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Living on the 'Fringe' of the Festival

sunny 18 °C
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"...for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself..." - Declaration of Arbroath

Foodie moment

If you asked us what we miss the most from Melbourne, the answer (after family and friends of course) would be Asian food! After spotting a Chinese restaurant we couldn't resist. Unfortunately we were disappointed, with prices of dumplings crazy high, and the soups just not living up to our high expectations... hmmm.... guess we'll just have to wait till November then!


Cultural moment

FRINGE FEST! The reason we came to Edinburgh at this time of year, is a festival of performing arts, one of the biggest in the world. We arrived on day 1 of the festival, and our accommodation was right next to the Royal Mile, the main street where all the outside performances are held. There were street acts of all different types, from swords and fire jugglers, to spontaneous Shakespeare plays.

People were everywhere, it was insanely busy (even more so in the days that followed). Walking down the Royal Mile you are greeted with many touts advertising their own shows, and while actually helpful to begin with, the pile of pamphlets and ones littering the street soon become a nuisance. It became a kind of 'running the gauntlet' just to get to the supermarket! However the atmosphere was amazing (even though it died quite quickly after dark), and the shows we saw were greatly entertaining (mostly).

Most of the festivals shows are held in pubs and theatres (plus any other space where a crowd can fit!) and you can choose from of the hundreds if not thousands of performances on offer. They range from Cabernet, Stand up comedy, Spoken word performances, musicals to plays. There are ones that you pay at the door for, and other that are free, which you are encouraged to tip at the end of the show. Being true backpackers, we went to the free ones.


Wow moment

I would love to go back to Edinburgh when the festival is not on, just to spend more time exploring the other sites on offer, there are a lot to see! Our first was the Edinburgh museum, an extensively large museum which has a whole building of 7 levels dedicated to the history of the city and rest of Scotland. We learnt a lot, and I'm glad we did it on our first day, so that we had a background of knowledge for the rest of the time we stayed in Edinburgh. It also housed a lot of antiquities, from weapons to steam engines, all of which I particularly liked.


The other half of the museum is much more like a typical museum with different areas dedicated to different fields such as science, natural world and dinosaurs! We didn't get to explore everything, we had used most of the day in the history section, but what we did get to see was impressive, and included Dolly the Cloned Sheep!


What we learnt today

Scottish history is a long, bloody and complex one, and the multiple levels of the museum covering it gave us more information than we could ever take in. The main theme that runs through their history is that there have been two main points of angst in Scotland.
One is that the Scottish have been forever trying to rid themselves of the pesky southerners that share their land mass, otherwise known as the English. Two of the important people helping to achieve this aim were William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. William Wallace was a Scottish land owner who became one of main leaders in the Scottish wars of Independence, and was later hung, drawn and quartered by the English for his involvement. Robert the Bruce supported William Wallace during his uprising, but after Wallace's execution he waged his own attack against the English, eventually gaining Scotland's independence and becoming the King of Scots.

The other consistent point of contention in Scotland has been religion. Scotland has fought hard (both literally and figuratively!) to make the Protestant faith, the main religion of Scotland. Changes in monarchy over the years were the main decider of the countries religious 'following' with Catholic kings and queens being very common, this meant the Protestant faith was often ignored or even outlawed. Even so Protestant faith stayed strong in Scotland. When Mary Queen of Scots (Catholic) led Scotland she was one of the few leaders who ruled a country which as a majority followed a different faith to her. When the Church of Scotland was identified as the religion of Scotland during the reformation of 1560, this was a huge moment in Scottish history.


Posted by travellinglise 08:44 Archived in Scotland Tagged edinburgh fringe

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