You can’t help but fall in love with Scotland – the fairy tale princess castles, the medieval towns, the brilliant flowering heather, the incredible peaks and glens, beautiful beaches and coastlines and warm and friendly people. Scotland really has a bit of everything – including a fair dousing of rain – but when the sun shines it is truly one of the most beautiful places in the world.
I’ve spent the last two weeks on this part of the the fair British isles and one of the highlights was without doubt the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Happily VIP Backpackers has accommodation in Edinburgh so put this date down in your calendar for next year – August 5-29, 2011.
This Fringe festival is the largest in the world and I have to say the choice of things to see is a little overwhelming. Comedy, dance, music and theatre shows are all available but there are also magicians, street performers and the incredible sights of Edinburgh competing for your attention too. Here are some stats to give you an idea — according to Wikipedia (who else?):
Fringe 2009 sold 1,859,235 tickets for 34,265 performances of 2,098 shows in 265 venues, over 25 days, for an average of over 74,000 admissions and 1,300 performances per day. There were an estimated 18,901 performers, from 60 countries.
The shows cost anywhere from 5 pounds to over 15 so you do need to choose wisely, there are some freebies as well but these vary in quality. A good study of the online program well before the festival starts is definitely a great idea. You also need to book your accommodation in advance to ensure you have somewhere to rest your head. We can help you there.
Apart from all the action on the streets, in bars, pubs, theatres, greens and everywhere else there is a Fringe venue – there are literally hundreds – leave some time to explore the city too. Besides you might be reading this and never get to the Fringe but you will get to Edinburgh. So here’s a list of some of my favourite sights/activities in this city:
1. Visit the castle. Yes it’s 14.50 – in pounds that is (eek) but it’s worth it. I spent over four hours wandering around, catching the cannon ball firing at 1pm, exploring the chapel, the museums and great views over Edinburgh.
2. Wander the Royal Mile. Okay this is a given in Edinburgh but consider taking in one of the free tours in summer along the Mile and really getting a good look at the churches and monuments. Highlights include the free writer’s museum that celebrates some of Scotland’s finest including Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns and at the other end the Holyrood Palace where the Queen stays when she comes to town.
3. Try the haggis! It’s really very good. If you’re not clear on what it is you might not want to know but basically it is sheep’s heart, liver and lungs, minced with things like onion, oatmeal and spices that is simmered in the animal’s stomach. And actually it’s very tasty.
4. Walk up Arthur’s Seat at the end of the Mile beyond the Palace for some fine views of the city. Or wander over to Castle Hill for some equally fine views and a few more historic monuments.
5. And finally make sure you head to the pub at some point – any pub, there’s plenty to choose from. You might catch some traditional bagpipe music or even meet some of the friendly locals with whom you can endeavour to understand their conversation with the thick and gorgeous accent they have.
In the next blog I’ll cover some of the other highlights of Scotland.
Hope you’re enjoying the VIP Backpacker’s Travel Blog. There’ll be an update added every other Friday, so keep tuning in to keep your travel dreams alive! If there are any travel topics you want covered feel free to contact me, Jo, at email@example.com