"Genuine is the best word for Edinburgh, in my mind. Even as a foreigner, I am overwhelmed with a sense of familiarity and comfort walking through Edinburgh. I walk an average commute of seven kilometers a day and I see the life of the city pulsing. From the fluidity of the traffic in the roundabouts, to the destruction and construction on Leith Street, to the bright colours and sounds on the Royal Mile, to the peace of the stone streets off the Grassmarket, every corner has something different to say.
The walkability of the city struck me because so many people had warned me that the city was on a hill and that the commute would be dreadful. I can very easily walk the majority of the city even with arms full of groceries. I feel comfortable walking at pretty much any time, even after the sun goes down.
At the same time, with Waverley train station and various bus services, I can get pretty much anywhere I need to go. Edinburgh is very well connected to the rest of Scotland; I’ve been living here a month and a half, and I’ve already been to Skye, the Highlands, Glasgow, and the Pentlands. I plan to travel more simply because it will be so simple to do so.
The landscape is a wonderful blend of old and new all interacting with each other: architecture, ideas, entertainment. For Edinburgh being a capital city, it isn’t inundated with the usual madness of people, mess, and city life that I am familiar with in places like Philadelphia, DC, and NYC. (If it is, it does a really good job of masking its madness.) I love standing in the New Town looking down at Princes Street with the Castle in the background. It portrays the layers of the city’s history.
Most of all it is the people here that I believe are some of the most truly genuine that I have ever met. The first two weeks of living here were a whirlwind of logistics, details, finding my way, and taking it all in. I got lost a few times trying to find places, but I never felt uncomfortable asking for help and those with whom I spoke never made me feel silly for asking. Even if they couldn’t help me, they always spoke kindly to me and treated me well, often suggesting where I should go next to ask for help.
The people are some of the most genuine and genial, and the overall atmosphere of the city reflects that perfectly. Amidst the unending wind, bouts of rain, and swells of tourists, Edinburgh remains a friendly city that I am proud and privileged to call my home.
Lindsey K Williams lives in Leith with her husband, Bo Williams, who is a photographer. They have a blog about moving to Edinburgh entitled, “Wandering Williams” on bowilliamsphotography.com