Last week I travelled the 500 miles up to Edinburgh for the Festival Fringe with my good friend Chris. It’s the world’s largest arts festival and the huge majority of this is theatre and comedy. We went for the comedy mostly and had to do so on a tight budget because neither of us have very much money. This is the third of three posts about my week (Part One here and Part Two here) and this is one is about us exploring the city and the other stuff which didn’t fit into the other posts!
We arrived in Edinburgh at 8:30AM on a Monday morning after getting a ride on the nicest bus we’d ever been on. Our local buses are pretty rubbish and we were somewhat amazed at the airlink bus which had tables and really comfy chairs and music and a digital display telling you where along the route you were. It dropped us of on a bridge and then we had to work out what to do next. Arriving in a strange city early in the morning having not had much sleep and very little idea of the local geography was something of a challenge. By pure luck we ended up on the Royal Mile where the Fringe shop is so we printed off the tickets for shows and picked up a free map, which was invaluable for the time we were there.
The Royal Mile is a stretch of the old part of Edinburgh which serves as the centre for the Festival Fringe. It’s along there that the street performers do their shows (see Part Two) and the atmosphere there is amazing. As well as all the street performers there’s all sorts of people desperate to sell tickets for their shows and you find flyers being waved in your direction from all over the place. In fact it would seem people will do anything to get you to take a flyer…
Some people did origami with their flyers whilst others simply opted to dress up as a giant robot
Our base for the week was the one of the building used as accommodation for Edinburgh University, which is turned into a hostel for the summer. It was a pretty decent place and the facilities were decent enough for somewhere so cheap. There were two issues though. The first was that our room was on the fifth floor and with no lift it was quite a feat just to reach it. The other was that building work was going on outside and so at 8:30AM every morning we were woken by the noise of drilling and sawing. That was pretty horrendous.
The view from our window. Not very inspiring at all.
As we had a lot of free time during the day, we did lots of touristy things. We visited the various museums and galleries (the free ones anyway), though the museum about the Bank of Scotland was pretty boring. The National Museum for Scotland was worth the visit though and had some great exhibits.
Techno sceptic? Me? What are you talking about silly alien thing?
That’s the actual Dolly the Sheep. You know, the first ever cloned mammal.
You can climb to the roof of the museum where you get a pretty good view of the city:
Edinburgh Castle/ The Udderbelly (a ridiculous theatre which is shaped like an upside down purple cow)
If you want an even better view of the city though, Arthur’s Seat is the place. It’s an extinct volcano which was eroded by glaciers to give it it’s modern form. It turned out to be quite a climb, especially with the two of us being incredibly unfit. It probably didn’t help that due to bad planning we had all our luggage with us, though at least it was only one small bag each because we were saving money on the plane.
A ruined building on the way up/Arthur’s Seat from below/ The summit of Arthur’s Seat (very rocky)
The view from the top/ Proof that we climbed it!
And here’s a few photos of other things we spotted:
Edinburgh’s bit for the Olympics/ The National Monument for Scotland
Chris on the National Monument/ Chris with the golden postbox for Chris Hoy’s Olympic Gold
And that’s it! Our time in Edinburgh finished on Friday and it was quite sad to be returning home. It was the highlight of what has so far been a great summer. I hope you enjoyed the post and don’t forget to check out the other parts using the links below!