Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo

It was a dark and stormy night..

Just kidding! It was dark and a little chilly, but there wasn’t a drop of rain during our time out of doors.

Waaaaaaay back in May when my parents were here visiting, they offered to send us to see the Tattoo for our upcoming birthdays. It was something we had wanted to do, but had not yet crossed off the list. We took them up on their offer and bought our tickets for the very last night of the series, and the late show, no less, so we would get to see the fireworks.

This meant we had to get ourselves to the castle by 9:45pm and then get ourselves home again from a show that wouldn’t end until after midnight. These were logistics that we did not think of clearly while we were purchasing the tickets, but it all worked out in the end.

We ended up borrowing a car from some friends (goooooo, Buchanans!) because if we were using public transportation we’d leave the city around 3 and not get home until after 7am, which we really weren’t interested in.

So, since you probably don’t really care how we got to Edinburgh and back, let’s move on to the more interesting part where I tell you of the fun we had, shall we?

This was the first time we had left the Aedster for so many hours after bedtime! We were a little nervous since he had been having some issues, but we were committed. We put him to bed and snuck away, praying that the good Lord would make those little eyelids extra heavy.

We had a great time chatting on the way down, and were amazed at how easy it was to travel with just the two of us! (We had very recently returned from our trip to Europe, so the lugging of bags, strollers, and snacks was very fresh in our minds.)

The city was alive and plugging away, and we inched our way up to the castle through the mobs of people.

I was immediately struck by two things.

1. I am very unfamiliar with Edinburgh at night. I was continually disoriented by my surroundings even though I am very familiar with the area we were in.

And 2. There were huge bleachers set up in front of the castle!

A lot of my disorientation was actually caused by the way the streets were set up for the Tattoo and the Fringe Festival, which was on at the same time.

We were astounded at the number of people lined up to get in for the show. By our estimations, there must be something around 10,000 people that come to see the show each day that it’s on.

I have to admit, I was being a little boisterous with all the excitement. Out with my hubby to myself, going to see an awesome show, not getting home til 3am.. an exciting evening, am I right? I’m sure all the Brits around chalked me up as a tourist, but hey, whaddayagonnado? :)

We got up to the stands and I discovered this lovely view

And this less lovely view..

That’s where we sat! Section D!

To say we were tight as sardines is an understatement. I had to lean forward the whole night so that Ian and the woman next to me could sit up with their shoulders back. Ian had to stand up for me to put my seat down because half his body blocked it. I have never been in such a confined space with so many people! But the stands were packed out nonetheless..

(A little pre-show entertainement.. somebody being awarded for something.. I don’t know, I was busy being boisterous)

The happy, excited, thankful couple.. Our show didn’t start until 10:30pm.. I think you can see it in our eyes :)

But, start it did, and with great gusto!

The scene was set when the pipers walked in, surrounded by fire and mist. What began as a few quickly grew to a hoard of pipers crossing the pavement.

It was amazing to watch them, not to mention to listen to them!

The bands were from all over, though most were from the UK, as you might expect. There was a band from Poland – their first year performing in the Tattoo – and it was great fun to watch them wield their traditional instruments.

After a few bands had passed, we were delighted by a miniature motorcycle brigade! This is a group of children (the oldest is 16.. and he would probably be really annoyed that I lumped him in with the ‘children’ :) who are extremely skilled on their bikes, and they start riding at the age of 5! These were the little tykes, performing stunts that made me squint my eyes shut and lament the fact that my child has a Y chromosome that could potentially lead him down such paths.

And the older ones, riding backwards with fire shooting out of their bikes..

The final trick was the oldest guy jumping over a car off of a ramp held up by other guys! Other guys! Not like, bars or something, people were holding up his ramp! It was a little bit ridiculous.

But, no one was hurt, and I was able to relax for a little while.

This was the fast moving band. I can’t remember their official name, but they are known for moving quickly.. it was a little bit comical to watch them.. but I’m not sure it was actually appropriate to laugh at them.. but I might have (tourist, you know).

Then we had the lovely highland dancers..

I am telling you, if I had been able to dislodge myself from my seat, I would have gotten up and starting dancing with them! They were so bouncy!

Then there was the band from Jordan. These are the gun guys (they were a separate group from the band). They did formations with big guns. It was a little bit scary. I don’t really like guns. And I have a wild imagination.

Moving on.

These guys were fun!

And created more moments wherein I feared for the safety of their spinal cords. They did all kinds of athletic tricks.. seems a very entertaining way to stay in shape!

The band from New Zealand.. by far the most entertaining. They boogied and they didn’t care who was watching :)

The big finish was all (or at least most, but I think all) of the bands out on the pavement together.

It was a breathtaking sensation to see such order and precision and hear such a volume of instruments.

The show was rounded off with fire works

and the lone piper.

And we bid the bands a good night.

The Tattoo was such a fun experience. It has been so long since we (I) have been a part of something so big and so musical and it was wonderful. I highly recommend partaking if the opportunity arises, it will not disappoint!

1 comment:

  1. I thought it was just piping, but it sounds more like the Scottish Circus! Wild. The girls and I would have gone crazy over all those Scottish dancers! I am so glad they were able to learn that when they were there, and some of my favorite moments here are when they spontaneously start doing the Highland Fling in the living room. Glad you got to go!