Did you hear a strange noise there, followed by a bit of coughing? Oh, that was just me blowing the dust off this blog. Jokes aside, if we are being kind and calling that a joke, it has been a while since I posted. In that time, much has happened. The biggest change being that I have packed up the family and relocated from Germany to Edinburgh. Not the easiest move, to be honest. Think sick child, international removal crew arriving a day late, eleven nights in hotels ‘homeless’ whilst in transit and then arriving to the new house to find its half the size of the old one. That’s a crash course in minimalism, right there.
Now that we have been here a few weeks, the house feels like home and the city is starting to feel familiar. And that brings me neatly to my first impressions…in no particular order…
Edinburgh feels huge, but…
Edinburgh feels huge when you first venture out but, as most big cities are, it is effectively just a series of villages. I’ve already fallen in love with the medieval Old Town, the district of Morningside and the olde world charm of Dean Village. I’m looking forward to getting out exploring further afield. This should be fairly simple and enjoyable given that…
Edinburgh is Very Well-Connected.
Public transport here is amazing, for the resident and the visitor alike. Just as well, as driving in the city is a nightmare. If the one way system, trams, bus lanes, cyclists and sheer volume of traffic doesn’t put you off, the price of parking in the city will. Think somewhere between extortionate and small mortgage. Public transport is plentiful and easy to use. Going further afield, the airport and train stations are well served and well located.
Independent Edinburgh is thriving.
You’ll find all the major chains here, including a branch of Harvey Nicks, but get off the main shopping drag and the independent stores are many, varied and worth a visit. Head to centrally located Cockburn Street or out of the city centre to Bruntsfield and Morningside. Whatever you’re looking for, odds are Independent Edinburgh can offer it. I’m currently loving the shampoo bars from The Edinburgh Natural Skincare Company, Lemonazing Chunky being my bar of choice. So now you know.
This is a City of Green Space & Pretty Views.
You don’t go far without finding a leafy square, a city park or a pretty view. Dean Village and the Water or Leith walkway feel like a different world but are within walking distance of the city centre. For those looking for a more challenging hike and dramatic views, the Pentland Hills lie just beyond the city. Who needs a gym membership when…
Every Day is Leg Day
This is a city nestled around a castle and built on a series of volcanic peaks. That makes for the afore-mentioned great views, but also makes for a city of stairs, hills and cobbles. My activity levels are way up since we got here. No bad thing after three years in Germany, land of inexpensive booze and carbs by the bucket load.
The Homelessness & Poverty is shocking.
Every city has its glossy face but there is no escaping reality. Poverty and homelessness is everywhere and Edinburgh is no exception. Being the capital, I’m sure the issues are more pronounced here, and coming from small, well-to-do German town, I probably notice it more. It’s a complex issue and not one I know too much about , but I am currently researching some simple ways of doing something to help. Watch this space.
So a few weeks in, these are my first musings on my new home. It’s been a big change and, honestly, not the easiest. It’s taken me a little while to adapt to city living, to stop pricing things in euros and not need to find the German word for everything just in case I had to use my very best language skills. Now I’ve worked through a mild case of Reverse Culture Shock, I wake up excited to be here. And that’s a lovely feeling.
If you are an Edinburgh local or a visitor to the city, I’d love to hear about your experiences and recommendations. Feel free to hit me with links, lets chat in the comments.