China Girls Abroad

Edinburgh Festival 2012If you are planning where to go in August, if you are just happen to be in Scotland, then you definitely can’t miss the biggest art festival in the world-Edinburgh Festival!

I went to the Edinburgh Festival quite a few times this year, and every time it was a wonderful experience. Every beautiful thing starts from the very simple. If you are in Glasgow, one hour on the train will take you there, and it’s incredibly convenient since the train departs every 15 minutes, so you can even have a relaxed Saturday morning and leave at about 2pm.

After one hour of travelling through the Scottish countryside, you will arrive in Edinburgh’s main railway station-Waverley, which is located right in the center of Edinburgh. After you get out of the train station, turn right you will walk directly into the shopping centre—Princes Street which has all the main shops and stores. If you turn left out of the station, it will lead you to Edinburgh castle and main festival venues.


Besides shopping, Princes Street has another fabulous thing waiting for you—the 61 meters high Scott Monument! Its ancient, mysterious, splendid, extravagant style makes everybody say “wow!” Some people even climb hundreds of narrow spiral stairs to have a bird's view of Edinburgh. It’s really incredible!

Edinburgh Festival 2012If you are not a shopping girl, and prefer to experience the art festival, then you are probably not Chinese or not a girl, but just take my advice and try it out! Turn left out of the station and walk up the hill, you’ll come to the Royal Mile which is the main road leading to Edinburgh castle and has lots of tourists’ shops, AND even a statue of Adam Smith. Some of my friends went to his statue just for a picture, since he is the main reason for many of us coming to Scotland to study. During the one month festival, the Royal Mile is absolutely packed with artists performing on the street and tourists walking around. It sounds a bit crazy, but this year there were really nearly 3,000 shows in about 300 venues. Artists, art lovers, tourists all came here to enjoy the festival, and Edinburgh suddenly became the most alive, energetic, colorful, dynamic city in the world.

Edinburgh Festival 2012So let’s be part of the festival! All you need to do is just walk along the streets, and look at the reviews on the wall outside the venues—mostly hotels, pubs or bars, and then find one with four or five stars and good comments, and just walk in! Also many of the shows are free and even if they charge, it would be 6 to 10 pounds, which is not a lot. The show is usually about 1 hour, so it’s very quick, and then you can do the same thing and go to another one. The best show I watched this year was called “One Rogue Reporter” which was done by a young journalist disclosing the dark inside stories of the most powerful people in media in Britain with absolutely shocking evidence, which can only be seen somewhere like Edinburgh Festival! But lots of shows are just pure entertainment, music, puppets, dance and comedy.

You can also do some research on what are the best shows before you arrive. Just google “List Magazine top shows Edinburgh festival” and you will find all the shows arranged according to how many “stars” they have plus an explanation of what they are about and where they are on. The List magazine is very good to buy as well, as it specializes in featuring entertainment that is on in Glasgow and Edinburgh all year round (theatre, film, special events, music and food).

Gorgeous waiterComplaint boardPineapple ladiesDon’t miss the Edinburgh festival—you can just take in the atmosphere. In between shows there are good places to eat. All you need to do is just walk around and find a good looking café. The one I found very interesting was called a “pop up cafe” which only opened during the festival, isn’t it interesting? It was set up by artists and everything there was a work of art. The waitresses were wearing half of a pineapple on their heads, the waiter was wearing a black-white costume, showing off his body shape. And they even put up a blackboard saying how much they earned, what they have done to alter this place, and even a big space for customers to write up their complaints. So everything was just for art, for fun! Another good place to eat is the Mosque Kitchen in Nicolson Square, which is great for curries (open all year).

All I have written is just a tiny bit of this whole festival. Just go and enjoy it yourselves. Life in Britain is a great experiment in new things to see and explore and this is a good place to start!