I was really excited about getting to Scotland, as one side of my family emigrated to Australia from here and we could be assured of some hearty food! (Cheese and baguettes were not doing it for us anymore) We had booked our accommodation early as were arriving during the fringe festival. A huge festival of live shows and a mecca for up and coming well established performers alike. The atmosphere here was quite electric and you could get through a day just wondering around looking at the street performances. There would be no possible way of seeing it all and half price tickets come up all the time as people are desperate to fill their seats. One of my favorite street performers was a bagpipe and drum band, of which i recorded a little on a video I'll try to include, great stuff.
Of course this is also the time of the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Now tickets had sold out by the time i realised it was on when we would get there, but it just so happens that they release a limited number of tickets first thing in the morning for that nights show. After an early start and a two hour wait in line I managed to get two tickets in a prime location! The only downer was that it started to rain that morning and it wasn't likely to stop, but as the say in Scotland (and most places it rains a lot) its just liquid sunshine! That night, fully water proofed we attended a fantastic show. It's a show run with Military precision, right down to the herding of the audience into a 'pen' prior to being sent up the road to the entry. The spectacle takes place in the mounting yards in front of the Edinburgh castle with the castle as the backdrop. Through out the show different pipe bands and other styled perforemances from all over the world show their stuff with the final spectacle all of the bands playing together a great site. The stand outs were the Swedish guards men, something that needs to be seen to believed.
We also caught a couple of the other acts going on including Jimoen's show and some not so well knowns we felt sorry for. There were actually at the ticket booth promoting the show themselves. We stayed in a hostel that was right in the middle of all of the action and so it was full to the brim and very lively. For a couple of days we had a pair of German twin sisters sharing our dorm. They were over in Scotland studying and like everyone else checking out the festival. These girls were slightly freakish. At first only one came into the room and introduced herself, she said her sister would be arriving soon and looked a lot like her. She left to use the bathroom and her sister arrived and we assumed it was the original coming back from the bathroom. These two girls were exactly the same. Their hair, clothes, face, voice and wouldn't be surprised if even their fingerprints were the same. What made them even more interesting was that the where your stereotypical German, well organised, a little dorky, hair in pigtails. They were real characters and really nice girls as well.
I did mention food above, well it was fry up central in this town and who were we to argue. We found a great baked potato place on our first night and revisited a couple of times. My favorite was the potato with baked beans and cheese! We also found a great and cheap breakfast place with five very large ladies serving behind the counter, including an Aussie girl who was on par with her Scottish workmates. These girls loved their food and so did I. I went for the standard large breakfast which included two eggs, hash brown, bacon, haggis, black sausage, tomato and baked beans. Topped off with a mug of coffee. What a way to start the day!
Some of the best fun was exploring the other sites on offer here and also hanging out in the old pubs (out of the rain). We visited the Scottish Parliament, a modern and impressive building, despite what some locals may think. And we also visited the Scottish national museum which got us started on the historical journey that the rest of the UK would offer us. We managed to fit in a lot and on the morning of our fourth day we joined a five day tour that would take us around Scotland.