Monday, August 15th–Edinburgh, Lothian

Finding Chris's cane behind my suitcases; hiking over to the Festival Fringe box office; Festivals & Fringes; Aca Demic; a different hop on, hop off tour route and out to the sea side; Festival Wheel; Voadafone UK; George Street & Rose Street; dinner at Wildfire

Citryroomz Edinburgh



This morning I was very relieved to find out that I hadn't left Chris's cane behind somewhere last night as I'd thought. Somehow it was the only one of the three I have here to fall over instead of being propped up in the corner of my room and was lying flat behind my two suitcases. I have to admit I was rather emotionally relieved to find it again, because of its sentimental value as a reminder of Chris and Mom. I have no idea why I didn't see it hiding last night but there it was this morning.

The weather was very nice today. When the sun was out, which was most of the time including when I went wandering around before dinner, and the wind wasn't blowing, it was warm enough to not need my sweatshirt although I certainly didn't think it was warm enough for shorts. As usual I needed it on the top deck of the tour bus this afternoon, though.

The first thing in the morning after a late, lazy start–my only time constraint of the day was a performance at 1:45 PM–I walked on over to the ticket booth for the Festival Fringe to pick up the tickets I bought for Fringe shows I want to see this week.

I think I've finally assimilated where the hotel is, what side of the street it's on, and where it is in relation to the Castle, Princes Street, the Royal Mile, etc. It's on the Castle side of the street, the Castle is to the right when I leave, Princes Street is right on the next corner towards the Castle, and the Royal Mile begins at the Castle and mostly runs parallel to Princes Street on the other side of the Princes Street Gardens.

The route Google Maps selected to where I could pick up my tickets along the Royal Mile took me down alongside the Castle to Grassmarket and then along back up to the Royal Mile instead of going up the stairs directly to the Castle, which I remember as being rather steep if not too long.

The Festival and the even larger Festival Fringe are huge. There are twelve venues for the Festival itself , but there seems to be over 300 venues for the Fringe, ranging from established performance sites to pop up spaces created for the Fringe and official street performance spaces allocated to specific buskers and performers of certain types who were officially selected for those spaces, as well as street performers and buskers all over the place. There are also temporary bars and restaurants in many locations as well. George Street, which runs parallel to Princes Street, has been closed to most vehicular traffic except cabs and buses for several blocks and there are dozens of pop up restaurants and performance spaces along the entire length.

The concert I'd chosen for today was Aca Demic, by Cadenza, the men's and women's a cappella vocal groups from Cambridge, and they were very good. I was a little late getting there, because I should have looked at the address for the venue where it was being held on the ticket instead of looking up the address I thought I'd remembered on Google Maps. I had entered Hill Street instead of Hill Place, and they are nowhere near each other. By the time I found that the address I had looked up on Google Maps was wrong and had walked all the way over to the correct location I had walked as far on the other side of the Royal Mile and Princes Street in the wrong direction as I had to go the correct direction. I of course wound up not leaving myself much time for lunch, and had a hotdog from a street vendor. I got to the venue a little late but they hadn't started yet, and the only available seat was at the end of a row looking at the rear wall instead of anywhere actually looking at the performers who were off to my left instead.

Both groups were excellent and did a wide variety of material, ranging from the Andrews Sisters, doo wop, and the Euythmics for the women to barbershop and Simon and Garfunkel by the men.

The performance was in a building which is part of the Royal College of Surgeons, right around the corner from the Surgeons Hall and its museum which is supposed to be excellent if you're interested in that kind of thing.

I remembered how to get back to the Waverley Bridge and Princes Street from the performance, and used the 48 hour tour bus ticket I'd bought yesterday to take another bus on a different route. The one I chose went out past the Royal Botanic Gardens, which I'd walked to last time, and all the way out to the seaside at Leith, which originally had been its own separate municipality in much the same way that Sylvan was its own town before it became part of Portland or Ballard was its own town before being absorbed into Seattle. Leith is also where the Royal Yacht Britannia is stationed, to which I have a ticket as part of the Royal Edinburgh pass I bought yesterday but I didn't get off there. I'll try and go Wednesday when the Fringe event I bought a ticket for is at 2:30 PM, or Thursday when I have tickets to the Queen's Gallery at 9:30 AM and a performance at 8:30 PM, or Friday when I have a Fringe performance at 11 AM, or Saturday when I have a Fringe performance at 6:15 PM and the Tattoo at 10:30 PM, or on Sunday when I have no plans at all.

Along Princes Street not far from the Scott Monument is the big Festival Wheel which, although smaller than the London Eye which I went on last year, is still a lot of fun. I had the small carriage to myself, and learned that you can actually rotate the carriages on their axis by turning this wheel attached to a shaft in the middle. You do have to just grab it and hang on if you want to control the rotation.

I stopped at the Vodafone shop on the way back to the hotel. I still need to get the code to unlock the Vodafone smart phone I bought in Ireland, which I'd called about over a week ago, so I had to call Vodafone IE again and find out why there's been such a delay since they've been charging me 2 Euros a day since I've been in the UK. The guy I talked with was fairly helpful and said he'd expedite contacting my phone's manufacturer to get the unlock code, and also credited five days of use back to my account.

I hung out here for a couple of hours until I went out for a walk and to look for somewhere in the area to have dinner. Rose Street is a pedestrianized small street which runs parallel to and between Princes Street and George Street and begins a couple of blocks from here, and is lined with restaurants, cafes, and pubs. George Street tends to have larger places. I walked down George Street for several blocks, the length of Rose Street, and then walked around the corner to and back down Rose Street almost to the corner nearest the hotel. I stopped at Wildfire, a not too expensive but very nice small restaurant which had almost as much seating outside as inside for their seafood platter which had about seven or eight kinds of seafood prepared in different ways and was excellent.

It's now about 11:30, and I'm about to close up for tonight after backing up these files. I need to leave here tomorrow morning not much later than 8:15 AM to walk on over to the departure point for my trip to Loch Lomond and Stirling Castle.

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