It is strange to categorise this post as "travel" given I have lived in Edinburgh for over three years now, but I suppose there is not really another category to file it under.
In 47 days (not that I'm counting down. Air Canada obnoxiously pointed this out to me when I was double-checking my flight details today...) I will be leaving the UK and heading back home to Toronto as my visa is, sadly, coming to an end. Although leaving Edinburgh, and even talking about leaving Edinburgh, is very hard, I am determined to get the most of the time - 47 days - I have left here.
For that reason I have made an Edinburgh Bucket List. Although I have been here for three years and have done a lot since moving here (more than I've done anywhere else I've lived) there are still things that I would love to do, love to experience before I fly across the pond.
Things to See
These are, well, tourist attractions. They haven't been on the top of my list, but now that I'm leaving the country I feel like I should see these things before I go. In no particular order:
Now, I have been to the Castle Esplanade many times and have seen the Castle from almost every possible angle but I have never been inside the castle. This is mostly because it's pricey to enter, so I am going to go on St Andrew's Day when it's free.
Another tourist trap but it's apparently pretty cool and features some fantastic views of Edinburgh. This will probably feature on St Andrew's day as well. Though it will not be free.
Not visited previously for the same reasons as the Castle, but I believe it is also free on St Andrew's day, so we'll continue our touristy day with a wee stroll down the Mile to see the Queen's house.
The Real Mary King's Close Tour
One of those "ghost tours" that feature in ancient cities such as Edinburgh, but it takes you deep into the underground villages that were home to Edinburgh's poor - and much disease - in the 17th century. It's meant to be quite good!
Gorgie City Farm
Who doesn't love a farm? Recently some goats from this farm were residents at Fettes College (the school where I work) for the day as a practical joke from the Head Boy and Girl. They were lovely goats and I would kind of like to say hi to Gandalf and Oreo again, but I would also love to see their set up and visit the onsite cafe.
I visited the farm shortly after posting this list. Read about my visit here.
Game Masters exhibit at the National Museum of Scotland
I love the National Museum and this exhibit looks pretty cool - plus Harry would love it. We are planning on going on a day when they also have carol singers in the main hall. I also really want to finally visit the roof. It will probably be pretty chilly, but worth it for the views!
Places to Eat, Drink & be Merry
Edinburgh has some of the best places to eat and drink. The past three years I have absolutely been spoilt for choice when it came to cafés, pubs and restaurants. However, there are still places I would love to go to, or go again, before I leave.
The Gardener's Cottage
over the last year or so Harry and I have been trying to eat here, but we never made a reservation with enough notice to get a seat at a reasonable time. 5:30 is far too early to eat, but when you're considering a 6 course prix fix menu, 9:15 is also far too late. Finally, though, we secured a reservation for a holiday meal with some friends. I can't wait!
Panda & Sons and Lucky Liquor Co.
Though not affiliated with each other, I have grouped these two because they are both cocktail bars with a cool vibe. I am not a cocktaily person, but I do like one now and again and these spots are meant to be great! I thought they would do nicely as a bar hop, perhaps with a stop at Bramble, which is another top-class cocktail joint in Edinburgh, finishing at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (of which we have friends who are members). A fun night out is always necessary!
One of my favourite spots in Edinburgh. I have to experience their salads once more.
Some of my favourite pubs in Edinburgh are in Leith. The Roseleaf, Teuchters Landing, King's Wark, Nobles, not to mention all the Swedish Bars (Sofi's, Boda, Victoria, Joseph Pearce), are all amazing. I have to do another pub crawl here before I go. The whole area has such a great vibe as well.
Now, La Fav is a pretty regular occurence in my life as it's pretty much the best takeaway pizza ever. But they also have a restaurant and seeing as this is where Harry and I had our first date, I feel as though we must return here to pay homage. It's in Leith as well so we'll probably be able to tick off at least two of the bars on the above list.
Stuff to Do
This is a list of other stuff I would like to do that is not necessarily an attraction or a specific place to go. It ranges from walks, to visiting areas in or near Edinburgh, or simply doing something in the city itself.
Go to a Ceilidh
I have been to a few ceilidhs since I've been in Edinburgh and have found that it's very good fun. A Ceilidh is essentially a party, but one where the whole group participates in traditional Scottish Country Dancing, usually to a live fiddle band. It's just such good craic and Harry loves it as well. So we are definitely going to Strip the Willow before I'm back in Canada where cool stuff like that doesn't happen.
Edinburgh Christmas Markets
I have done this every year since I have been here but I love it and would love to do it again this year. I haven't been on the big wheel yet though so I think I will splurge for that wee experience as well. Also skating. Always skating.
Edinburgh has a ton of great farmer's markets. Firstly, there is one at Castle Terrace that runs every saturday and there is also one in Stockbridge on Sundays. We went to the Stockbridge Market a couple weekends ago after I had started this list and it was great. There was a lot more food to eat than to buy and we should have thought of that before we had a big breakfast, but it was so busy and it was nice to just walk around. I would love to go to the Castle Terrace market before I go though and purchase some nice produce and meat and cook something delicious.
Cramond is a small island off the coast of Edinburgh in the Forth River. At low tide you can walk out to the island. You have to, of course, make it back before the tide comes back in, but you should have enough time to walk around the island at least once before you have to come back. Harry and I have been talking about doing this for a while - I hope we have the time to do this before we head down south for Christmas!
Portobello is part of Edinburgh near the shore of the North Sea. It is famous for its beach, which would have made it best to visit in the summer, but I would still love to go. A friend of mine is from there, so hopefully we can find a time to go down together so she can show us around.
North Berwick walk
North Berwick is a lovely little seaside town about a half hour's train journey to the south of Edinburgh. I have been to North Berwick before, but according to Harry a great day walk goes from the beaches in North Berwick along the coast back to Edinburgh. If we can find a nice day this will definitely be on the cards.
The next month and a half will certainly not be the last time I'm in Edinburgh. Whether it's to visit or if I end up moving back here, this city will always be a part of me and I will always have an opportunity to experience new things in this amazing city. What I am saying is that it is not the end of the world if I don't check everything off this list. I have made the list because I want to look forward to the fun things that I have left to do, rather than dread the day I drive away.
Here's to the next 47 days. They are going to be GREAT.