I fully expected to enjoy Scotland. I even expected that I would have fun at Hogmanay. What I didn’t count on, was Hogmanay topping my pretty epic Berlin Silvester 2011/12. Last year’s epic, and very last minute, expedition to Berlin to report on the Beck’s Green Box Project was a project that I enjoyed so much it was my favorite New Year’s experience. Until Edinburgh.
Well played, Scotland. Well played. You trumped everything else I’ve ever done to say goodbye to one year and hello to another.
In order to recall everything that was so great and every little thing we did I would probably have to write 20 blog posts. You’d grow bored. And just be irritated that I had so much more fun than you did. Kidding [about that last part]! Maybe…
So what did Hogmanay include?
Skyscanner Office Party! These folks not only have one of my favorite travel websites, they also know how to throw a rockin’ office party AND their office has old airplane parts and plane seats in it. [!!!!] And meeting spaces have airport code names. GEEK LOVE. I want to work at Skyscanner now. No, seriously, how about it Skyscanner?… Fire! Lots of it. The Torchlight Processional was my favorite thing we did during Hogmanay. Led by Shetland’s Up Helly Aa’ Vikings and culminating up on Calton Hill it is something I’d like to do every year. It was odd, medieval, romantic, dangerous, and just plain great fun. My coat may never be divested of all the wax which has hardened onto the sleeves, but I couldn’t care less.
Fireworks! So good. It was as if Edinburgh Castle itself was exploding. Which wouldn’t have been unusual I’m told. Apparently, it’s one of the more attacked castles in Europe — historically speaking.
Loony Dook! Crazy costumes worn by even more crazy people. Andrew Evans! Cute coastal town! I didn’t jump in the freezing Forth River that day. Instead, I choose to photograph it but then have my own dip a few days later via the North Sea in St. Andrews…‘Simple Minds’ Concert! You know the song, “Don’t You…Forget About Me…” We sang it loudly and proudly and we jumped up and down and it kept my toes from freezing off by acting like a teenager all over again. I’m ashamed to admit how long it has been since I’ve been to a proper concert. Before I began to travel full time this was one of my favorite ways to spend downtime and thanks to Hogmanay and ‘Simple Minds’ that simple joy was back for several hours.Whisky! The Scotch Whisky Experience was having a special tasting featuring distilleries from all over Scotland and while I enjoyed sipping my way through the whole room, it was this 89 Balblair that I can still taste in my mouth and which I will remember forever. Can you say, YUMGASM…Mary King’s Close! Purported to be haunted and very creepy, instead it was just another chance for me to geek waaay out on history. A close is a very narrow alleyway with tall buildings [often as high as 8 or 9 stories] on either side which are private dwellings and shops on a slant with steep streets, lots of stairs and not the most safe of living conditions. The Old Town of Edinburgh, along the Royal Mile, is full of such places and Mary King’s Close is the one best preserved to what it would have been like in the 16th and 17th centuries.Big Bang! The international street theatre artists Plasticien Volants brought a version of the creation of the universe to life in a way that was both beautiful and weird. Culturally, it was very French and while you might think that has nothing to do with Scotland or Edinburgh I was surprised to learn that the two countries actually have a long heritage of friendship and cooperation with one another.Kilts! Thanks to The Edinburgh Woollen Mill, several of us looked like we’d taken a bath in tartan and forgot to towel off. What can I say, except that I guess I went balls-to-the-wall with the “When in Rome” play.
And what did my fellow travelers have to say about Hogmanay?
Mike describes this whole portion of our Scottish adventure in a far more eloquent way than I can manage quickly. Please follow his Scottish Stories series closely. But I am going to wax poetically about what happened next: my time in the Highlands with Haggis Adventures. Steel yourselves and stay tuned…
This campaign [#Blogmanay] is brought to you by Edinburgh’s Hogmanay and is supported by Visit Scotland, ETAG, Edinburgh Festivals, Haggis Adventures and Skyscanner. The campaign bloggers were sourced and managed by iambassador.
However, the embarrassingly enthusiastic opinions and every single exclamation point in this post are solely my own.