in the city. With a sigh he answered that the main problem was the rising amount of homeless people. This was an affirmation of what I had seen for my own, while walking around the city Centre, called Princes Street. Each three posh shops you pass by, you can see a homeless man or woman begging for a small amount of spare change. Some ignore it. Others give blankets or food rather than change. So did the man that helped me get on my way. His tales of perseverance and helpfulness were like kerosene to my flame. ‘If he can make it here, progress and help others, then damn it. So can I’.
We ended up on the Easter road which was the main road I was looking for. I thanked him for sharing his wonderful anecdotes. We departed, each having other destinations to go to. Having enjoyed the conversation but realising that my body needed some food and water, I came across a marine blue pub. It had a big captivating Christmas tree with silver and blue angel decorations in front of the window next to a cosy fireplace. This ambience instantly lured me in to have a good warm drink. The sight of that pub felt like a reward for the 9 mile walk. Not realising that my true adventure actually awaited me the moment I pulled the golden doorknobs to go inside..
To be continued in the upcoming blog of G’s McTravels.