This is Edinburgh.

I walked the length of the Royal Mile twice today. Edinburgh Castle. St. Giles Cathedral. Street performers. Waves and waves of tourists. Scottish Parliament Building. Tartan shops with names like, "Thistle Do Nicely." Holyrood Palace. At the end, I shook the tourist out of me and just wandered. (For a good couple of hours.) The guidebook I've been reading since June is so right: Edinburgh is a wanderer's paradise. Every street is storybook material, and at least eight times today I have done a double-take, walked back about ten paces to marvel at the thing that is the "close". (Advocates Close is my favourite.) They are tiny alleyways that lead off a main road, down a flight or two of stairs, and onto another main road, side street, or courtyard. For the incurably curious such as myself, this city satisfies like no-place else. Favourite find of the day: "The Old Children's Bookshelf" on Canongate off the Royal Mile. I spent a good hour and a half in this wonderful lady's shop, browsing (astonished, overwhelmed, hushed) through gorgeous, antique copies of books. Shirley is the only person I've ever talked to who has as much random knowledge of rare childrens books as I. Maybe this little shop is my 65-year-old self's destiny? Hope so.

On another note, I tried IRN-BRU today. This is the neon orange Scottish beverage that has so intrigued me for months and months and months. Is it orange-flavoured? Is it like candy? Is it really that bright? Okay, well. It tastes like bubble gum. Or does it? Either way, the Scots seem to love the stuff like it's divine nectar. I will give them credit for their funny ads, though. Hee.

So tired. Need to rest up and get me strength for to-morrow.

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