By the time we left our apartment on Saturday morning the Fringe was definitely in full swing. Packed streets, clashing noises from various singers, actors and musicians promoting their shows, pop-up Edin-burger stands (genius name) and umbrellas going up and down to combat the ever-changing sky. The energy is truly infectious.
My tip for festival-ing in Edinburgh is: take some good shoes to tramp around in! Our days were mostly made up of going to a venue or leaving one and we must have covered miles around the city. If we had a couple of hours between shows we'd just walk around the main venue spots to see if there was any free comedy going on. There always was, and it was usually good!
I always thought I hated bagpipes but I don't think the buskers of Norwich have the authority on bagpipe standards - this chap was amazing! Sometimes when you go on city trips it's hard to feel like you're properly 'in' that country as tourist spots are so often feel generic. I felt like I was in Scotland as soon as I got of the train - maybe the bagpipes on every corner helped?!
Serendipitous moments like the one above always happen by chance - a rainbow landing just over the tower I photographed on the first day. The Balmoral on the left is definitely on a 'wishlist' for the future. If I save a pound a week I'll be able to afford it... in 40 years perhaps!
The streets have so much character in Edinburgh. We tried not to look at maps too much and wander around instead. The distinctive dark grey bricks and steep, narrow alleys could't be placed anywhere else. I found myself identifying what simply HAD to be inspiration subjects for Harry Potter. I mean, I have NEVER seen so many unnecessary turrets on buildings before. Anything that feeds the deep-rooted Potter head in me is certainly nothing to complain about!
I could have reached over and stuffed this handsome one into my bag. What a sassy little feline.
Despite the coats and heavy boots, there was a real festival spirit in the air. Every Scot we spoke to had seen something at the fringe, and the free events mean that everyone can get involved no matter what your budget.
The saturday and sunday were filled with staggered walks, stopping to catch a few minutes of street entertainment here or a slice of cake there, seeing what was on offer at the box office and taking a chance on a hopeful performer flyering in the street for their show. The venues being spread across the city mean that you discover areas you wouldn't ordinarily have wandered down.
Streets piggy-back one another, like this one above. Hills and stairs and hidden paths snake around the city and take you on a helta-skelta route towards your destination.
The above photographs capture my perfect bliss and absolute relief to be exploring a new city after the past three months spent in front of my laptop furiously working on my dissertation. A much needed moment of calm before the DOUBLY horrendous train journey on the way back. Sitting, once again, between the carriages and in the luggage rack, being dumped at Peterborough and told to make our own way to London. Nine hours later, we were tucking into a very late roast dinner and all but collapsed into bed.
Edinburgh pretty much sapped the last remaining energy I had post-dissertation!
After all that, a job interview, and far too much time spent on trains, a good armchair and a trashy book is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Look out for my experience of The Elephant House cafe in a post next week.