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Edinburgh: Satisfying Art and Appetite

Through thick and thin, good times and bad, friends and family will stand by your side. Eager to show my support, I headed up to Edinburgh to participate in my friend’s end-of-year art workshop. Reaching the fair capital, I arrived at her apartment to find the spirited woman feverishly working on the speech to steer her installation. With her older brother visiting as well, the two of us managed to convince the talented artist to take a food break.

Heading to Soderberg, light shone into the spacious café through its glass walls. The Norwegian cafe, fitted with light-coloured furniture and hardworking twenty-somethings, was a haven of understated elegance. Across from the cash register sat a neat array of patisseries. A beautiful range of bright colours and soft scents, I politely ushered the customer standing behind me to go ahead. Finally deciding on a berry twist, I rounded the meal off with a salmon toast and an Americano. The three of us sat behind a wide set of square-shaped bookshelves *set with works ranging from art to literature. So delicious were our meals that the three of us were barely able to maintain conversation. The subtle flavour of the salmon was enhanced with lemon juice. On the bread, rocket and soft cheese gave the entire dish a salty tang that made me wish I’d ordered more. What little conversation we had was a quick game of catch up, unassuming questions made brilliant with kindness and genuine curiosity. Conscious of the time, we rushed through the last of our food and drink.

Her show, held in the Hunter Building of the University of Edinburgh, satirised the modern middle-class obsession with yoga and self care. Referring to herself as ‘Prophet Profit’, she encouraged us to attain our true selves, as per the will of ‘The Great Avocado’. Stained glasswork of Prozac pills and avocados hung around the room. The delicate pieces clashed with the gym equipment set around the studio. Throughout her workshop the Prophet encouraged her audience to subscribe to a discounted membership to continue achieving enlightenment. Feeding us vitamin D tablets and guacamole with tortilla chips, the entire experience was surreal. Ending with the mantra, repeated throughout the show, ‘Ready and Ripe’, the audience gave her a hearty round of applause before purchasing the merchandise she displayed – glasswork Prozac pills and one-of-a-kind single line sketches.

The next day, my friend and I made the most of a bright day and our own sunny dispositions. After an invigorating breakfast of muesli, apple slices and peanut butter, we changed into hiking gear and headed off to Arthur’s Seat. Well, she changed into yoga gear and trainers and I changed into a dress and tights. In my defence, I also wore my trusty Doc Martens. The main peak in Holyrood Park, the hill stands at 822 feet. Its romantic name has undetermined origins. Two popular theories are that either the hill derives its name from King Arthur legends, or it is a transformation of the Scottish Gaelic Àrd-na-Said, or ‘Height of Arrows’. With the lovely weather and summer-blue skies, families, friends, and photographers flocked to Arthur’s Seat. A drone flew overhead, capturing the beautiful landscape. Conserving our strength for the uphill climb, we didn’t say much during our walk. The most popular topic of conversation was agreeing that we both needed to work out more. Finally reaching the summit, we sat side by side on a low boulder and practically inhaled our water before taking photographs. The walk downhill required more attention, our feet sliding against shifting pebbles and tricky dust. Leaving largely unscathed (save for one scraped knee), we were on the hunt for sustenance.

The Edinburgh Coffee Lounge did not disappoint. Located on St. Patrick Street, the café had a tantalising list of cold drinks and plenty of delicious-looking foods on display. The presence of the owner’s adorable dog only heightened the experience. Ordering a chicken, avocado and tomato sandwich with an iced frappuccino, we basked in the sun and took our time with our savoury meals. When finished, we headed to the last place on the agenda – Lighthouse Bookshop. An open space with neatly organised and clearly labeled sections, Lighthouse Bookshop caters to a wide variety of readers. Sections include feminism, business and technology, plays, cooking, and personal growth. Purchasing The Surface Breaks: A Reimagining of the Little Mermaid, I guiltily admit to the sin of judging the book by its cover. But what a captivating cover it is!

Saying our goodbyes, we promised to message each other that night and headed our separate ways. Watching the Scottish landscape melt away, I missed the city immediately.

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