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The First 8 Hours in Edinburgh

On New Years Eve of 2015, I wrote a bucket list. Maybe it was the beginning of a new year or the glasses of champagne, but for some reason I felt drawn to put pen to paper on all the places I wanted to see. Most of them were specific: eat chocolate in Switzerland; beer garden in Germany; wine taste in Argentina (I really like to eat and drink), but visit Scotland was the most general and had to do with my (and my husband’s) Scottish heritage. We wanted to get back to our roots.

We arrived on a 3pm train from London, and after getting checked in to our Airbnb, we decided to explore until dinner. We started toward Princes Street, one of the most commercial areas of the city, hoping to pop into a pub for a drink and small plate.


We found Shoogly peg, just the type of pub we were looking for.


We ordered a couple Tennents and the haggis appetizer.


Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish, but of course we had no idea what it was when we ordered. A quick Google search revealed it’s a savory pudding consisting of sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, minced with onion and oatmeal, spices and salt. We made a deal from then on not to look something up until after we ate it.

Continuing towards city center, we couldn’t help but notice the castle on the hill. It takes your breath away at first, and offers quite a contrast to the hustle and bustle of below.


After stopping in a couple shops, we wound through St. Cuthbert’s Church, stopping to examine the old headstones.

For dinner, we chose First Coast, a neighborhood bistro with great reviews. We were both so pleased with our meal and would highly recommend! An after dinner drink at the nearest pub is always a good idea – and supposedly the norm – but refrain from ordering a “mixed drink” because they will look at you funny. Beer, straight whiskey or wine is what they know and do best.