I came here by mistake. I was as shocked by this as anyone. This was not a scheduled stop in my journey home. Not today.
Edinburgh has been in my life for a long time, but I have never lived there. I have passed through, popped in for a visit, even spent the night, but I have never had the chance to live there. I feel like I’ve missed out.
St Andrew, was born in Lower Galilee, in modern-day Syria. It is a stone’s throw from the Golan Heights, but a million miles from the East Neuk of Fife. Yet there is a town in Fife which bears his name. As is usual for such connections, bones are involved.
Our holiday had taken us from the bright lights of Oslo, through mountain and fjord to the city of Bergen. We were battered; we were broken; we were bruised. We would find joy.
Sun high in the sky, yet it fails to reach us. The whole head of the fjord is encased in shadow, drawn purple by the sheer face above us. Warmth cannot penetrate the bone this close to the water, even though the sun has burned off every hint of moisture in the atmosphere. Let’s have a coffee instead.
The late evening light turns a milky blue as it casts across the gleaming white marble of the opera house. Designed to look like an iceberg, floating in the Oslofjord, the building is a marvel.
It starts as it always does. Planning has taken months: the whole thing now feels more like an intellectual exercise in exploring distant cities through the magic of the internet than it does a holiday. Then, with a queasy bump, it is upon you. Grab your bags; get to the airport. Now.