The Homecoming 2009 and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival
This is the year to travel to Scotland! This year Scotland is hosting its first Homecoming. The Homecoming is taking place to honor the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns’ birth. Don’t know you Robert Burns is? That’s okay because before my trip to Edinburgh I was not aware of who he was either. Robert Burns is claimed to be the national poet of Scotland. Still don’t know what he is famous for? He is most well known for writing ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ the song that is sung to celebrate the end of the year on New Years Eve. During the Homecoming there are over 200 events taking place to celebrate: Robert Burns, whisky, golf, great Scottish innovations/minds, as well as Scottish ancestry.
Edinburgh is also known as a festival hub. Throughout the year Edinburgh is home to 12 fantastic festivals. This coming month from August 7- August 31 the Edinburgh Fringe Festival will be taking place. The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is the largest arts festival in the world! It will have 2,000 different shows ranging from dance, theater, children’s exhibits, musicals, comedy, and various other genres. These performances will range from professional acts all the way down to street performances.
My trip to Edinburgh
This past weekend my friends and I traveled to Scotland. On our weekend we had a blast searching for Nessie, watching the events of the Gathering, and exploring the city of Edinburgh.
Day trip to the Highlands, Loch Ness, and Glencoe
During my first day in Scotland I took a day trip to see the country side and Lochs of Scotland. During our tour we stopped int he Highlands, which were absolutely beautiful. The rolling hills were the most brilliant green. After driving through the Highlands we finally made it to Loch Ness, famous for the story of Nessie, the monster who lives there. This was my favorite part of the tour because we got to take the optional cruise on the Loch. It was fun to hear the legend of Nessie especially, the story of the horseshoe where she tried to escape from the Loch. Regardless if you believe in the Loch Ness monster or not you are sure to have a fun time visiting Loch Ness! After the tour on Loch Ness we continued on to Glencoe. The scenery in Glencoe is far more dramatic that that of the Highlands, and I found it even more beautiful. Overall, the tour was fantastic, I am so happy that I spent a day in the country side of Scotland.
Sightseeing in Edinburgh
While in Scotland we stumbled upon the Gathering of the clans. Upon booking our trip to Edinburgh we were unaware of the Homecoming and that an event would be taking place the weekend we were there. So, we got lucky! While in Edinburgh we got to see all the clans parade down the Royal Mile dressed in kilts and playing bag pipes. It couldn’t have gotten any more Scottish than that! The Gathering also included the largest Highland game to ever be held in Scotland.
Touring the city of Edinburgh was just as exciting. There are tons of things to see and do while there. Edinburgh is quite hilly as it is built on a now extinct volcano. Part of the city is even built into the side of the volcano. It is quite strange because from the front of the building it might only look like a couple of stories high but, then on the back several more stories are built down the volcano. One way to avoid the hills in Edinburgh is to use the Hop-On-Hop-Off method of transportation. You are sure to see all the key sights like the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle, the National Gallery, Saint Giles, Greyfriars graveyard, and other sights. If you are a Harry Potter fan then Edinburgh will be all the more fun because here you can see the birthplace of Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling drew many of her inspirations for Hogwarts from a school in Edinburgh. Also, Rowling found inspirations for many of the character’s names from graveyard tombstones found in Edinburgh. The most fun part was wondering around Greyfriars graveyard in search for some of the names used in Harry Potter. The most famous name I found was that of Thomas Riddell, where Rowling got the idea for Voldemort’s real name!
The city of Edinburgh has so many sights to see. I was there for two days and still missed out on some of Edinburgh’s sights.