There is a reason why I am retroactively updating this blog. It's because Fringe is an experience. An eclectic mind blowing experience. Some shows you love, others you despise and most don't effect you at all. Or affect. I'll never get those two right, and that doesn't bother me.
Tuesday August 8th! That was a hefty lineup of shows which looked like this:
- Men With Coconuts (Free Improv show)
- Sketch Thieves (Free Sketch show)
- Scribble (Original Theatre)
* dinner break*
- The Humours of Bandon (Original Theatre/Dance)
- Zach & Viggo (Absurdist Clown)
As you can see it was a varied day. Starting the day out with improv is always a good idea and Men With Coconuts made me realize it had been too long since I was onstage improvising. (About two weeks.... too long.)
They packed the house and deserved the butts in seats, it was lots of fun from beginning to end. The only thing is looking back at the improv I did see in my first two weeks of Fringe is, where are all the women?!? Ladies in improv need to represent themselves, we are already too few as it is!
Sketch Thieves had a great premise. Four sketch troupes perform their favourite/best sketch. After all four have been performed a random audience member gets selected to mix and match sketches to new groups. E.g. If Group A did a sketch on Henry VIII and Group D did a sketch on mermaids, Group A may now have to take the stage and do the very same sketch beginning to end on mermaids, with Group D doing the one on Henry VIII etc. Except the shuffling is done across four troupes so in the show I saw, just because Group A now does Group D's sketch, doesn't mean D does A's, but likely C's sketch. Make sense?
It was an interesting show as obviously some troupes were stronger and the groups that excelled even after the switch were those that knew how to make the 'new' sketch their own. The groups that tried to re-hash the sketch word for word or beat for beat (aka 'get it right') didn't cut it. Isn't that interesting.... trying to 'get it right' in comedy doesn't work.... haha.
Scribble started promising. A show where one performer is new to the show, every show. If you are familiar with the improv game 'Actor's Nightmare' you'll understand the essence of this new performers role in this show. If you're not familiar, google it.
Scribble is all about mental illness and the fear and anxiety that comes with mental illnesses and what those of us who suffer from it can possible go through in this world. And Bran flakes, I can't forget the bran flakes as that spin/analogy what really beaten home to the audience during the show.
I thought I would love this show, it started out promising. Even with the new performer element, it really is a one man show. (The new performer only comes into it towards the end as they open envelopes and read lines from a folder provided onstage.) But I didn't love this show and here is why.
The character suffers from an anxious OCD affliction. And their sudden obsession with a child comes up in the storyline. In fact, it is explored in a very dark, dense and confronting way. Pedophillia normally is dark, dense and confronting. The only jig is, the character starts to spiral mentally at the beginning of the show because their partner (girlfriend) moves away for a chunk of time. Not permanently. They relationship continues, long distance, and a very real love is presented to you.
When the pedophillia element comes into the show, it drives a wedge between the lovers, and the sexualizing of the child really comes into play when the main character is standing in the supermarket incapable of picking a cereal. The shoes of the child (or rainjacket, I forget which) catches his eye. Later on a park bench the same child happens by and speaks to him. This is where the play never again addresses the pedophillia, but jumps straight into his self hatred and relationship fallout about his child sex issues. Scary stuff as the protagonist is no longer likeable.
And soon after that the show is over, with no real ending as the actor, new performer and writer break the fourth wall to say how there isn't an ending as it's real life. The writer struggled to write the play, and didn't finish. It's art, it's Fringe, the audience applauds their creative zeal. But 'what the fuck' I say to myself, the main character attacked a child? Or he didn't?
Five minutes later I am finishing up in the washroom under the theatre when I overhear another audience member talking to who I find out is the Director. This audience member also wants to know why bring up the pedophillia in the first place? They didn't understand, did he go through with it and attack the girl? The Director says no, but that it was written into the script as a lot of OCD sufferers become obsessed with what they think is their sexual attraction/obsession with children and worry they could be pedophiles. They worry they could harm another. She goes on to explain to the captive audience member that OCD suffers needlessly worry, that it is one of the quirks of the mental illness, something they struggle with.
I wanted to add something to their discussion, but didn't. Partly because I don't think that it was presented well or addressed clearly in the show and partly because they still created something relevant and interesting. I figure if I want to criticize their handling of the pedophillia issue, (she was correct, OCD suffers can also suffer from an over sexualized imagination and urges) I should write my own mental health awareness show, right?!? Still, I felt it was a bit of a shame. You definitely leave with the impression he hurt the girl, and he didn't, it was only there because it is a peripheral OCD issue. They have quite a lot of this show in the bag and I think it was just that loose thread that left it from being tied neatly together.
More importantly, wouldn't audiences leaving with empathy for suffers of OCD and mental illness be more powerfully prepped, effective and knowledgable in the real world? Instead of audiences leaving associating OCD and mental health issues with pedophiles and not quite fully understanding the "link" between the two?
The Humours of Bandon has to be one of the best shows I've seen in the festival. Reasons? Well, it was bloody well polished. The 'original' script, meaning original idea, not first script, is engaging and it was tight. Great characters whose voices were distinct (meaning dialogue- not actors vocal tone) and who the actress enhanced with character and body language. It was all so smooth and fluid.
Not to mention the Irish dancing was great. Fantastic even. Not 100% flawless, but all human and heart. I walked out thinking people need to see this kind of work. And I bought a copy of the play in the foyer as I know I could learn a lot from it.
Last of the night was Zach and Viggo's clowning. I don't know exactly what it was about but I didn't care because I am now 100% a fan of whatever they are. It doesn't hurt they are both incredibly charming. The show was just silly stupid weird, the kind playful everyone at some point has been. When laughter and giggles take over and the mundane becomes the hilarious joke. I bought tickets to both their solo shows for later in the week.
I'm starting to have some trouble staying at the hostel and being around others. It's times like this I think I must be Slytherin because I don't seem to play nice with others. Or at least I do on the surface, but other people's idiosyncrasies really start to bother me in close confinement.
Soon complete strangers develop into characters in stories of their own in my mind. Like the stinky lady who snores, rolls around a lot and smells like stale cigarette smoke or the older guy who goes unabashedly about in his tighty whities. (His sack seems to be prominently in view when I roll over and wake up in the morning. Every morning.) I label them in my head and imagine all the ways they are a detriment to society.
Actually that's quite tough admitting to, because I don't actually wish anyone ill. The stale cigarette lady is very particular about hanging her towel and always apologizes if it falls onto my bed. I can appreciate that. But most days when I pass these people in the hostel, they are fiends until proven otherwise. I wonder what people think of me? The snobby bitch that prowls around the halls perhaps?
So, Fringe! The reason I'm here! Well my day started getting the hell out of the hostel and into the fresh air. Off I went to Scotlands Museum of Modern Art in one of the nice parts of town. Again I got a little giddy as I linked and mapped some more of the city in my head and connected a few dots I'd need for later.
The Museum is split across two large buildings in a park. It is quite beautiful, and although not a huge fan of Modern Art, there was more than I expected to be captured by.
I'd bought a ticket to the True to Life exhibition, portraits of the 30's and 40's. It was ok. Photos were restricted, but I did note down three artists I was struck by so I could look into their work later. I'm not a fan of still life and there was quite a bit of that, but some of the etchings were pretty. Etchings are something that belong to the renaissance when they were much more prominent and in vogue. Go figure, me liking something of the Renaissance.
Inside the second gallery I watched an 11 min film of a bubble floating around the artists house. It was pretty incredible, it would at times touch walls or floor but not pop, and what struck me was that I felt this bubble had a personality and consciousness of its own. It went from room to room as if searching for something. It's journey was incredible and I would be very interested in how other bodies in a closed space affect the air circulation. (In the video you can hear the artists roommates doing things like closing a door or dropping something accidentally.)
The artist also had an installation in one of the rooms, a handwritten shopping list for every day of the year. And not all hers. Something about that room appealed to me immensely. Maybe the order of some people's handwriting, like the ones written on odd cardboard torn from a cereal box or on the back of a used envelope. It reminded me of something so tiny and yet so familiar and very human.
After the galleries it was a sandwich lunch in Princes St gardens on one of the lawn chairs they setup there. It was a lovely 15 minutes in the sun before the rain clouds showed up. Then I was off to the National Records office.
The Famous Scots exhibition at the National Records was very interesting. Again, no photos, which was a shame as there were only a couple dozen artefacts to go with the exhibit information, but they were top notch quality. Four Scots, four incredible stories. (Mary, Queen of Scots, Robbie Burns, Madeline Smith and John Fowler.)
That afternoon I had two Fringe performances to attend. The first was Daniel Nils Roberts 'The Causeway.' (Of the Racing Minds Improv show I had seen twice already.) The second was later that night and was to see Craig Ferguson as he recorded his SiriusFM satellite radio show.
The Causeway was interesting but I had a hard time determining the Norse story from the actors sketches. Well, I mean I could tell a sketch from something not, but weaving in and out and around had me confused as I know nothing about the actual Norse story. And, unfortunately in my opinion... didn't learn anything about it.
However, The peppering of the sketches and what they were about WAS pulled together well at the end of the show. I think I also felt on edge as the actor didn't seem to remember his lines or the order of the show, yet at the end I wondered if that impression was on purpose? I don't know, I'm still a little confused. Other reviews support the idea that this show is actually still a work in progress.
Craig Ferguson was beautifully brilliant. It's hard not to sit back and laugh and embrace all his naughtiness. He is a charming asshole and very entertaining, I saw men in the audience fall head over heels in love with him that night. I will always make an effort to see him now if given the chance.
After visiting the palace I had three shows in store for Sunday evening.
Starting with Cat FM, a weird post-apocalyptic cat sketch show, I entered into one of the George VI bridge vaults and so began a humid, stuffy hour long stretch of off kilter sketch.
There were things I didn't get, I'm not entirely sure it was because I was exhausted... I'm not sure I was supposed to get it. It felt a little like the two performers (who are in a relationship which they advertise on the flyer) were doing the show purely because it's their inside joke and it tickles their fancy. Great, but the audience wasn't privy to whatever it was that got them chuckling. (Most of the time that is, there were still smile worthy moments.)
I enjoyed it, but it was around this point I started to question why the festival has so many one hour shows when some formats would benefit from having much less time.
I did leave with a sick little cat sticker. No other show has given me that!
Off across town to see Craig Hill's show 'Someone's gonna get kilt.' What followed was a joyous hour of Craig riffing on the audience, where they were from, what they did in life, who they came to the show with.
It was laugh out loud entertainment. And even better, to everyone's surprise, after exiting the theatre there he was waiting to shake hands and get photos with anyone who wanted.
Across town again! It was turning into a 2km trek kinda night. Once again for a show by Chris Turner of Racing Minds and Cat FM. 'What a time to be alive' is his stand up improvised rap one man show.
It was late, I was going on 3 hrs sleep, the seats were uncomfortable and my back was sore. The woman next to me had stale beer breath that pervaded my row and my eyelids felt like sandpaper. And yet I laughed through the tiredness and caught whatever it was he was putting down.
Not a great night. In fact, the worst nights sleep in a long time. Basically got 3 hrs sleep after the show, then my new bunk buddy in the top bunk decided to go a little nuts from 4am to 7am, by which point I left the room as the hostel had unlocked the kitchen.
God it's times like this that I wish I had money. They say money doesn't buy happiness, but when you've had some young kid have essentially 3 hours of near constant seizures above you, money buys a hotel room. ( It wasn't actual seizures, I checked. He was fine, just a noisy asshole)
So on that note I got myself organized for the day and decided to stick with my original plans to leave the city and go to Linlithgow Castle.
There is so much to love about Linlithgow. Many Stewart kings have contributed to parts of the castle creating this interesting architectural effect. Fun facts: Margaret Tudor learnt of James IV's defeat and death at Flodden here, and Mary, Queen of Scots, was born here.
Historic Scotland who caretaker the property have enabled the local kids to volunteer here as guides during their school holidays, so when I arrived and learnt one of the tours of the castle was about to set off, I just had to join in.
The kids were quick and to the point. It would be interesting to see how their summer volunteering will impact their future connection to history.
After my tour I went back and explored the castle at my own pace. This means I spent another 3 hours wandering, sitting, meditating and photographing every inch of the castle I could reach.
In the photos above you'll see some of the lovely countryside the castle overlooks, there's a large lower kitchen as well as a upper kitchen (there was a lot of feasts and hosting at this castle as us was a royal residence) a great hall and a chapel. This castle also had three floors that have since worn away and been destroyed by time. It makes for a wonderful experience to stand on the ground floor and slowly build the layers above you with your imagination.
The castle also features some beautifully decorated statue holders. I could only find one in the main courtyard, but many preserved in the chapel.
Another fun fact: a fireplace wasn't built into the Chapel as it was thought the sound of the flames would create the wrong atmosphere for worship, instead the chapel antechamber had a fire. The entrance was separated from the main Chapel by a tapestry so the heat could still penetrate the space.
(Once I return home from my trip I'll be able to update and annotate my photographs of what is which. At the moment I am doing this blog off an app on a cell phone.)
Moving through to the Presence Chambers you see this wonderful symmetry in the floors belonging to the King and Queen. You also see what extra amenities and comforts the king had versus his wife.
For example, the Kings first presence chamber features a great window overlooking the rolling hills, whereas the queens has no outward facing window, but one facing inward over the courtyard. The Kings bedroom has a large fireplace, the queen only a small one, maybe a third of the size of the Kings. He also gets a separate closet space in the floor to keep some of his precious jewels and riches, and the Queen? Nothing.
I also spent some time exploring the castles wine cellar, a very large cool space. And due to water being unsafe to drink during the Middle Ages and Renaissance, this makes sense as wine and ale were predominantly the forms of hydration.
There is also a wickedly preserved oven in the lower kitchen that I was quite excited by. The beautifully domed terracotta interior is in remarkable condition.
It was sometime during this day that I realized that right now at this point of my life ( maybe only these six weeks while I am travelling) I am living the life I want to live.
I get to wake up and I'm not beholden to anybody. I can eat breakfast... actually, I'm not going to brush over that!
I've never been good at eating breakfast and I've always wanted to be. I am someone that wakes up and normally has to get ready and go, doing my best to pack lunch the evening before and if not then it is the morning of when it happens.
That eliminates time I have for breakfast, so often in the last few years I buy a coffee somewhere, and that's it tillmaybe 1pm or 2pm when I finally get a chance for the first meal of my day.
It feels like a luxury here to wake up and read, or go straight to the kicthen and prepare a meal, even more so to sit and eat that meal with no time constraints. My time is mine alone to talk to others, listen to the radio or my own thoughts, or watch a bird in a tree outside the window.
The chance I have to hold onto this feeling all day has been something I am grateful for.
The day started off well with a stroll across the city while I picked up tickets I'd bought last minute and filled in some time. I wandered into one of the bookstores here, something I'd actually been avoiding as I know my weaknesses and I didn't want to overspend and have to figure out what to do with a suitcase full of books a few days into a 6 week trip.
Alas, my willpower was strong that day and I bought only one. For a decent sized bookstore, half their history books were ones I owned, the other half are ones I have on my Amazon wish list.
One thing I love about walking a city is mapping out and making the connections of the different neighbourhoods, shops or attractions. It feels really good to put two and two together and know where you are. I find that confidence helps me to enjoy exploring a city as I have more energy to be curious about the sights, but have freed up space to give myself better awareness for my safety. (I hate having a map out looking like a tourist, it feels like being such a target.)
I wandered through Princes St gardens and bumped into a fellow solo traveller, we took photos of each other in front of the castle and discussed boyfriends inabilities to get the angle just right.
Then further along a local, Neil, flagged me over for a 15 mins chat. He said I had nice teeth. It was actually a really nice chat, but the teeth comment has stuck with me. Perhaps it is a revelant comment here in the U.K.?
I also found the Fringe dancing walking tour! Talk about the benefits of exploring a city when you've got a couple spare hours. I was also fortunate enough to stumble upon the 24/7 airport bus stop and an alley could could seriously have been the inspiration of Diagon Alley.
After the Racing Minds Improv show (again), I had a ticket to Royal Conservatoire of Scotlands performance of original work Atlantic.
I was excited for this one and wasn't disappointed. With minimal set pieces and original music, the show was an epic drama that judging by the multitude of sniffles, touched home with the audience.
Something else that struck me about Atlantic, was its tight storyline and script. This easily belongs on Broadway and is also in Disney's wheelhouse, that I hope it gets some serious funding to take it to the world
After a quick food shop, I tried to have a nap at the hostel, and when that didn't work out to plan I gave up and left for my final show of the day, Hyprov.
Ive already shared on social media Mile McShane's words with me about improv after the show. I feel very fortunate to have had a random meet and greet with him and thought the concept of the show had immense entertainment value. But to the performer there is a great takeaway for watching strangers, with no Improv experience, get hypnotized and improvise. For me it was evident that listening is key and by removing somebody's filter of judgement and that beast of 'trying to get it right', they were able to create some magical scenes.
I walked back to the hostel under a near full moon after midnight , happy and munching on a hot dog.
I booked my ticket in January... eight months in advance. Needless to say I was super pleased with my seat, with the experience and with the chance to witness such a fun and immaculately executed event.
I've updated the photos with A LOT of my happy snaps from the night. And yes, I'm ashamed to say, I did have my phone out for a wee few pictures of fireworks... at least I wasn't recording the fireworks!!!!
My major take away from this awesome event is that when you step away from the glaring news and media, when you witness what a collective creative endeavour can accomplish just for the entertainment of others, then you realize that all is not lost.
I get it's a little ironic (I never know if I use that correctly damn Lanis Morrisette for misguiding me...) to have this kind of revelation at a Military event. And I'm not a numbskull, sure there are other reasons they do this event than purely for entertaining strangers. But I couldn't help but feel happy in the moment that I was alive and breathing and enjoying the culmination of what would have been thousands of manhours of hard work.
I've only been in Scotland a couple days now but I am finding that because I am experiencing so much in so many moments, it feels like I have been here a week or more.
Friday started well. (That sounds a little ominous but actually Friday ended well as well!!) I grabbed a last minute ticket for an Improv show early in the morning, then went to fill in the time at Parliament House before the show started.
Parliament House was absolutely beautiful, and although you can only explore the main hall, it was a nice step back in time and a place that has been modernized so that the space continues to be used today.
After my quick jaunt there I set off for the improv show 'Aaaand now for something completely different'. Holy shit! The guys from Racing Minds who created and starred in this show put on some of the best improv I've ever seen. I'm a sucker for characters, but even more so I adore when the players are so hooked into each other's vibe that you're privy to this intense, hilarious, wacky connection where silliness and slapstick run wild.
I think I enjoy witnessing players eyes bright with laughter, close to tears, just as much as a rollicking good comic adventure.
The show is the perfect blend of audience participation/ recognition, jamming on game and storytelling. The guys are clearly having a ball and wickedly talented and reading through their bio's and lauded reviews and awards just confirms that they're deserving of all recognition that comes their way.
Which makes their show a hard act to follow.
After the show I headed down to the Underbelly to catch 'Austentatious', and improv show that riffs on Jane Austen as a genre. (And features the same musical improviser Dylan Townley.)
It was great, but it was also something that technically I was able to recognize and pick apart. And I'm not entirely sure why. I had just come from a show where I suspended disbelief and was taken on this hilarious epic laugh a minute journey, so I was definitely in the mood to keep doing that.
I'm sure non improvisors are blown away by Austentatious, and that's not to say I didn't love it. But it didn't transport me and that's where packing in shows in a Fringe or Festival setting can be detrimental. You start comparing shows against the other and not even realize you're doing it. At any other time I'm certain his show would stand alone as a memorable hit for me.
Austentatious was a solid genre piece and you could see the players have fun in the show. Did they relish their roles with such careless abandon that I'd just seen Raving Minds do? No. But it was still very sweet. And yet, I feel like I walked out without much of an impression of what happened in the show.
The day before I had walked through George Square and noticed a poutine food hut, so after the show while the rain continued to pour down I knew what had to be the next thing on the agenda.
Then it was back to the hostel for me as I had pulled my back and needed a couple hours rest before the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. And that is a separate post all of its own....
It was a relatively early start for me and a long walk down to Leith. My first show wasn't until after lunch, so having read a blog about things to do and exhibitions in Leith, I figured I would explore.
I wasn't disappointed and was rewarded for checking something out "off the beaten track". What I came across was an old military building that has been converted, called Out of the Blue Drill Hall. Blink and you'll miss it.
Inside there was an exhibition 'Edinburgh People: A photographic journey through the lens of an Edinburgh taxi driver'. The hall is quaint, spacious, warm and welcoming and as I looked across the various photos on display I felt really excited to have stumbled across the space. This particular exhibition was only showing for 4 days, so it was with gratitude that I stood there, the heavy clouds burst outside and rain falling heavy on the glass ceiling.
Afterwards I enjoyed a morning roll (best I've had yet on my trips to Scotland) a cup of tea and wrote in my journal while I could hear a young woman do vocal warm up drills in one of the spaces for hire within the centre.
When I was full and could hear the rain had eased off a bit, I head back out onto the street and towards the crowds. My first show and introduction to Fringe was in the heart of the Royal Mile, "Albrecht Dürer: Renaissance Dude".
Holy shit! I wouldn't consider myself an art buff, I enjoy galleries and am someone who can't put into words why I like something or don't, but I do recognize when something attracts me. This show, which wasn't a typical 'show' but more like a comedy stand up lecture, was so fun and heartwarming. I now have a new 'dude' to look out for when I browse art. Among many other things, I think that the fact that he was the first person to draw and name an African woman in a portrait (a very humanist thing to do for that time period) and be the first to create a 'dick pic' was pretty awesome. This is the kind of lecture you wish you had taken notes on, or recorded to listen too again.
And maybe I'm biased, since I participated in the show as one of the audience volunteers, but I think historian Kitty Walsh excelled in sharing her love of Dürer... her enthusiasm in delivery was infectious. I wish her many sold out shows! (Check out my Cookie Monster carved picture below!)
After Dürer, I had time to spare, but not enough for a stop at the hostel and nap. I was starting to feel a bit lethargic and so picked the first place I could think of that was indoors and may have a spot free to sit, the Library!
They just happened to have a free exhibition that I happily spent an hour exploring. ( A collection of photographic and video records from the ill-fated voyage of the Endurance to Antarctica.)
This was a top notch exhibition and has inspirerd me to purchase and read Sir Ernest Shackleton's book and account of the challenging events they witnessed and survived. Today was turning into the day for unexpected and delightful finds!
Then I was off to the 90's for musical "2 become 1". Songs from girl groups in the 90's like Spice Girls, All Saints, B*Witched and hits from the greats like Celine and Shania feature in this show.
It was fun, energetic and original. Although some of the character traits and interactions got a teeny bit repetitive, the way the songs tied together and my own memories they evoked made for a great reminiscence and 50mins. The girls definitely had a knack for their ask the audience moments and spaced them out well throughout the show.
By now I was exhausted. Jet lag had set in and it was everything I could do to keep my eyes open. I opted to walk 2k back to the hostel for the 20 min nap it would give me before heading out again for today's third and final performance.
What do I say about the 'Last clown on earth'? Here's what I thought:
I walked out. Life's too short for s*** you don't like.
Interesting that this show has elected to not accept audience reviews. Interesting that when I looked back at the advertisement (just to see what I paid) the two reviews are typical critical nonsense that doesn't explain what the show is really about, only how it enthralls and lauds it's daring.
I get it, not everything will be to my tastes, and I respect the creative process and everybody's right to it. But, and of course I have a but, this show was one of those self serving shows where the performer is doing whatever the hell he likes in front of and to the audience. (And I mean inappropriate shit (props) flung into and onto audience members, not to mention the physical touching, rearranging and hampering of audience members bodies.) The 'music', aka soundscape, was relentless. The lights, sporadic and at times potentially fit inducing.
But maybe I'm just jaded since the performer started the show late and stopped the audiences entrance to the theatre by meandering nonsensically down the line, in character. Or maybe it's too intellectual and went over my head. Who knows? But I'm a little sore I paid money for it and annoyed I didn't make my escape sooner than I did. (I lasted close to 40 mins from 80mins.) All I will take away from it is the looks of longing from the people I climbed over to escape as I left.
***This picture of the show has more engaging content than the whole time I spent in the theatre. You keep doing you, screaming angst man.***
And then it was dinner time! I ate the free Wednesday night dinner at the hostel, payment was to stay, chat and listen to a sermon. Organized religion ain't my thing but hey, having a laugh with good people is.
With belly full, body close to collapsing and excitement for tomorrow I head to bed.
I touched down in Scotland at 8am on Tuesday 2nd after two flight connections and working with 3 hours sleep since Monday. I got a second wind as I left Glasgow airport and was inspired to check out a couple favourite stops in Glasgow before I took the train to Edinburgh. After all, I couldn't check in to my hostel till 3pm...
That inspiration lasted less than the 25 min bus ride into the city centre. Instead I went with my first plan which was to train to Edinburgh, dump my bag at the hostel baggage room and find myself somewhere dry where I could collapse in a heap till check in.
The weather was a little wet for the last part of the plan, so once in Edinburgh I set to keeping myself moving as I counted down the hours. First it was a lark down the Royal Mile to convince myself I was back in Scotland and it wasn't a dream. Then I popped on down to the National Gallery of Scotland, a place I regrettably didn't have time for during my last trip. It not only had toilets, but wifi! Two of my favourite things while travelling... oh, and some INCREDIBLE artwork. Even a Holbein! (Man was I happy to find that!) I've added some images to the Photo page from some of the paintings that caught my eye.
After the gallery I went to the Edinburgh Fringe office to pick up my tickets and then back to the hostel to check in.
The afternoon consisted of a blissful one hour nap, then my dorm buddies started arriving. I headed out into the light showers again to track a quicker route to the Royal Mile, did some food shopping and made dinner. Then it was off to bed because my Fringe experience starts Thursday!
I'm at less than 12 hours till I leave the house and head to the airport for my flight to Scotland. So like any smart person who is juggling all the last minute planning and prep required prior to a 6 week trip, I've decided to update my website to be a travel blog.
Not hard at all right?
So here it is, I've upload a small selection of photo's from the last couple trips and setup links to my social media. More pictures can be found on my Instagram. I'd love to share some of the shots currently on my Google Drive from my last trips to Scotland, England and France but there simply isn't time! But be prepared for the inundation of shots and stories from this imminent trip. There will be many.
For the next two weeks I will be among the throngs visiting Edinburgh for the 70th year of Edinburgh Fringe Festival! Holy cow! I've got 37 shows and events booked, so it's going to be quite the experience.
After that I will be journeying north to explore Stirling (again), Perth and Kinross, Fife, Angus, Aberdeenshire, Moray and the Highlands. Fingers crossed I'll even make it to Skye.
My travels in Scotland are primarily to explore, celebrate and learn more about this incredible country as they celebrate their Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. There are a magnitude of events and resources at our fingertips this year that I am hoping to enjoy, participate in and observe.
My Historic Scotland and National Trust of Scotland memberships give me access to over 400 sites between them including Castles, Palaces, Gardens, Ruins and other heritage attractions.
And then in September I have a week in the Netherlands to do some Improv in Amsterdam and explore the countryside.
So stick around and join me as I make share some notes from my travels!