Leith, Edinburgh: Welcome Home

What makes a home? Is it the place where you grow up? The home you live in now? Is it the city you went to college and subsequently discovered yourself? Perhaps you consider a certain person or people in your life you’re home. Maybe you’re lucky enough to consider everywhere a home, and you’re able to move about from place to place, feeling confident and happy as you are..

We’ll be in Edinburgh for three months. 13 weeks, 91 days, 2190 hours or 131400 minutes, depending on your fancy. That seems like a lot of time to be in once place when you’re ‘touring’ Europe. I don’t think the word touring really captures what this trip is all about for us, at least not the whole thing. Sure there will be times where we are moving from one place to the next every couple of days, but we are also staying in places for weeks (or months) at a time. I think this trip is more about being able to see different parts of the world, seeing how people live and discovering what really makes a home for the both of us.

I’m pretty excited to dive in to Edinburgh again, this time with Ryan. Part of my heart never left after I studied abroad here, and I’m hoping that he will fall in love with it as much as I did. I carry a little bit of Scotland with me wherever I go, and it will be nice if we can both bring it with us, bringing it to wherever home is at the moment.

So what does our new home look like? Well, we’re renting a cute little apartment in Leith. How did we settle on this neighborhood? After we made a list of must-haves for a Scottish rental, Leith hit all of our boxes; it has both comfort and affordability as well as a really great location. We can walk to numerous restaurants and pubs, TESCO is only a mere five minute walk away, and we can reach Princes Street and Old Town in fifteen minutes by using one of the many buses we can access nearby.

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Edinburgh from above. Even a rainy day doesn’t make it any less beautiful!

Our actual flat is the bottom, or basement, floor of a home belonging to a young family. It’s quite spacious and doesn’t at all feel like a basement; in fact, it has more windows (and doors!) than our apartment had in Seattle. The floors are a little creaky and it can be a bit drafty, but it’s ours and that’s all that matters. We haven’t had a place to call our own since we left Seattle in May, so to finally have space, even if it’s only for a few short months, is pretty magical in itself. Plus the family greeted us with hugs and champagne, and you don’t really get a better welcome than that.

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Our plane from Dublin to Edinburgh was actually kind of terrifying.

Our journey getting here was pretty much perfect. We didn’t have a single problem getting to or from our airports (minus insane traffic through Brooklyn and Long Island, but that was to be expected). I can’t think of anything that went wrong with our actual flights or getting through customs. Our time at both JFK and Dublin airports was pretty uneventful. I felt a little odd with how much good luck we were experiencing, but I wasn’t going to complain about it. I’m just hoping the good luck we had there extends to our entire trip!

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Welcome to your new home. At least for the next three months!

After sleeping off a bit of our jetlag (although it’s now Tuesday and it hasn’t completely abated), we awoke late on Saturday, had some breakfast and set out for the day. We were feeling a bit disoriented, so we wanted to do nothing except walk around and get our bearings a bit.

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The row of houses featuring our new flat!

We took a walk through Leith Links, a pretty little park across the street, and soon found ourselves down by the Water of Leith. I know there’s a walkway that travels along the river, which is something that I hope we can devote some time to exploring. It runs from the Royal Botanical Gardens to the Shore.  We spent some time enjoying the sun at the Shore; this area was the original port of Leith and Edinburgh, once a bustling center of activity. The harbor has since moved north as ships grew bigger.

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The sun came out for a bit.
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The Shore:

I saw the Ocean Terminal in the distance, which I remembered from studying abroad. We made our way over, taking some time to walk through the mall and look out the windows at The Royal Yacht Britannia. But a mall is still a mall to Ryan, and he actually really loathes malls in general. Starting to feel the jet lag creeping back in, we started out for home. On our way home not only did we get lost, but we got lost in a torrential downpour. It rained pretty heavily for a solid ten minutes, just enough to get our pants and shoes soaking wet, but not enough to dampen our spirits.

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After making ourselves some dinner, we finished our day by watching the Germany vs. Italy match at the pub right around the corner. It wasn’t too full, but the people that were there were quite passionate about their teams. It was easy to get into the spirit of the game!

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On Sunday I took Ryan to Old Town, where we explored the Royal Mile and Grassmarket, which I’ll tell you about later this week! We didn’t do any tours or shopping, because as we constantly reminded ourselves that we have three months, 13 weeks, 91 days, 2190 hours or 131400 minutes to explore our new home.

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9 Comments

  1. I am enjoying your posts, as we are doing something similar at about the same time. The only difference is a lot of years, our speed is a lot slower than yours. I look forward to reading more.

    1. Thank you! When I saw your blog I was excited to see someone starting their time in Edinburgh roughly when we are. Perhaps we can trade tips when we’ve become (almost) experts!

  2. Wow, thanks for all the tips! Most of it is all new to me, except Arthur’s Seat and Calton Hill (the former which we plan to do on the next sunny day we have). I’ll have to check out all of your suggestions and add them to our list of things to see while we’re here.

    1. Thank you!! I’m so looking forward to this. Do you have any recommendations for things we must do? Restaurants, pubs, places, activities?

      1. Hi! This trip to Edinburgh in June I enjoyed lunch at the Roseleaf Bar and Cafe on Sandport Place in Leith. Their brunches look good too. I had a great dinner at the Scran and Scallie in Comely Bank (Gastro pub), and great cake at The Manna House Bakery at the top of Easter Road. My favourite places in Edinburgh? Love the Botanic Gardens. Standing on George Street on a clear day and look over to Fife. Wandering around the New Town and Stockbridge. To do: you should climb Arthur’s Seat once, though I also recommend the top of Calton Hill for a good view. There are all sorts of less well known places like Colinton Dell and Hermitage of Braid. The modern art gallery is great too and of course the museums, of which there are many. Enjoy!

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