Today was my first official day here in the land of Scots and yes people they have vegan Haggis! It’s made out of oats, beans and a billion spices and apparently tastes just like Haggis minus the excess oil and fat J. The patter it came with included Vegan Haggis, beans, tomato, mushrooms, potato scone, veggie sausage, toast, orange juice & Scottish breakfast tea. What a typical Scottish breakfast 🙂
The journey from Ottawa to Edinburgh took 19 hours. Not too much happened during the trip, except for me having to run through Heathrow and using cute British toilets. It’s funny how after having a five hour layover, I still manage to mix up gate 19 with 9. Oh well made it here in one piece with about 80 pounds of luggage.
When I arrived in Edinburgh I was greeted by my step brother Patrick. We made our way to downtown Princes street by double decor bus (yes they use them everywhere here) then got off and walk 2 km to my new flat. 2 km doesn’t seem like much but with a 50 pound travel pack and 20 pound brief case, 2 km felt like a marathon.
The flat that I am renting is on the fifth floor facing one of many busy Edinburgh streets. The flat is being shared by 4 people at the moment, all finishing their master’s degrees. We have one washroom, a little kitchen and living area, a fridge and a dishwasher which is exceptionally rare for Europe. Oh the cutest part about the flat is the washing machine…. It’s located in the kitchen!
After having a good nights rest and surprisingly no jet leg, I headed out into the city. After the amazing haggis breakfast, I set about on a good 5 km journey through the city. My goals for day one were firstly to tour around town and ask people what events are going on in the area and what locals recommend I do while here. All I can say is there is a tone to do in this little city! The list below are just some of the things I came up with:
- 108 sun salutation yoga charity event. This is a super cool two hour charity event that is taking place on June 21st at Ashtanga Yoga Edinburgh. Quite simply participators will complete 108 sun salutations in two hours! Another awesome yoga event to add to my already lengthy list!
- Edinburgh’s year round Saturday Farmer’s Market. Fresh fruits and veggies, I’m so there.
- Hike Arthur’s Seat and do yoga on the top. Arthur’s Seat is this massive hill in the middle of Edinburgh. It is a picture perfect representation of the Scottish Highlands and I bet you can see for miles at the top. Why do yoga when I hit the top? Because its supposed to be an amazing view, that paired with the gorgeous fresh Scottish air will make for a perfect day outing.
- Summer Solstice Coastal Night Ride. This week is Edinburgh’s Bike Fetival week and one of the events they are hosting includes a 40 mile night ride to welcome summer. The ride begins at 11pm and goes till 4am (sunrise). What a cool way to welcome summer! (SOLD OUT)
- Experience the pub and Celtic music night life.
- Check out Edinburgh’s vegan scene via meetup and some of the cities best veg restaurants including David Bann, Kalpna,Hymalaya Center, Hendersons, Annapurna, Twist and Sprout, Brazilian Kiosk, Urban Angle and ORB Cafe!
- Go on a underground tour of Mary King’s Close.
- Check out a free walking tour of the city during one of my down days.
- If it gets rainy go to the National Museum of Scotland for a free day in.
- Day Trips!!! Try and check out Stirling Castle, Loch Ness, the Scottish Highland Games, Fort William, Pebbles , Glasgow and hike up Ben A’an.
- Check out Edinburgh’s famous canal.
*All Bold words mean I have done that activity
Second on the to do list was to find an inexpensive bike that I could use to tour the city, bring on trains for short day trips outside of the city and use to get acquainted with the cycling community. Now everything in the UK is more expensive then Canada, yes hard to believe considering we pay more then Americans. So finding a bike within my price range seemed like an impossible task.
After visiting well over 5 cycle shops, I began to think I would have to give up on the whole biking in Scotland dream. I got back to my flat after a day of walking around and decided to google collapsible bikes Edinburgh. I was not intending on answering a used bike ad, but Gumtree happened to pop up an ad for a vintage collapsible bike. I called the Retro Recycle (the ad placer) and turned out the bike was 60 pounds and I could pick it up at a location 20 minutes from my place! I thought it was too good to be true but turns out good things come to those who wait.
The rest of my day was pretty uneventful, then again by the time I picked up the bike it was well pasted 8 pm. Tomorrow the plan is to pick up my pack sack from Patrick and get lost in New Town.