I spent almost six months living in Scotland’s capital; Edinburgh. This doesn’t seem like a very long time, but it had made a huge impression. Even now, being back in the Netherlands for over half a year, I still feel nostalgic every once in a while. Making a living for six months abroad isn’t always an easy task. But it almost felt natural in Edinburgh. The friendly and generally cheerful people, its greenness, its hills, its clouds which pass over very near, the size and atmosphere of its old town, all made a positive impact.
With Danick already living there, and me not being tired of travelling yet, it wasn’t too hard of a choice to go there. It feels hard to generally describe my temporary living in Edinburgh. Therefore, I split the most important places to my into several fragments.
3 Canal Walk, Flat 27 was the place which I could call my home for almost half a year. After my big journey, I decided to move in with Danick and started a temporary life in Edinburgh. We lived together in a small studio apartment of approximately 30m². Due to its size and being used to my own space, there was some tension in the beginning. However, this quickly resolved and we grew accustomed to our little place.
As the name suggest we were situated next to a canal, ‘Union Canal’. A place where we enjoyed our evening walks alongside and, occasionally, my runs. For the rest of the city, I almost daily took a stroll around town, preferably in the evening, seeing new areas, to clear my mind. It’s not hard to find rest in Scotland’s capital. You might call this city calm and sleepy compared to others. However, this made it for me much better to enjoy. Although the weather might not always be very inviting to go outside, the surroundings really are.
Shortly after I arrived in Edinburgh, I started to look for a job. To finally have some income again. While I didn’t found many interesting office jobs, I found a position in a small vegan cafe; “Pumpkin Brown”. I needed to learn a new profession with no experience in the hospitality sector. Luckily, they hired me and could therefore explore more about the healthy vegan food scene. Working was sometimes hard. Especially during the ‘Fringe’ where I was making shifts from 09:00 till 20:00 in an overcrowded cafe. At first, I was mostly interested by working in the kitchen for food preparation. Unfortunately, their kitchen was soon about to close and I started to work in the cafe solely.
Besides Pumpkin Brown, I found another cafe to volunteer; ‘Forest Cafe’. The Forest Cafe became a second home to me. It was easy to socialize and got to know some new friends. This place was like a second home to me. The Forest Cafe was all about inclusion. And because it’s 100 percent volunteer-run, the commercial aspects where limited. Here I could do my cooking and organize a menu which I couldn’t do at Pumpkin Brown.
Food became an even more important role during my journey. I was glad to could have developed that even further in Edinburgh. Working in the different cafe’s gave me more knowledge and ideas to explore different flavors and recipes. By practicing these at home, my skills gradually increased. Just to name a few of my favorite foods in Edinburgh were:
Pizza’s from scratch. Making my own dough, tomato sauce and cashew mozzarella. Start making your pizza’s from scratch is really rewarding and so much better. Click here for my inspiration of making a delicious pizza.
Ethiopian cuisine. Having spend two months in Ethiopia prior, I felt pretty inspired about their cuisine. The sauces are just magnificent, often spicy and not hard to make. Combining a lot of lentils with kale and potatoes is just an ideal combo. Making injera just from the teff grain is unfortunately something I wasn’t able to master yet.
Curries! just like the Ethiopian cuisine, the Indian cuisine has loads of vegan options. A good dhal is just something I can’t resist, even if I need to eat it on daily basis. The colour of turmeric, sweetness of coconut milk and the spiciness of chilies.
Golden turmeric soup. Last but not least is a golden turmeric soup I started to prepare for the Forest cafe. I fell in love with this immediately. As you may know by now, I also fell in love with turmeric. Not only because of the appearance it add to your food. It is also probably the most healthy spice out there (very rich in antioxidants). Other ingredients were: ginger, leek, fennel, coconut, butternut squash, carrot, garlic and vegetable broth (add some salt and pepper to taste).
Danick doesn’t like surprises, and keeping these for others might even be harder. She, however, never told a clue about where we were going for my birthday. We ended up in Newburgh after taking some buses. Just a small, even decreasing little town on the Firth of Forth coast. The town wasn’t that exciting, but the Airbnb really took me by surprise. Hidden away the back garden alongside the main road, was a small tent with a little chimney on the outside. This was our place to sleep for the upcoming 2 nights. On the inside was a little stove to keep us warm and to cook the water and food. This stove was really necessary, because it wasn’t getting warmer than about 12 degrees Celsius during the day. Luckily, our bed was provided with an electric blanket luckily. The theme of the Airbnb was Alice in Wonderland and it really felt like a fairy tale being there.
From Edinburgh it is easy to make several day trips of interest. When I found some time, I liked to explore some new surroundings. I find Scotland to be an ideal country for hiking and being outdoors. I took daytrips to places like North Queensferry (see photo), The Pentlands and North Berwick.
Being on Kit’s rooftop was definitely one of my most thrilling experiences in Edinburgh. Seeing the characteristic chimneys and looking over the Edinburgh castle gives an authentic view of the city. This was also the place where we watched the fireworks which celebrated the end of the fringe.
With August coming to an end, so did our time in Edinburgh. Danick and I decided to spent a final weekend in Portobello. This is a suburban neighbourhood of Edinburgh located alongside the coast. After getting rid of most of our stuff in the apartment, it was time to move out with our bags. Portobello seemed like an ideal location. There was a nice after-summer vibe hanging around this weekend. Live musicians were scattered on the boulevard as autumn was just around the corner.
After giving this city a last glance, I headed back to the Netherlands. I took the overland/oversea option instead of flying again. This brought me to some pleasantly surprising locations in England. You can read the detailed version of this journey on my polarsteps.