Trip Start May 22, 2009
Trip End Feb 16, 2010

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Flag of United Kingdom  , Scotland,
Saturday, August 8, 2009

Last year when Brain first thought of coming to Scotland to do a little work experience at the forge we looked into the cost of accommodations and nearly fainted.  The time of year that we were looking happened to coincide with the Fringe Festival which is a huge 3 week gathering of Arts and Entertainment which engulfs the entire city.  Consequently, accommodations are quite sparse and those you can find are very dear.  As a result, Brian didn't get to Ratho last year.  I never thought that we would still be in the area at this time and be able to experience a little bit of the festival. 

And I thought things were busy last week.....

Wall to wall people, almost impossible to squeeze past.  Dozens of street performances lining the Royal Mile with no room between, and what room there is is crowds straining to view the shows.  Thousands of people rushing from one venue to the next seeing how many shows they can cram into each day.  It's literally a juggling act of 'when will the show end' and 'how long will it take us to get to the next venue' to see what tickets you should purchase.  And those are only the shows you buy tickets to.  There are tons of free shows and street performers to keep you well occupied.

Our first night back we went into town to seen an evening show.  The city has been transformed since we left.  Every park space and square is lined with stalls and tents and newly erected theaters.  Empty buildings are used for venues and clubs.  Everything that stands still is plastered with posters of shows that are being performed.  After only a minute of walking down the street you're the proud new owner of at least a dozen flyers for other shows that are being performed. 

Our show was in the UDDERBELLY.  An upturned purple blow-up cow with the theater inside 'under the belly'.  All around the outside is an enclosed indoor-outdoor carpeted beer-garden filled with sights, sounds, and smells.  Each turn finds you face-to-face with strange new people dressed in costumes ready for a night on the town!  Quite the happening place, the city must triple in size during these few weeks.  300 page magazines publish all the show that are going to be playing in the next few weeks.  Everything from dance, to comedy, to musicals and beyond.  How you ever decide what to go to I'm not sure!  I've browsed the magazine and am completely overwhelmed with choices. 

Also got to experience the Fringe from a child's perspective.  Went with the family to see some children's shows which were a lot of fun.  Went to the Greatest Bubble Show on Earth and saw all kinds of bubbles including square ones!  Josh was a great volunteer and got right inside a bubble!

Spent a day just roaming the streets viewing various street performances which is a very quick way to fill a day!  You want to stop and see every one.  From Houdini imitators, to beds of nails, magicians, juggles, musicians, artists, acrobats - you can see everything!  Balloon artists even made great impressions of Homer Simpson:)  Got to see my Clanadonia group again.  Rebels that they are, they're not actually part of 'Fringe'.  To be able to perform on the street and collect donations you're supposed to be approved.  But they haven't paid their dues and have apparently been arrested a few times for being there!  Ah, they put on a good show, and the crowd just gave them extra money to pay for their fines and bail!

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