Trip Start Dec 16, 2001
15Trip End Ongoing
So back to Scotland again, this year with a bit more time on my side and a plan.
Step 1: purchase tickets to the Military Tattoo-some time the year before! This time buy tickets to different nights in case the view is obscured by torrential downpour again.
Step 2: book accomodation in town months in advance, can't be arsed walking miles in and out every day-too many hills
Step 3: study the fringe festival guide upon arrival and go mad with the bookings ASAP
That about covered it
Originally I had been planning on just hanging around in Edinburgh for the whole 9 days. An unusually sunny spell convinced me to don a kilt and embark on a 3 day tour of the SEXY HIGHLANDS!
Who knows the second verse of the Aussie national anthem?? What about the rest of the pretenders song: And I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more..... Should I really be singing at all!? Is my singing much different to an out of tune set of bagpipes? These questions present themselves as we sit on the bus for 8hrs+ each day and go through the motions of being a tour group. But then then the wheels on the bus stopped and we were presented with the views down rugged mountain valleys and ancient castles (some not so ancient as it turns out!) Evenings drinking and making merry, and for once my whiskey drinking was the norm. Stocky, our mad scotsman driver and guide was good on his history and stories, but really did like to embellish parts at times. I'll let you all take your own stab in the dark at who he was in the pics. He had a bit of a thing about the 'dirty rotten stinkin thievin Campbells'...ptth! and their massacre of the MacDonalds in Glen Coe. I could insert a MacDonalds comment here...golden arches, etc etc...but it had more than enough coverage already!
We did spend a relaxing evening out hunting for Nessie on the Loch with a fairly impressive sonar system. She was good enough to poke her head out of the water for us.....um...ok, so maybe it was a bit of tape stuck to the boat window....but she is there somewhere! Apparently there are exactly 18 Nessie creatures! (if the boat operator/research scientist is to be believed) He can even tell you their average cruising speed and body weight of each! A little technical babble to back it up, a conspiracy theory in which other scientists are after his life's research and hey presto the legend becomes fact(?)!
For me, the most amazing thing about the highlands is how beautiful the place is and yet hardly anyone lives there. Ok, so it apparently rains a lot and and gets a bit wild and windy at times. But once there used to be large villages througout the whole region, now there is hardly any sign they ever existed. Instead there are towns all over the world with names from Scotland that originated because highland clans were packed onto boats and told to make their home elsewhere. Still, if Stocky is to be believed, the world is a better place because of it! Still not so sure about his exploding whale story!! (amongst others!).
Back to the fringe festival and so many stand up comics it is hard to know where to start
So a quick review of a few that I made it too
Umbilical Brothers-Aussies, old familiar!
Puppetry of the Penis-OW!!
Bill Bailey: This was over way too soon!! it did go for about an hr and a half with an encore I guess. Was ushered into a row down the front a few mins late though and had the piss taken- should have run faster!
Paul McDermott: Doing a few new tunes-do I cringe at that joke and why do my stomach muscles hurt so much?
Kevin Tomlinson: not reg. stand-up, we had to make up a sentence at start of show (eg: did I remember to turn off the gas?) and then he used them randomly to make up an act
Paul Provenza: american with chip(s) on his shoulder, could prob have left early in that one if not sitting near front
John Oliver: was good to see but bit slow through some bits
Tip for the day: don't go to the 1am sessions (showcase 4 up and coming comics) unless you are very drunk and believe yourself to be a better stand up than the guy on the stage
The miltary tattoo was great. Enough said. It's replayed on TV each year, you can buy the video, etc, etc. But it is much better being there!!
Discovered my Salsa dancing is not up to scratch (and no, this is supposed to be on the scotland travelogue, not Spain)- 4 hours later I am finally convinced of the fact.
Always the bagpipes sound out across the landscape, calling you back or driving you screaming from the country. I'm going back.......