Saturday, July 23, 2011

Edinburgh,City of Festivals

For those of you who are not aware, Edinburgh the capital city of Scotland is host to not one but many festivals in August and September each year! It becomes the undisputed centre of the performing arts in the world for a month and is an astonishing choice for an entirely different holiday.

By Janthy Nihardjo, executive summary by darmansjah

Even without the festival, I love Edinburgh. The Old Town around the Royal Mile reeking with history and pageantry the cobblestones leading you up to the castle from where the whole vista of very historical and very low rise Edinburgh spreads out down to the silver waters of the Firth of Forth in the distance. The New Town, a relative term since it was laid out by James Craig in 1765, extends north from Princes Street with its fashionable shops, and encompasses the grand boulevards of commerce, and the back lanes of pubs and marvelous restaurants. It’s charming, vibrant, delightful city, small in size, big in heart, to be walked, explored and enjoyed. But when the festival starts, it becomes something else; a dynamic, non-stop city of performers, peddlers and pedestrians, who are there to entertain, educate, and enjoy every minute.

The festival encompasses not just Edinburgh International Festival which is the formal showcase of classical music, opera, dance and the visual arts, but also the jazz and blues festival, the book festival, the art festival, the fantastic Edinburgh Military Tattoo, and the biggest arts festival in the world The Fringe!

The Fringe is an absolute phenomenon, encompassing every known art form, including some not yet invented when the programs are printed! There are hundreds of stand up comics, mime artists, dance groups, singers, solo performers, reviews, and people doing absolutely nothing! There have been performers of 2001 A Space Odyssey inside the back of a car, an entire ‘MacBeth’ in the luggage room at the Caledonian Hotel, and when even that space runs’s on the streets.

An average day down the Royal Mile may have a hundred performers out there: dancing, drumming, just standing still. They promote their plays (those who have venues) or just use the street as their venue, collecting a few coins in a hat.

They say there’s over ten performances available in the main program every 15 minutes for a month. That’s over 20,000 performances in a month, possibly more than you can take in! but when you get tired, don’t worry, the pubs and restaurants are open 24/7 and the public transport never stops. It is a city dedicated to the festival, but equally as easily you can escape the crowds. You can climb Arthur’s Seat, a mountain right in the centre of town in a huge countryside park, or stroll in the beautiful Botanical Gardens.

Even half of the Princess Street, the non-shopping half, is a park, but there tends to be concerts and strolling musicians ever there! It’s an absolute heaven for arts lovers.

And to get you to Edinburgh-do as I did-take a KLM plane door to door. Leaving Jakarta daily, you transit in Amsterdam and only an hour later are in Edinburgh. Nothing could be easier, more comfortable or more convenient. So take my advice: plan an unbelievable holidays this year in Edinburgh. There’s ton of information-and online booking-on the internet-and book you flight now, before it’s too late! Now!

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