We had been fortunate with travel weather. The small amount of rain had cleared the skies and refreshed the flora. Sweaters and light jackets kept us comfortable. But, as you probably already know, I am an unapologetic wuss when it comes to warmth. I live in a climate that ranges from 65 degrees F to 75 degrees F, all year-long. I look upon gloves as someone else’s fashion statement, hats with ear flaps as something no one should ever need.
I come upon this love of warmth through many, many years and much hard work. I had grown up in California, moved to Colombia as a young adult, then on to Texas. All warm weather havens. I should have foreseen a complication, but when I moved to Ukraine several years ago, the cold winter weather slapped me in the face and never let go the chill. People there welcomed me, but the weather stamped ‘return-to-sender’ on my down coat and sent me on my way after a cold, cold winter. I have never recovered.
I didn’t see the wind chill coming as we drove north through the UK. The countryside is charming, the roads wonderful. When we arrived in Edinburgh itself, I saw a gorgeous, almost surreal city. People looked lively, friendly and inviting. Then I stepped out from the car, and felt the ice of the air. I was cold the entire visit.
There are moments when you travel for the joy of seeing new places, but there are other times when you can’t see past your own discomfort. Everyone has their soft spot. I ease my way through long travel days by packing light. I can make up a meal wherever I go. I clean hotel rooms when they need it. I take overnight bus trips. I know how to use squat toilets. I can cleanse my own water.
But cold weather shuts me down. Poor Edinburgh. It didn’t have a chance with me. Others were fine – I didn’t even see many people decked out for the cold. They wore maybe a light jacket, or a scarf. I wound myself in three layers of protective gear and still felt the cold in my toes. Worse: I don’t believe I even got to mispronounce its name out loud. Teeth chattering kept me from saying much. And it wasn’t even winter yet.
Most alarming item of information: people actually golf here. Isn’t that an outdoor sport???