Allegedly adored by Royal Family, called the ‘Granite City’, in spikes of exaggerated marketing ‘the silver city with the golden sands’, Aberdeen has been my home for the last year. Right now, two days before my flight back home and moving out for good out of Scotland, this place calls for my comment very much.
1. Strange things happen in Aberdeen.
I have no idea whether it’s because the city thrives on students coming from all over the world, or is it because maybe it sits on some strange power concentration point on the globe. Or maybe both. Only in here I’ve seen that many people randomly singing in the buses, walking barefoot through the streets. Or dressing up as a bunch of chicken, storming into KFC screaming over the counter, “GIVE ME BACK MA CHILDRAAAN”. The city seems to be covered in a mist, which can make it look rather gloomy and foggy, however very often the ‘fog’ smells in a way that makes me think of how one my friends once told me that this place is called the Amsterdam of Scotland as well.
2. The Granite City / The Silver City.
Despite all effort this city has made since approximately 18th century to incorporate locally quarried grey granite, I’m sorry Aberdeen, the granite still does not silver-sparkle under rays of sunshine (oh wait, what sunshine?) after the rain.
3. Forget about your sleeping schedules.
During winter around 3pm it’s as if somebody would switch off the lights. No colorful and slow sunsets for you, it gets dark immediately. The pitch dark blackness lifts up around 8am, in worst cases 9:30am.
On the other hand, during summer you experience almost 21-hour long daylight. In June after 11pm it’s still quite bright, and sun rises around 3:00 – 3:30 am.
And yet the students party whole year round, all day, all night.
4. Holburn, Union and King Street
are basically the whole of the city centre. Or maybe I haven’t got to know the city much and I’m just being stupid. But throughout the year I’ve seen all life of the city concentrating there. The so called ‘life’ constitutes of random parades organized by students, not-so-rare underwear runs for money fund-raising or other unknown reasons, parties, people dressed up as various creatures/animals/objects, or one time, a kettle stolen from a party, sitting on a bus stop.
5. “What does the city look like? – Like a paradox.”
There’s the majestic-gothic-looking Marischal College right next to low-laying, identical rows of blocks. And the tall, medieval-look-alike West Tower of the Town House randomly appearing out of nowhere, scraping the sky and located right next to modern offices, and the bay with oil tankers.
Be prepared to walk down narrow, atmospheric alleys only to end up in an industrial-look-alike district and not a single living soul there. And then, you stumble upon the chunky yellow block of flats that looks like taken out straight out of communist 1970s’ Poland.
Outer suburbs sit around the city with all their houses identical in color, size and layout, creating a labyrinth of copy-paste small buildings that charmingly looks like a giant graveyard from an airplane window.
Or, drive away from the city down the river Dee into natural landscapes of woods and fields, and- BAM!, there’s a modern, futuristic looking campus of the university, with a sky-scraping glass tower, most often hiding high up in dense, grey clouds.
The city itself seems to be an architectural/design contraction, but yet it creates the vibe like no other – which is exactly what I hated it for in the beginning, only to start to love it later on.
6. Fab life, Aberdeen
Maybe it’s the quite small population of barely 230 thousands, or the student concentration ratio, but it seems everyone knows everyone, everyone talks about everyone. Oh, your flatmate’s friend knows that guy from marketing whose girlfriend saw your best friend on the picture from a nightclub yesterday, hugged with the marketing guy’s brother!
Maybe this hub of students is buzzing incessantly cause apart from partying and people, honestly, I would not say there is much in here to do. People create this place, however this turns out to be its biggest advantage as it is never boring. It is even easier with an app where you post posts, anonymously. So basically everyone knows what you have been up to and where. And when there was almost full solar eclipse on 20th of March, the whole city shat its pants. Facebook profile pictures, Instagram, Twitter, even the forgotten Google Plus accounts were all buzzing, because hey, something is finally happening!
Apart from that, it seems like there’s one main topic for a conversation and a perfect escape from an awkward silence on your (Tinder) dates, and it’s the subject of the seagulls. Not only there’s heaps of them in here, massive in size, craving your food, there’s a good chance you’ll gonna be attacked by them at some point of living in Aberdeen.
All of it, altogether, I must say has accounted for so many memories and random events that I genuinely, sincerely love Aberdeen, although I think I want it to burn in hell nevertheless.