How I Spent my Birthday at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Inside: A Mini Guide on Exploring Scotland during its most popular Edinburgh theatre and comedy event, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe!

Take Me Back to Edinburgh Festival Theatre

Have you ever felt homesick for a place you’ve only visited once? That heart-deep desire to not leave as you’re dropped off at departures, followed by a never-fading desire to re-pack everything and return soon after? That’s Edinburgh!

As I write this, I’m very shiresick. My time in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Inverness has been longingly planted in my daily memory since landing back in Toronto mid-August. Booked at the end of June, missing my Scottish-born partner of nearly a year, I took off on my first solo flight to Europe in 10 years, two days before my 29th birthday of August 4th.

Flying to Scotland

Flying British Airways to Scotland

Flying overnight from Pearson to London was smooth sailing, minus a small disturbance in the security line. A tall, suited up gent calmly walked his way past everyone in line, leading the woman in front of me to finally break the crowd ice, joking how all of us (her included) were “too polite to say anything.” I replied, “nah, just too Canadian,” leading to all-smiles. The guy was soon grabbed by security for a quote un-quote randomly selected search, it was great.

The pasta dinner on the flight was delicious, and the movie selection was well up to date. (If you haven’t seen Split yet, I highly recommend it). Making my way through London-Heathrow Airport was -almost- non-stop but my jaw fusion and something on my shoe set off their scanners, ending in a Converse swab. 1.5 hours later, I was finally in Aberdeen, ready to nap and spend some quiet quality time with Graeme.

The next day, we took our road trip to Inverkeithing, a 5k population town that’s about 115 miles south of Aberdeen. Upon arrival, we checked into The Roods Bed & Breakfast, hosted by the most passionately hospitable woman, Isobel Marley. This gal went above and beyond our entire stay, getting to know each guest, even waking up an extra hour early to make us breakfast on a day we thought we had to miss its time range. The room was cozy, everything was so clean and the view of the well-kept garden was relaxingly gorgeous. It was also a handy spot to be as it was just a five minute walk to the train station which would lead us to Edinburgh.

Bed and Breakfast in Inverkeithing, Scotland
View from the Roods

Edinburgh Festival Theatre Events

Spending my birthday taking in comedians and festival culture in such a beautiful, lively destination was a dream. Our first Fringe show was Phil Jupitus, an English stand-up comedian who memorably sang a hilarious tune, reminiscent of the 4-Chord Song, brilliantly mocking Chris Martin and the cause-led makings of a Coldplay song, right down to Martin’s repetitive, drawn-out “Oooooooooooh”s. It was called “I Hate Coldplay.”

At our second, “The Best of Irish Comedy” at The Stand Comedy Club, I convinced Graeme to sit front row, ready for any heckling that was sure to come our way. Sure enough, before the last act, the host/MC noticed “we lost one” as Graeme had gone to the bathroom. After asking me if G was okay, he asked me the typical what was my name, where am I from, what was I doing in Edinburgh. The declaration of being from Canada lead to a room full of cheers, followed by the MC’s confession they were just happy I wasn’t from America. Trump had been an ongoing topic in every single comedic routine we saw that week, one comedian going as far to joke that Donald was 1% of the required content to even enter Fringe.

This was soon followed by everyone in the room yelling Happy Birthday, which felt amazing.

Overview of Edinburgh, Capital of Scotland
Edinburgh Exposed

Between our multi-day spend in Edinburgh, Graeme and I met up with his best mate Scott and his girlfriend for an exhilarating go at Raceland, a rural outdoor karting track. With the vehicles reaching speeds of 70MPH (112KM/HR) going around such hairpin turns tighter than any Mario Kart track in recent memory, I somehow managed to -not- come in last against experienced regulars who routinely visited for practice.

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle in Edinburgh, Scotland& of course no EDI visit would have been complete without a stop at the ever-popular Edinburgh Castle (£17). From the Great Hall to the Royal Palace, the IRN Bru stand (I’m obsessed, okay) to the Prisons of War and National War Museum, this was the visually-feeding historic stop I’d hoped it to be, even in the light rain that soon ensued.

The grounds even contain what is known to be Edinburgh’s oldest building, St. Margaret’s Chapel, built by her son, David I, in 1130. The chapel is still active today, used to host weddings, christenings and other milestone events.

Next Tuesday, Part II: Adventures in Amsterdam, followed by tales of our post-AMS return to Scotland. 

Kitchen View of Bed and Breakfast in Inverkeithing, Scotland
Isobel’s Love of Soup

Have a question about Scottish travel? Feel free to ask in the comments below!

For tickets to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, click here.

For more information on the Edinburgh Festival Theatre, click here.

Update: Originally written August 2017 on a former blog. My partner is now with me, living together in Canada.

3 thoughts on “How I Spent my Birthday at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

  1. I honestly said the first sentence of this post to a friend of mine recently – I’ve been to Scotland a total of 5 days while I lived in London – once to Edinburgh and once to Glasgow -and I miss it more than any other place. There’s something so special about Scotland. Lovely post – I’m dying to experience the Fringe Festival (and go back to Scotland in general). This definitely gave me goosebumps! I can’t wait to go back one day.

    – Deanna

    1. This put the BIGGEST smile on my face! Thank you so much. I hope you get to go back very soon and I’d love to hear about it once you do!

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