things i'll miss about edinburgh

My time in Edinburgh is coming to an end, so I thought I'd share a few of my favorite aspects of the city. (They're in no particular order.)


The first day I arrived at Pollock Halls, the residence complex where I stayed in this semester, I was dumbstruck by the sight of Arthur's Seat, of which I have a fantastic view from my dorm room window. And though I did eventually get used to seeing this massive rock on a daily basis, it still impresses me every time. These past few weeks I have climbed Arthur's Seat each day! It gets easier, trust me. In addition to Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh also has a fantastic Botanical Garden, as well as the Meadows, a grassy field that fills up with students and families having picnics and barbecues as soon as the weather gets moderately warm. I'll also miss how green the grass is here, even in the dead of winter (we have the rain to thank for that).


Edinburgh is kind of a sensory overload. Not for the same reasons as New York, since you won't be seing skyscrapers, hearing taxi honks and smelling Nuts4Nuts here! In addition to the visuals I mentioned above, Edinburgh has really interesting smells. You won't experience these everywhere or every time, but if you do, you'll never forget them. I'm personally addicted to the smell of hops that occasionally sweeps the city. Indeed, this smell comes from the North British Distillery, and has contributed to Edinburgh earning the title of "Ye Olde Reeky". I happen to like the smell, so I find this a little insulting - oh well. The other smell I'll miss is that of ulex, those plants all over Arthur's Seat whose yellow flowers propagate a distinct coconut odor. You won't smell them as much in the winter, but as the temperature gets warmer and more of these plants bloom, it's impossible not to inhale their strong fragrance. I still can't quite decide whether I actually enjoy their smell, because it is quite pungent. Either way, I'm trying to enjoy them while I'm still here!

P U B    Q U I Z Z E S

I arrived in Edinburgh never having taken a pub quiz in my life. And boy had I been missing out! The concept is very simple: you form a team (ours was the very punny [s]exchange students), and you answer series of questions that are divided into rounds. Round themes include sports, entertainment, general knowledge, 'identify the song intro' and guest topics. There's nothing like some friendly competition in a fun environment - especially when there's candy and bar credit prizes involved.


I've met a lot of new folks these past few months. From the close friends to the acquaintances from that-one-trip-to-Perth-we-went-to whom I'll likely never see again, I've really challenged myself to - as cliché as that sounds - step out of my comfort zone. I'm going to miss my little group of Australians, Canadians and Americans: Laurel, Christine, Johnny, Steve, Carly, Ray, Shae, Rosie, Tannis, Aria...and I'm sure I've forgotten many more. This experience would not have been the same without them, because as much of an introvert as I am, sometimes it's just no fun alone! I've also met unique people during my travels, from the welcoming AirBnB hosts to the international hostel bunkmates and fellow walking tour-takers and tour guides.


I guess this isn't something I'll miss about Edinburgh in and of itself, but I can't leave out the city's ideal location within Europe, as well as within the UK itself. Indeed, Edinburgh is less than two hours away from major cities such as Brussels, Paris, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Dublin and London. This, added to the extremely cheap flights offered by EasyJet and RyanAir, makes Edinburgh the perfect destination to travel from (as you have probably noticed from all of my travel entries, this is something I've taken great advantage of this semester). And for more short-term trips, you can take advantage of Scotland's own rich cultural heritage by visiting nearby cities (St.Andrews, Perth, Glasgow), castles (Doune, Lauriston, Scone Palace, Sterling) and making weekend trips to the Highlands and Isle of Skye. My only regret is not having gone to Wales, but I'll definitely return in this lifetime!


This isn't just me being cheap (OK, maybe it is), but I'm really going to miss Edinburgh's free museums. From the National Museum to the National Portrait Gallery, every government owner museum is completely gratis! For art and culture lovers like myself, this is complete heaven. What's better than not having to rush through a gallery because you know you'll be able to return as many times as you want? Not to mention, they all offer great free events such as guided museum tours, talks and screenings.

F O O D  +  D R I N K S

Forget haggis. Vegetarian haggis is where it's at. Imagine Mexican chili, but less spicy and more grainy, if that makes sense. I would say that I'm also going to miss scones, but my mom makes excellent English scones, so I'm all good on that end. However, we can't find clotted cream back in North America (if you do know where to buy this delicacy, please hit me up). In terms of drinks, I'll miss splitting a Kopparberg cider with Laurel at the JMCC bar or at 'Creepy Billy's', our favorite local bar (it's not actually called 'Creepy Billy's', but Johnny started calling it that and the name stuck). Our favorite flavor is raspberry, but the pear is also good.


As hard as it can be to understand sometimes, I'm going to miss the Scottish accent. Guess I'll have to resort to watching Richard Madden scenes in Game of Thrones or Sean Biggerstaff scenes from the first two Harry Potter films when I get back. Ewan MacGregor will also do. I'll also miss how everyone says 'cheers' here, pretty much in any situation. 'Cheers' can mean 'thanks', 'see you', 'you're welcome', 'good job', 'good stuff', and probably more. It gets even more confusing when I'm with my Australian friends, who ask "How ya goin'?" in lieu of "How are you?". I'm going by spaceship, actually. How are you going?

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