Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Edinburgh not by Bicycle - Just on the Fringe !

I'm sure it's great to go round Edinburgh by bicycle - zooming down Princes Street, dodging round the street performers on the Royal Mile, down through Holyrood, and then exercising your quads on the climb towards Arthurs's seat. There were 2 bike shops near where we were staying - The Edinburgh Bicycle Works, and Velo Ecosse. Even our hotel in Marchmont had bikes available for hire. But we chose to not to do any cycling on our long weekend. Instead we did the Fringe.

It turned out to be a great few days - and I didn't miss the bike at all !
The Festival is a real hotch-potch of comedians, musicals, theatre, musicians.....and they were just the performers in the street - never mind the 2,000 odd shows taking place at almost 300 venues around the city ! For our part, Stanley and I spent our time rushing between Pleasance Courtyard, The Gilded Balloon and the Udderbelly.

Memorable acts were Gamarjobat (a Japanese Comedy duo), Mickey D (Australian Comedian) and Sista She (an Australian Salt'n'Pepa with comedy thrown in).

A rare sight for me was Edinburgh in the very early morning - clubbers dotted around the city at 5am on a Sunday morning, sauntering home, bleary eyed after their partay while wolfing down a quick kebab.
We hadn't been clubbing - we'd chosen the all-night Comedy show at the Gilded Balloon. That was pretty much a party atmosphere with hip-hoppers as the MC's, pumping music, and the all essential adult jokes.

The roughed up shouting revellers were in real competition with the coo-ing of thousands of sea gulls to see who could make the loudest noise. I think the pidgeons won the battle - their noise was well amplified as they sang in chorus and weren't caught up peeing, vomitting or falling around shop doorways !

Walking home I had a real appreciation of how near Edinburgh is to the sea. The place was heaving with sea gulls swooping down on the Meadows all ready to scavenge the left-overs from the revellers - and there was alot to be had too.
Maybe it was because I was tired, but I found the sight of scores of seagulls flying in my direction a little frightening. I quickened my step so as not to get violently pecked like in Hitchcock's "The Birds".

Our late night/morning meant we we were late getting up for the Fringe Sunday activities in the Meadows. We did make it in time for the 12hr poetry marathon though. That proved to be a real hit - the tent was heaving with fans. Poetry is not like I learned it at school. None of this Wordsworth or Keats stuff - with the likes of Murray Lachlan Young representing, it's much more sex, drugs and rock'n'roll these days !

Of course we couldn't go the whole weekend without doing any physical activity, so we walked over Salisbury Crags to the summit - Arthur's Seat.
I think Stanley must have been missing his bike though 'cos on the descent he slid down the wet grassy mountain on his bum on purpose - his rear end must have been sore. Not quite the same as downhilling on a mountain bike eh !

By the end of our trip I was pretty tired. All this running around Edinburgh and staying out for late night comedies takes it out of you.

Anyway, back in London now - we're planning our next trip away - the Pyrenees. Hopefully it'll be less strenuous than chasing after Fringe performers !
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