Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Fringe

This is the Fringe time here in Edinburgh, the time when the locals leave the city and the visitors descend en masse. The Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival in the world, with entertainers, actors, and more descend upon the town to share their productions for 3 weeks (no wonder everyone who can - leaves). The streets are crowded, various singers, musicians, and acting troupes entertain the masses as you walk along and many venues are available for other theatrical and musical performances. We went to see a few different productions, including or very own Portland based  No Belles! They did a fabulous job – have to check them out next summer! Also went to see a hilarious Rakugo performer - it's basically a Japanese joke-teller. Katsuo Sunshine is actually from Canada and is hilarious. So miss Japan!

Arthur's seat is in the background on the left. The ridge on the right is the
first one we walked up...along with a few hundred other people!
Arthur’s Seat is a part of an extinct volcano, and the highest point in the area to have some spectacular views of Edinburgh and the surrounding area. It is an extremely popular hiking route, with many different approaches…Basically, it is up, and we, of course, chose the longest "up" route possible. Wound around the mountain, figuring that we would finally arrive at a path to the top but no...we arrived at a top to discover that the REAL top was the next hill over...Finally did make it and found some gorgeous views. Great way to spend an anniversary.

There are many who try to claim it is derived from the Arthur legends, although there are many such places located in and around the English countryside. If true, he was quite busy roaming around the countryside, looking for tall hills to climb. Apparently Edinburgh’s Arthur’s Seat is popular enough to have made it into a number of books including Frankenstein and one of Jule’s Verne’s books (had to get a literary reference in here…)

Mary King's Close

A close happens to be a neighborhood, narrow streets with many tenement houses built up on either side, and this particular one was from about the 17th Century. People lived in them, threw their "night wastes" out the windows, built more rooms on top when they needed more homes, and survived, or died, of the plague. There were apparently some "prosperous" people and businesses in the area...and some not so much. The Royal Exchange decided to build on the old buildings and, being cheaper to keep them as the foundation, simply wiped out the upper portion, keeping the lower buildings in tact. Of course, some enterprising soul sought to open them up for tours...for they are said to be haunted...
Unfortunately, we couldn't take any pictures's a link if you want to read more about it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment