Friday August 19- Tuesday August 22 – usually rainy
We are on our own in Edinburgh, cruise is over, Jon and Kathryn flew home. We are staying in an air bnb in a UNESCO rated A1 area in an Edwardian building with a view of Edinburgh Castle! It has tall ceilings, huge windows and heated bathroom floors. The down side is that it is the fourth floor, no elevator. We are staying with a young Scottish couple who know the city well and are very helpful. The down side is that we have to share a bathroom, something that we’ve only done once before and really don’t feel comfortable doing again. (We do have one booked in Bergen like this, though.) Also, they don’t have a dryer, just a washer. So they have laundry hanging all over the place. It just doesn’t dry here!
We are not too far from the castle where we see the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a wonderful show with bands, bag pipers, motorcycles, fireworks…yikes, it has it all! It’s been on my bucket list and I am not disappointed! It stirs the Celtic soul! You have to take a look at this video on YouTube https://youtu.be/2xgwRitTgU4
Before the show, we eat at The Witchery, an extremely cool
restaurant that a friend ate at very recently. It’s right at the foot of the castle with the ambience of a medieval chamber. I enjoyed some steak tartare, greens and a terrific hagis! Oh, but we started with a local gin, Pickering’s. (http://thewitchery.com)
Another day, we walk the Stockbridge area of Edinburgh, escaping some of the festival craziness. The farmers market is small, but just great. Upon the recommendation of our air bnb hostess, we search out the French cheese monger. Ah, love, love, love it! We get three small pieces after some wonderful advice from Le Monsieur and then get a little fresh bread. We will be having this for breakfast for several mornings.
In addition to the Tattoo, we see two shows in The Fringe. “William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play”, it is tons of laughs and a real pleasure to see. A comedian, Will Duggan, is just OK, but the show is in one of the bunkers. So, it’s a very fun venue. From Wikipedia, so you know it’s true…..
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe (often referred to as simply The Fringe) is the world’s largest arts festival, which in 2015, spanned 25 days and featured 50,459 performances of 3,314 shows in 313 venues. Established in 1947 as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival, it takes place annually in Scotland’s capital, in the month of August.
It’s hard to describe the scope and the variety of it. The venues stretch across many areas of the city and the energy level is so high. I downloaded the program from home, was going to print it, but it’s huge! I picked up a catalog at a street fair and decided it was too heavy to carry around! In addition to the catalog, there are bizarre posters everywhere. They each try to be more outlandish than the next to capture one’s attention. Over the top though, are the people handing out fliers to try to get you to go to a particular show. They dress up in costumes, stand on boxes and yell, accost you. Finally, of note, are the scores of street performers. Crazy!
We check out the Exhibit on the Celts at the National Museum of Scotland. The big take away idea here is that the Celts are not a tribe nor one group of people, but many groups who are mysteriously connected by common language and art. The experts know less than I dreamed. I see some enchanting objects, but have more questions than before I go through the exhibit.
Some of our time in Edinburgh we just walk and walk, soaking it all in. We stop for a beer at Brewdog, eat some hagis meat pies, sample Scotch whiskey. One day we walk nearly ten miles, nine another. Both Barry and are captivated by the closes (Scottish alleys ) in Edinburgh. These dark, sometimes spooky sections of streets open onto larger streets and often have tiny shops or offices tucked into them. I may research them some more, such peculiar places.