Fringe and Tattoo
Edinburgh Travel Blog› entry 4 of 4 › view all entries
Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is always full of happenings but in August, the place is jam packed with actions and more actions. Not only does the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo take place in August, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe also happens at the same time. And tourists from all over the world seem to cumulate here!
The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo is Scotland's biggest, best-selling spectacle, the most popular annual event on the Scottish calendar, attracting an international audience each year of some 217,000 people. Televised in 30 countries, an annual television audience of 100 million watches the coverage worldwide.
Hearing so many raves about it, it was certainly not a show to be missed while in Scotland. I chose the final show on the evening of the last performance to coincide with the visit of some friends to Scotland and because it was so popular, most of the good seats were already sold out.
Against the spectacular backdrop of the Edinburgh Castle, the 2011 Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo featured a nautical theme with performances from four continents – the Commonwealth, Europe, the Middle East and South America.
There were exciting lights displays and music from the Massed Bands of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines, the Brazilian Marine Corps Band, the German Mountain Army Band, the Dutch Mounted Bicycle Band and the Tattoo Highland Dancers from Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The highlight of the Tattoo was the stirring music of the world-famous Massed Pipes and Drums at the beginning of the show and the contrasting performance by the Lone Piper performing from the Castle’s high ramparts almost at the end of the show. It was followed by a spectacular display of fireworks and with the illuminated Castle in the background, it was a fantastic sight. The show ended with everyone including the audience joining hands and singing Auld Lang Syne.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world and takes place every August for three weeks in Scotland’s capital city. It is a celebration of arts and entertainment and every year thousands of performers take to a multitude of stages all over Edinburgh to present shows for every taste.
In addition to the many free performances on the streets throughout the city, there were over 2,500 shows spread over 250 venues across the city during the three weeks of Fringe Festival. It was just overwhelming walking through the city, especially through High Street leading to the Castle. Not only were there many performers, there were also many people distributing flyers and promoting the various performances. So many choices …. so little time!
A visit to the Scott Monument on Princess Street on a fine day is highly recommended.
The Monument has four levels, each narrower at the base than the previous one. The higher one goes, the more breathtaking the views are. And the higher one goes, the narrower the staircase becomes. The staircase is so narrow that at some points, that one had to either wait for the one way traffic of human to finish or try to breath in and stay as slim as possible so that the other person could squeeze past. During my visit, it was so crowded that the traffic had to be monitored and people were allowed into the monument when some others exited. Still, it was so busy at the top that it was nearly impossible to move around the viewing gallery.
The Arthur’s Seat in Holyrood Park was revisited. It was an easy walk up the slopes on the trail but it was so windy up on the top that morning that parents were holding on really tight to some kids for the fear that they got blown away. Well, such weather is typical of Scotland!