* The next two posts are about a long weekend in August 2005 to see the Military Tattoo in Edinburgh.
Early on in the year, I found that Contiki ran a 4-day tour up to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and as soon as I saw the tour advertised, I knew I wanted to do it. I don't know why I became obsessed with going to the Tattoo - I was never outrageously interested in anything military, nor bagpipe-ish - in fact, when we used to watch the Tattoo on the ABC at home as kids, I thought it was about as interesting as watching paint dry.
Anyway, on the last weekend in August, me and 50 other nutters set off on a four-day Contiki tour (my shortest tour ever), on the very long drive up to Edinburgh. It’s basically straight up the infamous M1 – the main road north from London.
Other than a few stops, and introductions of everyone on the bus, the 10-hour bus ride was as boring as hell. But…at 6.30pm or so, we reached Edinburgh, where it was a balmy 12-13C (quite noice for “summer” weather), and were shown to our accommodation in Pollack Halls – part of the student accommodation arm in the University of Edinburgh, about 15 mins walk out of the city.
Bags stowed, we hit the town, which, in the final weekend of the Edinburgh Fringe festival, was going off. The festival is a month long celebration of everything and seems to be one of the largest combined festivals in the world.
Despite the wet, freezing weather, my first impression of Edinburgh was that it is a beautiful city – quite like anything else I’ve seen in the UK. The buildings are stunning – old and grey/black, with loads of character. Like the Scottish people, the buildings stood tall and proud, as if not taking any crap from anyone.
It was surprising to see girls walking round in the near arctic conditions in micro skirts and ugg boots – seems to be the fashion in the northern parts of this country….speaking of nutters. Perhaps I’m getting prudish in my old age.