I have no idea how I ended up living in Edinburgh. I never had any real ambitions to move to Scotland or to live in Edinburgh but ambitions or not, I ended up calling Edinburgh home for about 4 years.
To be honest, I absolutely LOVED living in Edinburgh, the quality of life here is amazing – even when in Edinburgh I was earning a third of what I did in London, I still managed to end up with more disposable income that I did when I moved to London. I met some amazing friends (who I still see regularly though lots of them are scattered around the world now), I dined at the finest restaurants in town (and some of the not-so-finest), my old friends came to visit all the time and I had lots of space to put them up in! 🙂 Long story short, I didn’t plan the move to Edinburgh but was so happy I did.
This being said, I’ve not properly visited Edinburgh in 7 years! I’ve popped in for a day or two to see people (and been so busy doing other stuff that I didn’t really get to see the city) and it’s only recently, Lloyd and I decided that it was high time to head back to Edinburgh as see the city properly as tourists. As you can imagine, it’s so different when you explore things as a tourist, rather than as a local – especially even so when a considerable amount of time has passed since you were in the other category (this works both ways too – local to tourist or tourist to local).
These are the way Edinburgh has changed since we last lived there 7 years ago:
1.) Edinburgh has gone seriously hipster! There are all sorts of cool new places popping up everywhere in the city – there’s even a cat cafe! Seriously, 7 years ago – Edinburgh’s haunts were a lot more traditional and mainstream and a walk through the city might leave you feeling like you’ve somehow stumbled into Shoreditch in London or Williamsburg in New York. The best part though is that it still looks and feels distinctly Scottish – all this change without losing it’s identity is absolutely worth celebrating.
2.) The trams are finally here… though walking through the city, you’d be forgiven for thinking they hadn’t arrived yet. I only saw one (granted, it was a Sunday with is off-peak travel across the UK) but still, they’re not quite as disruptive as I’d have imagined. The one thing I wasn’t keen on tram-wise is the wires everywhere in the city centre which makes it a pain to try to get any great photos of this photogenic city.
3.) Bank of Scotland no longer really exists in its old form. Back in the day, it was headquartered in The Mound (which is one of the most impressive buildings in Edinburgh) and now, it’s been taken over by its parent company, Lloyd Banking Group (which somehow doesn’t sound quite a traditionally Scottish – though towards its end, Bank of Scotland wasn’t really Scottish anymore).
4.) The Grassmarket somehow seems to be more colourful than ever before. Not sure if this is just me remembering it differently but the houses and shops around here are brightly coloured and stand out so much more.
5.) My fondness of the city has grown in leaps and bounds. Okay, yes, this isn’t about the city but still, its worth noting that since moving away, I’ve grown to appreciate the city and its history even much more than I did at the start. Like anyone else who lives in a great city, you tend to take it for granted and perhaps only pop out to explore it when you have guests visiting. I was very much the same when I lived in Edinburgh, it was a city that I lived in and called home and returning to it as a tourists is a total eye-opener!
6.) The waterfront looks totally different. Its been revamped and this is for the best! Leith and Granton didn’t really have great reputations back in the day (it’s the area of Edinburgh where the movie, Trainspotting is set in). This port area of Edinburgh used to be synonymous with drug use ages ago and when we lived in Edinburgh, it had just started to change but now, it’s so shiny, new and easily one of the most desirable places to live in, in the city.
8.) Pretty much everything that makes this city great has stayed the same – Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street gardens, Grassmarket, The Royal Mile, the architecture… to mention but a few! So much of Edinburgh looks and feels familiar and it’s so easy to feel right back at home here!