Bagpipes, Musicals, and Haggis

In August, we went up to Scotland for eight nights during the world famous Fringe Festival in Edinburgh! During that time, I heard  hundreds of songs played on the bagpipes (morning til night by the guy outside our hotel!), had my first taste of haggis potato chips, was amazed beyond belief by the fabulous entertainers at the Fringe Festival, and fell in love with Scotland!

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Ever since I first saw the Disney movie “Brave”, I fell in love with the Scottish culture and couldn’t wait to get my chance to go there in person (yes, I am a proud Disney addict). The Celtic music and art just seem as if they are part of me, which would since make sense since I am part Irish and Scottish!

Fringe Festival

One of the main reasons we went to Scotland was for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival – an incredible month-long entertainment festival in August! There were tons and tons of people out in the streets just enjoying the vibrant atmosphere and the excitement in the air. All along the Royal Mile, the main walking street in the Old Town, there were performers set up singing, dancing, and doing magic shows – not to mention all the different people dressed up in costume handing out flyers for their performances.

The Royal Mile

Trevor with the cast of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown”

In total we saw 6 shows during the Festival!  They were all just little productions in theaters throughout Edinburgh, but they were really good and entertaining! We also spent hours watching the literally hundreds of street performers in a variety of styles – from completely flamboyant street dancers and interactive space pirate to crazy clowns and elegant ballerinas  – every musical and theatrical style was represented!

Some of the performers were even my age and looked like they were just a group of friends who decided to come up to Edinburgh and take part in the festival.  Nothing formal or fancy. One night my mom and I went to see 105 Note Out, a choir that sang classic Broadway and West End songs – they were amazing! That night they were performing at the Cuthbert Church which was behind the castle in the middle of a graveyard surrounded by dark, tall trees. It was a really spooky place and we quickly walked through the cemetery until we arrived at the main entrance where everyone was standing – the graves were a bit creepy because many of the headstones were broken in half or pulled out of the ground!

The cemetery

Another reason why we went to Edinburgh was because of it’s incredible and crazy history!  So much has happened there and I couldn’t wait to explore and discover it’s secrets that it holds deep in it’s castles and palaces.  Our main three destinations were: The Edinburgh Castle, the Holyrood Palace, and the amazing Rosslyn Chapel!

Thankfully we managed to accomplish all three and still had time to spare!

Edinburgh Castle!!

The damp weather and windy air just set a perfect ambiance as we wandered through the beautiful park full of flowers and trees and then the quaint, yet lively streets full of shops, cafes, and street performers on our way to the mystical Edinburgh castle upon a hill overlooking the town. Yep, just another day in old Edinburgh! Right outside the entrance of the fortress is a huge stadium that can seat thousands of people and was for the Military Tattoo show going on in August.

Inside the dungeon

The Castle itself is a complicated maze of different buildings and alleyways, with big squares and hidden corners – which we had a great time exploring! The view from up there was spectacular! On one side I could see the rolling, green Scottish hills that went out into the countryside, and on the other I could see the Firth of Forth with it’s beautiful coast and water!

While I was in the Edinburgh Castle, I had the chance to try something I have wanted to try ever since I first knew of it’s existence – Haggis Crisps. Yep, that’s right! Although they might not sound that appetizing at first, they are quite good and after awhile, they really grow on you!

 

 

Rosslyn Chapel!

If you have ever read a Dan Brown book or seen The Da Vinci Code, you have for sure heard of Rosslyn Chapel.  In the movie it is the supposed resting place of Mary Magdalane, others say the Holy Grail is hidden in it’s unopened vaults. Although these theories might be a bit far fetched, the chapel contains a mysterious and curious feel to it for sure!

Just a bus ride away from the center of Edinburgh, Rosslyn Chapel was the one place I couldn’t wait to get to! Being a lover of archaeology and a big fan of Dan Brown, Rosslyn Chapel was a must on my Scottish Bucket List!!

ROSSLYN CHAPEL 8

When we arrived, it was just as stunning as the movies and books portray it! Although it is pretty small, the interior decorations and carvings are one of a kind. Every little nook and cranny is decorated with marble flowers or designs, statues, reliefs, and maybe even secret codes – yes, they think that secret codes could be hidden among the intricate patterns on the walls, ceiling, and columns!  How cool is that?!

ROSSLYN CHAPEL 7

We happened to arrive just in time for a lecture that was being given by a classic Scottish man who worked there. He reminded me of a mix of Indiana Jones and Robert Langdon when he talked about history and art – someone I would love to have as a college professor!

Underneath the chapel is a crypt which we were able to go into – but behind those walls are many different BIG vaults that have never been opened! Not kidding! On the wall they showed a map of the crypt and the rooms that surround it – they managed to get this information by using a modern technique to detect rooms and objects.

After having gone to the chapel, we hiked through the Scottish countryside to the Rosslyn Castle, another film set for the Da Vinci Code. Most of the castle is now gone, but the coolest part about it remains. The bridge that you need to cross is a very VERY high bridge that has been standing for a long time – oh and almost no sides whatsoever.

The path to Rosslyn Castle

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Last but not least is –

Holyrood Palace

I had an amazing experience there as well and I could write so much about it that my post would become a 400 page novel! So, I’m going to stop here and there will be a Holyrood Palace post coming very soon!!!

Have you visited Edinburgh in your travels? Please share your experiences!!

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