Don't you love serendipity? More than once, it's played an important role in my life-- most recently in the days leading to the month-long trip Denis and I took to the UK. Some of you know that on Fridays I post a batch of (usually) book-related links that I've found on the internet. A couple of weeks before we were due to leave for England, I happened across someone's post of (however many) "most beautiful bookstores in the world." I began scrolling through and after recognizing the first six or seven as ones I'd seen many times before, I almost closed the browser window and moved on. For some reason, I scrolled on... and I came upon a photo of a bookstore that made my jaw drop and my tongue hang out of my mouth. The caption read "Leakey's Bookshop, Scotland." I Googled it, although I was certain I'd find that the bookshop was in Edinburgh, and we were not going to Edinburgh this trip.
|Leakey's Bookshop (Photo Credit)|
I told Denis about my find when he came home from work. He found it easily on Google Earth and found out that Leakey's has a Facebook page. He sent them a message about parking and received a quick reply. Leakey's was officially on our itinerary!
The entire month we were in the UK, it was bitterly cold, and the sun seldom shone. In fact, we saw more sun in the extreme northwest of Scotland than anywhere else on the entire island. But the day we drove to Inverness, the sky was almost uniformly grey with only brief flashes of brilliant sunlight.
As far as I'm concerned, Inverness is the best shopping city in the UK. We parked in a multi-story car park (er... parking garage to us Americans) that was right next to the bus station. Leakey's was a two-block walk from the car park. A couple of blocks in a slightly different direction will take visitors to two different shopping malls-- and this was all in "downtown"-- the old city center of Inverness, on the banks of the River Ness and within walking distance of the castle! Trust me, you just don't get this kind of convenience in the UK (and for a good reason)-- my mind still boggles!
|Pedestrian Bridge over the Ness|
In fact, I was in such a hurry to get inside Leakey's that I forgot to take a picture, hence the one I used above from Wikimedia Commons! (Don't worry, the rest of the photos are mine, and you can click on any one of them to see them in their original sizes in a new window.)
Back in 1982, Leakey's stock was spread out in two small shops in Inverness. In 1993, they began the process of converting an old church into their present business. (So if you thought those windows in the first photo looked a bit ecclesiastical, you were correct!)
|My first glimpse of Wonderland|
Immediately to my left were modern fiction and paperbacks, but I didn't even stop.
|My kind of job!|
Now I'm going to shut up and let my photos do the talking for me. I hope you enjoy your tour of Leakey's because it's definitely a place that I plan to return to as often as I can.
|The heat was welcome on a bitterly cold day.|
|Spiral staircase leading to the upper floor and café.|
|I'm in heaven...|
|Looking over to the café.|
|From the top of the spiral staircase.|
|Where we waited for the café to clear out a bit.|
|Our delicious meals!|
|Inverness City Center|
I took many more photos than this, and if you're either a Facebook friend or if you've liked the Kittling: Books Facebook page, you are more than welcome to take a look at all the others. It was a truly wonderful day-- and all because I didn't give up on an article I thought I'd read before!