While we were working, we had often meant to get around to going to Edinburgh for the Fringe Festival, but never had managed it. So while we were in South America we decided that as we would be back in the UK at the right time, we would take the opportunity to go this year.
We booked up a rental flat, joined the Fringe Friends, and then spent days looking at the hundreds of shows available and trying to decide which ones to buy tickets for. We figured that, although Edinburgh is also hosting the rather more highbrow International Festival and the Book Festival at the same time, we would go solely for the fringe, which is largely comedy with some drama and musical acts.
Having picked out our preferred shows, I then spent more hours with a map working out where they all were so that I could group the shows in sensible ways to avoid traipsing all over town everyday. When I was finally done, we bought the tickets for thirty-four shows over the thirteen days we would be here.
We had decided to get the Caledonian Sleeper train from London to Edinburgh on the Friday night straight after our Olympics session, so having done a quick dash back to Kentish Town to pick up our bags, we were off to Euston to catch the train.
The train wasn't bad. The two bed compartment was pretty small, with not much room for the suitcases, but had a little wash basin and aside from being a bit warm, it was generally OK. Although we didn't need to make use of it, the food and drink was reasonably priced for a trapped market. And we did get a cup of tea and some shortbread biscuits when we were woken up, albeit that it was at 6:45am!
We arrived at Edinburgh Waverley at 7:15 and were piped in with bagpipes. Personally, not being a fan of the sound of bagpipes, I think that was just their way of making sure everyone was awake and off the train quickly, but perhaps that's just me being cynical.
We couldn't check in to our flat until 10:30, so we looked for somewhere for breakfast. At that time there was little available around where we were, so we had a cup of tea at one place before finding a little cafe for a cooked breakfast. And very nice it was too - the Elderberry Cafe in Elder Street if you're looking for somewhere.
The flat is on the way to Leith and is very nice, although not so keen on the three long flights of stairs to get up to it! We settled in for a bit and, in common with much of the country I'm sure, watched some more Olympics. We had only booked the one show today, partly in case there was a problem with travel, and partly because we knew we'd still be glued to the TV.
Later, we set off to see our first show. With all the tickets being unreserved seating, we got there quite early, and soon found that ten to fifteen minutes was all that was needed. However it was good to be at the front of the queue, as then you can get to pick your seats. We are tending to go for seats in the second row where there is still a good view and you can hear well, but you are slightly less likely to get picked on.