Sunday, May 26, 2013

1st Week in Edinburgh

We are slowly getting ourselves acclimated to our new location, Leith which is right outside of Edinburgh.  We are taking it all in as we discover nearby playgrounds, figure out which is the best/cheapest/closest grocer, and get ourselves used to walking around in the area.  Transitioning is fun and exciting while also a little difficult.  It takes a lot of energy to learn a new area and it can sometimes be uncomfortable when you don't have all of your normal conveniences mapped out.  It is also fun and invigorating as you marvel at new surroundings, and discover new loves.
Family picture taken right outside of our apartment on our first day in Edinburgh.  We love our view!
I love Edinburgh so far for a couple of different reasons.  First, I love being able to communicate with people again!  You don't realize how even small conversations on the playground or in the grocery store can be so nice.  Second, most of the buildings are constructed out of stone.  I have loved walking through the city gazing at all of the fine stone carvings and "closes" that are between buildings and cobble streets.  Third, even though Edinburgh is a big city it is surrounded by beautiful mountains and ocean.  Since we are right on the water, we hear seagulls making all sorts of noises all day and night. The ability to be able to get out and enjoy nature is very exciting for me.  I am looking forward to discovering more about what I love about Edinburgh over the next couple of months.

As we take pictures, we feel that they do not do justice for what we are actually seeing; kind of like trying to capture the Grand Canyon.  We need to do a better job of having our camera out.  It is easy to just experience and not take the time/effort to take pictures, but I know we will want to remember as much as we can in the future.  We need an extra set of hands though!! ;)

So far, we have discovered the following places that I am sure we will frequent often:

  • Leith Links - Fabulous park near our house with great open fields to kick around the ball and a large playground with a zipline, swings, slides, and more.  Amelie likes to ride her bike from our house to the playground. 
  • Water of Leith Walkway (Wiki Page) - Walking/biking path that runs along the river to many major sites in Edinburgh.  This allows for you to get to the places without being in traffic.  We have used the path a couple of times already as we ventured into the center of Edinburgh.  On one occasion, Amelie rode her bicycle.  She rode for about 6 miles her first day having her bike! The video below is of her on the path.  Since this is such a bike friendly city, Bobby and I are contemplating purchasing bikes for our time here and then of course selling them when we leave. 
  • Public Library - There are many public libraries around the city that we have access to be able to check out books.  These also provide a story hour for children once a week.  We have checked out a large stack of books and will be back for new ones frequently.  The one library we have visited so far had a really large play area for children with kitchens and play food, tables & chairs, trains, beanbags, and more.  
  • Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh - 70 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens that is free to the public.  We spent on afternoon strolling through the gardens in amazement of the many varieties of plants and flowers.  There were also stunning views of the city. 
    Quick pear snack in the Rock Gardens in the Botanical Garden.

    Liam is an explorer that is not afraid of any feat.
    "Look at me and hold up your arms!"
    I could not get them both to look at the same time.
    Amelie climbing trees with dads help.  Liam had to have a go at it too.
    There was a thin sheet of metal on a couple of stumps which made for the perfect drum set.

    A 6 meter tall hedge...crazy tall!

    View of the National Monument on the hill in the distance.
  • National Museum of Scotland - A free museum with a couple of great interactive children's area as well as an expansive collection for adults to view.  On the museum's website is the following description:  "Explore the diversity of the natural world, world cultures, art and design, science and technology and Scottish history, all under one roof at the National Museum of Scotland. National Museums Scotland has one of the few remaining museum taxidermy departments in the UK, with true craftsmen presenting hundreds of stunning new specimens from all over the world, complimented by astonishing life-sized casts and models of species."  The Wildlife Panorama was our favorite area with lots of interactive games/activities throughout.  Since it is so expansive, we will be headed back multiple times for sure! 
    There are a lot of dress up opportunities throughout the museum...exploring different cultures as well as different adventurers.
    You can go on the roof of the museum for more great views of the city.  The castle is seen in the background.
    Reading about the Tortoise and the Hare and then playing a game related to the book.
    A large area is set up with lots of different musical instruments to try out.
    The Wildlife Panorama main gallery.
    Digging for dinosaur bones.
  • Royal Mile - A major tourist activity is walking down a series of streets that connects historic Edinburgh (castle area) to the area closer to our house.  We hiked to the National Monument and then to the castle and then down the Royal Mile on May 25th.  We are sore today from all of the walking up crazy big hills!  The views were worth it though!!

    View of Arthur's Seat.  We are going to hike this while we are here. ;)

    Liam napping while Amelie plays on a playground.
    As in any city, there is a lot to explore and learn.  Many times, your first impression is totally different from the impression that you leave with.  It will be cool to see what we take away from this experience.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gorgeously Green! What better time to go than in the spring?! ~ joanna