Edinburgh Europe Expat Life Scotland

Expat in Edinburgh: My First Month

Jun 10

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Forgive me in advance for uttering these words, but time really does fly when you’re having fun! In other (and less obnoxious) terms, I can’t believe it’s already been (just over) a month since I arrived in the UK!

It only took a matter of minutes of being back in Edinburgh to realize that I still love this city just as much as the first time I visited – if not more. It was also surprisingly easy to get into a groove here: I managed to find a job quite quickly, and I was able to get all the necessary and less-than-exciting expat-related tasks out of the way within the first two weeks of arriving. Apart from boring grown-up stuff, I’ve been thoroughly exploring Edinburgh and spending obscene amounts of money on food – have I mentioned Edinburgh is a fantastic city for foodies?

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What else I’ve been up to:

I’ve done a fair amount of sightseeing and touristy things around Edinburgh: I explored the city’s underground closes on the Real Mary King’s Close Tour, sampled the national drink at the Scotch Whisky Experience, visited the National Museum of Scotland, strolled through the Royal Botanic Garden, and took a walking photography tour of the city.

I also made a last minute decision to visit the Highlands and the Isle of Skye for a few days, which was rife with spellbinding scenery and magical vistas.

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Things I’ve learned:

I love pretty much everything about this city, except the weather. Bear in mind I’m the type of person who is always cold, and anytime the temperature dips below 20 degrees Celsius, I will complain that it’s basically freezing. If you’re anything like me, be sure to dress in layers when exploring Edinburgh – regardless of the season – and don’t forget to carry an umbrella!

Edinburgh is relatively expensive, but sightseeing and eating can be done on the cheap. Along with museums, galleries, and The Royal Botanic Garden, there are many other free (or inexpensive) sights, and budget friendly restaurants – and I plan to highlight them in the near future.

Scots are a lovely bunch of people, and they have the best sense of humour. I already loved Scottish banter before I arrived in Edinburgh, but I appreciate their sense of humour even more now. A perfect example of said humour: when Coca Cola started producing bottles of coke with people’s names on them, Irn Bru (Scotland’s other national drink) started selling bottles with the word ‘fanny’ on them. I love that nothing is taken too seriously here.

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What I’ve been eating:

Since I first visited Edinburgh nearly three years ago, I’ve been dreaming of returning to Hanam’s for their tasty Middle Eastern food. I made a beeline for the restaurant the first day I arrived in the city, and it was just as delicious as I remember – succulent kebabs, pillowy naan bread, and flavourful dips. They also offer shisha on their back terrace, which overlooks Victoria Street – one of my favourite spots in the city.

I had my first taste of Scotland’s most infamous deep-fried delicacy: pizza crunch – AKA a half size frozen-style pizza covered in batter and deep fried, served with a side of fries. It was delicious-bordering-disgusting, and I can’t think of anything better after a night out.

As someone who prefers savoury over sweet, this city has managed to awaken my inner sugar-crazed-obese-child with its ridiculously delectable bakeries and sweet shops. The Chocolate Tree – Edinburgh’s only bean to bar chocolate maker – is basically heaven in the form of a shop. Along with ethically sourced, organic chocolate bars, they also have a small café with artisanal chocolates, cakes and pastries, and uniquely flavoured hot chocolate.

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What have you been up to this month?!

16 Comments

  • Reply United Military Travel Jun 10 at 7:00 am

    You first month sounds great, enjoy!

  • Reply steph20yh Jun 10 at 10:50 am

    I’ve only visited Edinburgh once—way back in 2005!—but I really enjoyed what I saw of the city. That said, even as a Canadian, I remember shivering in July! It’s quite a damp city and all of those old buildings may be beautiful, but they definitely don’t keep the chill out.

    Looks like you’ve had a wonderful first month back in a city you love! Try to stay away from those deep-fried pizzas though… 😉

    • Reply ashleywanders Jun 11 at 4:50 am

      The first time I visited Edinburgh was in July as well, and I was surprised at how cold it was! I will definitely never take a Canadian summer for granted again! And I think that one deep-fried pizza should be enough for a long while, ha!

  • Reply Edna Jun 10 at 9:16 pm

    Oh my god pizza crunch sounds…well, it sounds like I would gain a lot of weight if I ever moved to Edinburgh!

    • Reply ashleywanders Jun 11 at 9:05 am

      Haha it’s a daily struggle trying not to gain weight here. I have yet to try the deep fried mars bar!

  • Reply Amanda Afield Jun 11 at 7:46 am

    I was in Edinburgh a few weeks ago and couldn’t find anywhere serving the legendary deep fried pizza!! I’m going back in August, any suggestions for where to get one?

    • Reply ashleywanders Jun 11 at 9:11 am

      Clamshell on the Royal Mile, St. John’s on Corstorphine Road (which is further away from the city centre), and I believe Café Piccante has it as well! Hopefully you can find some in August 😉

  • Reply Sarah Jun 23 at 1:32 am

    This sounds so exciting! I am currently working with my company to get transferred to Edinburgh from the US next summer. I’m so excited and your blog has been really helpful as I begin to get my checklists ready. Keep the great advice coming and I hope you enjoy your time there! 🙂

    • Reply ashleywanders Jun 23 at 11:33 am

      Thank you, Sarah! And I’m so glad you’ve found my blog to be helpful! Good luck with the transfer – Edinburgh is an amazing city and I’m sure you’ll love living here! 🙂

  • Reply Sarah Jun 24 at 8:19 am

    I love Edinburgh! I want to go back as well, although Americans can’t get the mobility visa. For now I’ll live vicariously through your posts.

    • Reply ashleywanders Jun 24 at 11:14 am

      It’s a shame Americans can’t get the youth mobility visa! Hopefully my Edinburgh posts will help until you’re able to return 🙂

  • Reply Marni Aug 14 at 3:06 pm

    This sounds like a great first month! I will continue to just drool over everything Scotland-related that you post.

    • Reply ashleywanders Aug 17 at 6:52 pm

      Haha I hope my Scotland posts are making you more excited for your trip next year!

      • Reply Marni Aug 24 at 1:34 am

        They definitely are!

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