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Edi Guide Winter 09


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Edi Guide Winter 2009

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Edi Guide Winter 09

  1. 1. Edinburgh
  2. 2. Queen Street York Place Frederick St Castle Street Hanover Street Charlotte SQ St.Andrew SQ George Street Rose Street Princes Street North Bridge Scott´s Monument Lothian Road Carnival Edinburgh Castle Sotuh Bridge Royal Mile George IV Bridge Johnston TCE Grassmarket Cowgate Edinburgh City Centre CONTENT Itineraries 1 „We´re are having a barrie time“ 10 Eating and Whisky and more „What´s on tonite?“ 20 clubs and cinema and more History and Culture 26 galleries and tartan and more
  3. 3. NOTES
  4. 4. Edinburgh is the most desirable city to live in the UK. At least, according to a 2009 YouGov poll. Edinburgh came out top for its atmosphere and positive reputation. We, the authors of this guide, can approve these results. “Auld Reekie” is indeed a wonderful place to visit. There’s the Castle, the Scott Monument, Arthur’s Seat ... yes, we talk about them, too. But beyond those mainstream sights we leave the trampled tourist paths and try to create an alternative gui- de to Scotland’s capital. If you only have one or two days to stay our itineraries will help you spend them efficiently. Edinburgh is a rather pricy town, in general. But the are spots which offer cheap food, clothing or other items. Your wallet will thank you for taking our advice. Then, of course, there’s the whisky. You can’t leave Scotland without having tasted the best brands. Luckily, we have sorted out the the bad ones, so that you don’t have to. Finally, you’ll encounter people, attractions and stories you won’t find in any other tourist gui- de. For Edinburgh in all its grandeur is yet to be discovered. your City Travel Review Team
  5. 5. In the following (text) we would like to suggest you three totally different options how to spend your days in char- ming Edinburgh in the most efficient, yet affordable way. It is up to you to choose between: a very touristy and therefore historic, massive and impressive day – a rather alternative, picturesque and unique day or a pretty artis- tic, educating and entertaining day. However, in the end it needs to be said that – as different as they might seem – each day in some way includes all the above mentioned adjectives. Itineraries In Scotland´s varied and inspiring Capital – Edinburgh - creativity and individuality is written in rather big letters. Maybe that is why became known for famous writers (like Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson), artists, philosophers (like David Hume), scientists and economics (like Adam Smith). Exploring Edinburgh´s Old and New Town includes a lot of walking. But thanks to closes, wynds and significant historic buildings a walk is not just a walk – it is rather an experience and discovery. You soon feel at home and protected in this friendly and curious area. However, public transportation is more than unnecessary to discover this place, which seems to be neither a town nor a city – but this exactly is what creates Edinburgh´s unique character. Although it kept its small, familiar flair and although this is the place where all the traditional, tiny specialized shops and their chatty salesperson still exist, it offers everything a human´s city heart might desire as well. It is now your time to be an explorer and to discover Edinburgh on your own, inspired by our itineraries. Have fun! 1
  6. 6. Tour is ty Iti nera ry d as a World A visit to Edinburgh – inscribe 1995 – would Heritage Site by UNESCO in not actively visi- not be complete if you have d the treasure ted, experienced and absorbe all your senses – chest of historic gems with Royal Mile. that are at your disposal: the a of Edinburgh. The most typical touristy are to provide you Yes – although we would like anti-touristy with the most alternative and s to offer, we tips and places Edinburgh ha the chance to also feel the need to offer you ic Old Town, experience Edinburgh´s histor touristy attrac- and with it its indispensable tions. of the fact You might want to be aware l notice that today surely everyone wil is no shame that you are a tourist, which t most of the at all. Not that surprising tha on your route people you are going to see re is no today are tourists, too. So the day to need to hide – today is YOUR day to free the tourist in you – YOUR er the explore one souvenirshop aft ingly other and YOUR day to stunn stop and stare with your head s impressive t thrown back so to see thi building in front of you. 2
  7. 7. To start this extraordinary day you climb up the four floors of the Scott´s Monument, which is situated in the heart of Princes Street. Hopefully it is a sunny day so that you have a clear overallview of Edinburgh in its full pride – the Monument´s four different viewpoints serve you with exclusive and accurate windy views to the North Sea, up Princes Street, down Princes Street with Carlton Hill & the Balmoral Hotel´s Big Ben – like clock in the background, and of course an excellent view of the Old Town and its Castle. Due to the fact that there are two other excellent viewpoints like Carlton Hill and Arthur´s Seat – which are, by the way, for free – you might not want to spend £3 on Scott´s Monument. Nevertheless it is higly recommen- ded, unless you are either afraid of heights, fat or claustrophobic. However, if you like cosy, dark spiral stair cases that lead you up the way – and force you to squeeze yourself past the descending strangers – it is worth the unique view. After getting the first impr the Royal M ession of th ile – approx e day from one and on imately a m above you ne ly pedestrian ile long, part ed to head tartans, scot zone in Edin ly still pretty to tish scarves, burgh. For royal and th used by tour Kilts, Shortbr those of yo e ist as souven ead or othe u who are in paradise - in irs for the lo r Scottish sp to cluding high ved ones w ecialities - buy ordinary class cashm ho stayed at touristy thin ere shops as home: this For the rest gs. well as afford is of you it mig able shops to guess abou ht be satisfyi t the other´ ng enough tourist. Ther s supply an to go in one efore you pa d move on of the stores front of the ss the Hea to fulfill thei , Church and rt of Midlo r task as a spit right in thian to yo proper the only plac the middle of ur left, righ Afterw e in Scotlan it. Indeed, th t in a d where you donke rds the ne are asked to spit in public is probably is y ridin xt att . but u g a ho ractio nfortu rse – n wait in the nately actua s p th lly this just aroun inbetw ast so tha ere were is the dt een lo t it no m statue he corner ts of p w loo ade some of an –a ks a b a arking spots it disp rchitectica admiral, . laced l mist and is akes banis hed 3
  8. 8. As you are already next to the Church it is worth paying attention to it and to go in for a few minutes and – hopefully on a sunny day – to watch the reflections of the imressive stained glass windows. However, the most important information about the Royal Mile is that it connects the Edinburgh Castle in the North with the Holyrood Pa- lace and the new, controversial Scotish Parliament in the South. Surely, there are some people who like to see the castle from inside – who like to see the room where Mary, Queen of Scots gave birth to her son James, the future King of Scotland and England – who like to see the Stone of Destiny as well as the Scottish Crown Jewels, called the Honours of Scotland,. Nevertheless this takes about 2 hours, so that probably some of you are satisfied with a picture of each on a flyer and spend their time in a maybe more fun and exciting place – the Camera Obscura right below the Castle. As the touristy day moves on Unsurprisingly, you will surely the Royal Mile feel the need dinner and of offers you a w to get somethi course beer or ide variety of pl ng to eat. and less known whisky. So ther aces to have lu as well as smal e are lots of tr nch, coffee, cused coffee sh ler sandwich sh aditional pubs, ops, which offe ops offering go inexpensive Starbucks and r you soups-of od food, young- Subway. All in -the-day, as w people fo- lunchbreak. Ho all you indeed ell as maintream wever, as we ar have more than shops like Scottish Haggi e on our tourist one option to s with Neeps an ic route its appr spend your cal, is having fa d Tatties in one opriate to have st food á la Sc of the local pu a propper otland: deep fri bs. Cheaper, bu ed Fish&Chips. t still typi- After having lunch it is time to take a walk to the graveyard. “Why go to a graveyard?“, you might wonder. But this is not just any graveyard. It is THE graveyard. The graveyard where you can find the most haunted Mausoleum in Edinburgh and even more important: the graveyard including Greyfriar Bobby´s Grave! The grave itself is worshipped with a few pale-coloured plastic flowers and rain-soaked cuddle toys. You might not have heard of “Bobby, the Terrier“ who, after the death of his owner, used to come to his grave for the rest of his live, 14 years, to still take care of him. Just around the corner Edinburgh dedicated Bobby a statue, which now ist the most photographed statue in Edinburgh – so feel free to unpack you camera and take the 100.000th Bobby-picture to update your photogallery. 4
  9. 9. Regardless of any age, you surely have heard of J.K.Rowling, the author of “Harry Potter“. If you go down Southbridge it is hard to miss the red building to your left, called: “The Elephant House“, which is the place where Rowling got inspired to write her stories about young Wizards attending school in an old, mysterious Castle called Hogwarts. That is why this Café is also called “The birthplace of Harry Potter“. Hopefully this sounds interesting enough to you to go in. You might wonder why ele- phants inspired today´s second richest woman in Scotland (on a list right below the Queen) to write such an anti-elephanitc story. That is because it was not the cafe´s – still present - elephants that inspired her, but the unique, undisturbed and incredible viewpoint of the Castle, situated on the remnants of a volcano formed 340 milllion years ago. This looks impressively dangerous but still secure, with the graveyard in front of it – leading the observers view up the hill. After this impressive break it is hard to be surprised by anythin t of the picturesque. Neverth g more Stepping ou you eless you should give it a try and therefore visit the Gallery´s building “National Gallery of Scotland“, which is on Princes Street fall out Scott´s Monument. Depending on how – near the will literaryly interested you are in Scotland´s erman“ pretigious national collection, including European art from into the “G the 16th until market, 19th centuries and early Italian and Dutch paintings up to 1530, this Christmas mes you tour takes from half an hour to 2 hours. If your feet already hurt and which welco warming you feel the need to sit down you can also use the IT-Gallery and ex- with a hot, plore the collections using a new, modern and innovative Glühwein, Crepes, cho- computer. touch-screen laced ap ples colate-g balls and The chances of taking your tourist tour on a Tuesday are approximately 1 to or marzipan 7. If it is a Tuesday, you should end the day with a Ceileidh Dance Course grilled pota toes – just at Grass Market, accompanied by live Folkmusic (including a Fiddle, Drums christm as as a good ee to and surely an Accordeon) This is an introduction into the Scottish Folkdance, shou ld do. Feel fr mostly attended by groups, couples, friends, singles and above all tourists as ild in you well as locals. Especially if you forgot to bring a partner along with you, the satisfy the ch of old, renovated church crowded with people of the average age of 23 might - on one with a ride Mary- in the beginning - rather evokes the impression of a “SingleMarket or Speed the the horses of dating“. However, there are lots of group dances that get even the stiffest and nquer most moody person to laugh, dance, clap their hands, be happy and forget G o-Round or co all their doubts of dancing in front of strangers – because actually you dance your fear with them. Moreover it is not the normal, traditional standard dance or disco -of- hights dance which you might imagine, it is much more a running, interaction and in a circling each other around, with the purpose to shout out loud full of happi- ride ness and to have a jolly-good time. And beyond any doubt: it is hardly that easy to laugh and have a good time with a lot of open-minded people in a in th e good mood. And if you still not feel the need to dance – you can also just sit Ferris down, have a beer, watch from the first floor and reflect the day. GT wheel. 5
  10. 10. Alternative Itinerary This is the day to enjoy breathtaking views and to walk the hidden path in order to explore unique places. Start your day with a typical Scottish breakfast which usualy includes toast, an egg, sausage, beans and black pudding (just so that it is not mistaken with tasty chocola- te pudding - better described as: blood-sausage). Mostly it is called (among tourists): Hangover-Breakfast. The fact that the Scotsman likes to eat this kind of breakfast quite often, leaves no doubt why Scotland is the the num- ber one on the list of the country with the highest rate of heart-attacks. A pretty good place to have breakfast would be „The Mit- re“, which is a huge pub on Royal Mile, where breakfast starts at £4,50. But there are several other places to get traditional breakfast on the Royal Mile as well, such as „The Crag and Tail“. This is a more modern, plain styled restaurant where breakfast starts at £5,95. After having such a filling breakfast it is a good idea to go for a nice walk, which leads you down Royal Mile, along the new Scottish Parliament, established in 2001, and the Holyrood Palace, opposite to it. Your walk takes you further to Arthur´s Seat – the hill which is so close to town but whose nature still preser- ves such a lovely, mystical and magical atmosphere as if wandering around the Hobbit´s Landscape. The further you go the longer, steeper and more ex- hausting gets the hill – but keeping in mind the reward of the view you are going to get it is absolutely worth the effort. After this succesful hike you are allowed to proudly rest on top of Arthur´s Seat and to take a few or ma- ybe a lot of pictures. 6
  11. 11. As usually going down a hill is much easier and faster, you soon arrive at the end of Royal Mile again. Do you have the flavour of warm, creamy and homemade soup, tasty like your mother used to cook it for you, in mind? This means it is time to head to delightful “Hula“ at Grassmarket. In a warm, orange-toned atmosphere they welcome you with warming, homemade food such as bagels or soups. For the ones who instead feel the need to be spoilt with a hot chocolate or a strong whis- key, the Grassmarket offers a variety of inexpensive, cosy pubs. You might have already noticed that Grassmarket looks a bit different compared to all the other places Edinburgh offered you so far. Congratulations! You just discovered one of Scotland´s most exciting and unique area. Surrounded by Victoria Street (once Edinburgh´s most illegal area), Cowgate and Candlemaker Row and its well preserved architecture from 1700, this area leaves you stunned by an occasionally creepy, weird and alternative selection of shops. Here, in he heart of the Old Town, vintage shops (like Armstrong, having celebrity fans like Kaiser Chiefs and Franz Ferdinand) are nestled next to joke shops, exclusive Scottish de- sign shops, gothic and corset as well as hat specialists, trendy shops as well as old-fashioned or science fiction oriented book stores and comic stores. 7
  12. 12. To move on with this impressive day, a visit to the Dean Gallery or the Gallery of Modern Art right next to it would be appropriate. Despite the Galleries themselves, which are on Belford Road, the walk to get there is pretty amazing, too. First of all you get a pretty good impression of Edinburgh´s less touristy area and maybe get inspired by some cafés or pubs you pass. Secondly, walking along feels like being one of the students you pass on your way – going home to your cosy apartment on the third floor with its beautiful view of the park right behind the house. Why not fantasise how the flat right below the roof of the house with these many, lovely chimneys looks like. How would it be to live in there? It is now time to lay back entirely relaxed and carefree while nipping on a warming cup of hot chocolate. Urbanangel Café offers everyone his own private space- whether you want to read, chat or just have a second on your own to feel like an angel - in a modern, clean and sober, yet lovely heartwarming atmosphere. Not to forget, that this is the place to get the best chocolate brownies in town. To end this day you could attend a pubquiz, which is pretty famous among the local people and is usually held by dif- ferent pubs on a fixed day of the week. On Monday´s for instance “The Bailies“ is full of young, curious locals who hope to be able to answer the quizmaster´s questions on anything - from celebrities to politics and geography, while enjoying good company and a few beers. Surely you some- times just have to guess the answer, therefore you can get extrapoints for extraordinarily funny answers. Feel free so shout and cheer like a real Scotsman! GT
  13. 13. ra ry I tine ar ty sh ort- The Art Galleries in the Dundas Street Mc Naughton´s Start your day with several Book Shop small and different art coll- on Leith Walk ections, all side by side. Find some old beautiful books here - for 2nd Hand prices! Filmhouse Calton Hill Enjoy the view and relax. on Lothian Road Go for a film in this unique independent cinema. The Bowery on Roxborrow Place Listen to live music and have a beer in the evening.
  14. 14. PUB „We´re having a barrie time!“ 10
  15. 15. Eating and drinking in the land of the brave Scotland’s cuisine is not really known as a gourmet’s cuisine. Due to limited sun- shine and a lot of wind and rain during the year there is not a wide range of native products growing naturally in Scotland. Root crops such as carrots or potatoes are plentiful whereas fruits and other types of vegetables are largely imported from countries with a warmer climate. After having spent three weeks in Scotland just eating traditional food you may put on some weight. Nevertheless, some Scottish food is better than its reputation. What Scotsmen eat for breakfast Scots don’t shirk breakfast. Traditional breakfast includes, of course, por- ridge. This mixture of oats and water can be delicious if you are a fan of gruel. In fact, porridge was the main diet for generations of Scots in former times. Traditionalists of the older generation swear that the only way to eat it is just with water and a dash of salt. Nowadays, it is mostly mixed with cream, fruit, butter or even whisky to give it a hint of the exotic. People visit- ing Scotland for the first time are generally amazed by cooked breakfast but it is not popular with everyone. If you enjoy a traditional breakfast you have to make your way through the mixture of egg, sausage, bacon, chips, toast, mushrooms, baked beans and black pudding. In contrast to this, if you are into common continental break- fast you will also find this anywhere. What to eat for a quick lunch After having a rich breakfast you may not feel like having lunch. Nevertheless, if you are in the mood of eating further there are a lot of nice pubs and restaurants to pop in. Lunch tends to be taken quickly or on the hop. For lunch people mainly have a snack like a soup, a pie or a sandwich. Going out for dinner Being surrounded by so many deep oceans, fish still make up an important part of the Scottish food. In Scotland they have a variety of excellent native fish, such as smoked salmon, herring and haddock. Venison and deer are popular with gour- mets too. Available all year, venison has a strong, distinctive taste. There is plenty of wild game to choose from, such as rabbit, duck, partridge or pigeon. People focus much more on dinner than on lunch as dinner is the actual main meal of the day. 11
  16. 16. Fish and chips: Fish and chips is a popular take-away food in Scotland therefore you definitely have to try it once. It consists of deep-fried fish (traditionally cod, haddock or flounder) in batter or bread crumbs with deep-fried chipped potatoes. Scottish dessert: It seems that Scottish people have a sweet tooth because there are a lot of delicious but extremely sweet desserts. The most famous one is probably fudge, a small toffee bar si- milar to caramel, mainly made of sugar and butter. After a visit in the Fudge House you get a sugar shock for sure! If you are into sweet staff you will be satisfied with having some cheesecake, Dundee cake, shortbread or dou- ghnut... there is enough for everyone. If you visit Edinburgh try Pies: these typical Scottish dishes: Pies are simply pieces of meat in gravy encased with crusty pastry. These pies are filled with minced meat and onions. Often, the meat is replaced by innards. According to the traditi- on mutton meat is used but nowadays beef is Haggis with tatties and neeps: more commonly used. There are different types Haggis is Scotland’s national dish. It even of pies, such as fish pie, chicken pie, mince pie comes up first in people’s minds when or steak pie. they think about Scotland. In the distant past when times were hard, haggis was a creative way of using up what is left over. It is offal with oats, spices, and pepper. Ingredients are stuffed into a sheep’s sto- mach to be baked and served up with tat- ties and neeps. Despite the fact that this all sounds awful, haggis is surprisingly tasty. As Scottish people more and more have become vegetarians they have in- vented vegetarian Haggis. It is a popular alternative to the old blood and guts way. 12
  17. 17. After strolling around Edinburgh in search of nice places to appease one’s appetite or hunger here are some sugges- tions of locations to go to: Crag and Tail (Restaurant) Gourmet Burger Kitchen (Restaurant) 503 Lawnmarket, Royal Mile, 137 George Street EH2 4JY Edinburgh, EH1 2PH British and Irish franchise but tasty burgers at Small but modern, friendly internati- reasonable prices, huge portions, also offers onal staff, offer typical Scottish food, exotic burgers (e.g. Avocado burger, Jamaican good place to enjoy rich Scottish burger), contemporary interior design, lounge music, nice alternative to pubs and touristy breakfast but also a place to be in the places for business people as well as students. evenings. Wannaburger (Restaurant) Susie’s Wholefood Diner (Vegetari- 217 High Street an restaurant) Edinburgh, EH1 1PE 51 West Nicolson Street, Newington At first glance it seems to be a mainstream Edinburgh EH8 9DB fast food restaurant but it is probably one Specialises in organic vegetarian meals, of the best places to enjoy a big delicious relaxed atmosphere, chilled out staff, burger in Edinburgh, very friendly staff, students’ area, ideal for low budget. easy-going and young atmosphere. Halfway House (Pub) Black Medicine Coffee Co. 24 Fleshmarket Close, 2 Nicolson Street Edinburgh, EH8 8DH Edinburgh, EH1 1BX Cosy and casual atmosphere, non conventi- The smallest pub in Edinburgh, winner onal place, meeting point for young people of the award for pub of the year 2009, and students, friendly staff, independent pri- vate run coffee shop, wide range of teas and hidden in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old fresh smoothies, broad range of food ranging Town, tiny but warmly welcoming you, from chocolate fudge cake and cookies to cia- they specialise in ales/beers. batta melts and soups. Jekyll & Hide Pub (Pub) L’alba D’oro (Fish’n’chips) 112 Hanover Street 5-7 Henderson Row, New Town Edinburgh, Midlothian EH2 1DR Edinburgh, EH3 5DH A bit dark but pretty individual place, toilets are hidden behind a bookcase, Probably best chippy in Edinburgh, unique character, chatty and delight- take-away and delivery. ful staff, regular comedy nights. 13
  18. 18. The Underground Café (coffee) The Kenilworth (Pub) 34 Elder Street 152-154 Rose Street Edinburgh, EH1 3DX Edinburgh, EH2 3JD, United Kingdom Welcoming atmosphere, cosy seats, Small venue but cosy and friendly place, friendly staff, huge portions, ideal for having a chat and get some delicious meals, also reasonably priced coffee, tea or snack. typical Scottish breakfast. Biddy Mulligans (Pub) Royal Mile Tavern (Pub) 96 Grassmarket Edinburgh, EH1 2JR 127 High Street Edinburgh EH1 1SG Old-fashioned style, very rustic and Discounts for backpackers who are Scottish, ideal for typical Pub feeling staying in a hostel, lovely staff, friendly when enjoying a beer. Delicious and warmly welcoming atmosphere, young reasonably priced meals for lunch, e.g. people’s meeting point, live music play- soup with bread, a place where you find ing current rock songs, nice place for locals drinking a beer with a good friend Bannerman’s (Pub) The Canny Man (Pub) 212 Cowgate/Niddry Street Edinburgh, 237 Morning Side Road EH1 1NQ EH10 4 QU Historic pub, a bit hidden below South Bridge, mee- Outside the city centre but worth going there, ting point for students and backpackers, sometimes alternative style, individual pub full of nooks, crowded but very lively, live new alternative music staffed with antique and junk, pub with the (Folk, Rock, Indie, Punk, Metal), Karaoke, student widest range of whiskies in the city, famous discounts, not a place to go for just a quiet drink, it for delicious food, if they don’t want you to is a place to get drunk and get to know new people. enter you won’t enter. UR 14
  19. 19. Well, if you are hungry right now after reading all this staff about food and meals in Scotland there is just one thing to be recommended to you: have a look at the following table as it might help you to find your way through the Scottish gourmet jungle: angus beef Gourmet beef from Scottish Angus cow banger and mash sausage with mashed potatoes bashed neeps mashed beetroot/turnip black pudding blood sausage cock-a-leekie chicken soup with leek cullen skink fish soup with smoked fish haggis sheep stomach filled with sheep’s innards, oat and onions ham & haddy smoked haddock topped with ham and cheese hugga-muggie fish-haggis served in fish stomach kipper hot smoked bloater/red herring mince minced meat with onions and gravy scotch broth vegetable soup with grain from pearl barley stovies purée from potatoes and onions white pudding fried or roasted white sausage, sometimes for vegetarians bannock flat oat bread either sweet or spicy black bun traditional fruit cake for Hogmanay (= New Year’s Eve) clootie dumpling typical Christmas cake with raisins and cinnamon fudge soft butter toffee scone little sweet cake made of flour and butter (cheese) oatcake cookie made of oat (with cheese) shortbread biscuits made of short pastry with a lot of butter; butter coo- kies chippy fish and chips porridge boiled oats with water/milk turnips type of vegetable, a root dundee cake extremely sweet and heavy cake gaelic coffee Irish coffee with scotch whisky hotch potch soup with lamb and vegetables neeps beetroot/turnip pie filled pâté venison meat from deer tatties potatoes toddy whisky with hot water and sugar (when someone’s got a cold) 15
  20. 20. Let´s have a dram! You have never drunk whisky? What would be a visit to Scotland without ha- ving tasted a nice glass of whisky? Well, you probably know Jack Daniel’s mixed In order to add a subtle nuance, quality with Coke, but guys, this is not what we are Scotch whiskies are often aged in used talking about here! True whisky is produ- casks from Bourbon production. Scotch ced where men wear kilts, where cows are whiskies are divided into five main regions hairy and sheep’s innards are considered a namely Highland, Lowland, Islay, Speyside country’s favourite meal. (Tip: visit Dufftown!) and Campbeltown. The No other beverage is so intimately connec- natural water in each region contributes to ted to the spirit of a nation. The word for the taste of a whisky. whisky itself has its root in the old Gaelic t Whisky has established itself as an affordable erm for water, uisge. Uisge beatha means luxury with a trend for drinking less but bet- the water of life in Gaelic. Outside Scotland ter. Scotland continues to set the pace when you order a glass of whisky… but if you want it comes to wonderful whisky. Industry figu- to do this in a Scottish way then you order res prove that shipments of whisky abroad a dram! are up despite economic recession. Scotsmen Whisky is a delicious but strong alcoholic be- can proudly present their Scotch whisky ex- verage distilled from fermented grain mash. port quota which already represents 20% of Different grains are used for different vari- Scotland’s manufactured exports. One of the eties, including barley, malted barley, rye, great joys when it comes to whisky is disco- malted rye, wheat and maize. While the vering an unfamiliar distillery and finding it market is dominated by blends, the most produces wonderful single malts. If you do highly prized of Scotch whiskies are the not have the opportunity to do so just take single malts which are made of one type of a look at the list below with suggestions of grain. Whiskies mature in wooden casks what types of whisky one could start with on which are generally made of oak. a whisky experience. Here are some affordable Scottish Single Malt whiskies that can be recommended. They are mainly light and delicate ones, therefore also suitable for the Ladies ;) Name Age Taste Produc- tion Aberlour 10 very soft, dry, fresh and fruity aroma from apples and pears, Speyside sweet toffee note, hint of marzipan (honey and nuts), smooth and creamy finishing Dalwhinnie 15 Aromatic nose with hints of peat, sweet, hint of honey and Highland vanilla, with a bit citrus fruit flavour, long intense finish which starts sweet but gets to peat and malt Glenfarclas 10 fruity, hints of dried fruit, cinnamon and vanilla, a wee oily, Speyside smokiness combined with sherry sweetness, long smooth and spicy finish Glenlivet 12 Aromatic, flowery, clean and simple though some spice, notes Speyside of vanilla, slightly sweet, long but mild and warming finish Macallan 15 matured in sherry and bourbon oak, smooth and light, the Speyside Fine Oak aroma has a hint of rose and cinnamon, the finishing tastes like chocolate with hints of orange and raisins, lingering Some other very delicious and aromatic ones that you should try are, for instance, Mortlach, Macallan, Glenfiddich, Edradour and Balvenie... well, the reason why the whiskies mentioned above are mainly from the Speyside or the Highlands is simply because Scots say the magic that makes their whiskies better than anyone else’s is in the water from their Highland rivers! 16
  21. 21. If you want to immerse yourself into the delicate world of whisky, you should consider some things in order to enjoy the full cheer and not to make a fool of yourself. Just follow some easy instructions and you will learn how to become a whisky expert ;) Lesson 1 How to prepare for a whisky tasting: a) The smaller the glass the better b) Use water to mix with the whisky or drink between the whiskies. This will enrich the taste, or bouquet as the professionals call it. c) Concentrate on smell (nose), palate (taste) and finish (after-taste) and finally overall impression d) If you want to eat something with it have some crackers or oat- cakes Lesson 2 How to taste a whisky: a) Swill the whisky around in the glass (but take care you do not spill it!) b) Put the glass just below your nose, smell it (but don’t take a breath too deep!) and describe what you smell – Is it fruit, vanilla, caramel? Is it fishy or smoky? c) Taste a wee bit and let it rest some seconds in your mouth. It can be soft or sharp, spicy or nutty, fruity or smoky. d) Finally swallow it. It can have a long or short aftertaste, gentle and fruity or sharp and spicy. UR+PO 17 Edradour Whiskey Distillery
  22. 22. The widest range of whiskies to buy can probably be found at Peckhams (Peckham & Rye, 155-159 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh, EH10 4DG, Uni- ted Kingdom, +44 131 228 2888) or in one of those specialised whisky retailers in the city of Edinburgh. So just pop in one of the following: Cadenhead Royal Mile The Whisky Shop Whisky Shop Whiskies 28 Victoria Street 172 Canongate 379 High Street Edinburgh Edinburgh Edinburgh EH1 EH1 2JW EH8 8DF 1PW +44 (0)131 225 +44 (0)131 556 +44 (0) 131 225 4666 5864 3383 18
  23. 23. The Forest My old wooden table is decorated with a beer bottle which serves as a vase for a yellow rose.While using the free WiFi I observe this girl sitting near me. She is getting a red cat out of her huge bag and starts to put colour- ful ribbons around the animal’s neck. The cat, feeling that her natural appearance is going to be significantly manipulated, escapes and hides behind an armchair. Crazy. But the people in here are crazy – crazy and young and artistic and open-minded. Meet the direct gateway to the friendly alternative milieu of Edinburgh:The Forest Café. Its offerings cover far more than a fine selection of tea, coffee, soups and wraps – you can also attend film screenings, live music, poetry or language courses. Everything is for free. So it is not only a meeting point for creative people but also a place for crea- tivity itself which is impressively under- lined by the mixed, partly old-fashioned and inspiring interior. The Forest is exclusively run by volun- teers from all over Europe and they spread an enjoyable international am- bience. One of those is now helping to catch the cat. Crazy café. WK bring your own alcohol from the supermarket and enjoy it here - no problem 19
  24. 24. 20 What´s on tonite?
  25. 25. CAMEO V Generally, when a cinema is tagged as the favourite in the whole world by no less a figure than Quentin Tarantino, it is time for the owner to pop the corks, as he should be set for life . However, the cinema in question is not the most profitable Art House venue in Edinburgh. With the Film- house just some 300 feet a way, The Cameo has found a worthy rival in the battle for the favour of the capital’s cinéasts. Curtain up for the competition between one of the oldest movie theatres and arguably the most important cinema in Scotland! Programme On one big screen (253 seats), and two smaller screens (75 and 66 seats) mainly alternative new-releases, but also foreign-language films as well as classic re-issues and documentaries are shown. Q&A screenings with guests from the film industry take place on occasion. The Double Bill on Sundays gives one the opportunity to see two related films at the price of one. Every week there is a different foreign-language film to be seen du- ring the European matinee. Interiors Eating and Drinking Prices The main auditorium BEFORE 5PM: full price £5.50, evokes reminiscences After having seen a Programme concessions £4.20 AFTER 5PM: full price £6.50, of the past through its terrific movie, a visit concessions £4.90 highly elegant Edwardi- to the Café-bar is a an style, which has been must. Have a coffee in MO: full price £4.50, concessions largely unchanged since a relaxing atmosphe- £4.20 the inception in 1914. re, listen to the golden WED FIRST SCREENING: The sensation alone of 20s music and see £1.50 for concessions holders sitting in the cosy seats WEEKENDS: full price £6.50, if you can name the concessions £4.90 and enjoying the feeling numerous actors and of being in an abso- directors on the walls! Concessions available for lutely unique place is students, children under 15, worthwhile. claimants, senior citizens 21
  26. 26. Filmhouse Programme Next to the latest international arthouse releases, the Filmhouse offers a wide variety from the history of world cinema. The films that are shown on one big screen (280 seats) and two smaller screens (97 and 72 seats) are thoughtfully compiled into different seasons, such as “Totally Tati” or “The Best of Czech Cinema”. As this cinema is able to screen 70mm, it sometimes offers screenings of silent movies, which are accompanied live by a piano. Whoever experiences cinema at its origins in this way, can consider himself lucky! On the second Sunday of every month the film buffs compete in an extreme- ly tricky quiz, which makes even experts sweat. Participation in groups up to 8, starting at 9am. It is however recommended to get there early in order to get a seat. Interiors Eating and Drinking Prices The interior design is BEFORE 5PM: full price kept simple, yet prac- After having bought your ticket, £4.90, concessions £3.30 you will notice there is something AFTER 5PM: full price tical. When entering £6.50, concessions £4.90. missing. Yes, the Filmhouse the Lobby, one’s sight does not sell any popcorn or first falls on a collec- sweets, and as is turns out, this FR: BARGAIN MATINEES: tion of outstanding is quite convenient. One can fully full price £3.60, concessi- DVDs, which can be concentrate on the film and not ons £2.10 purchased. In front of be bothered by the eating noises of a neighbour. Nevertheless, Concessions available the screen in the main for students, school one can have a reasonably priced auditorium, there is a meal or a drink afterwards. The pupils, children under 15, stage, which is perfect café-bar is also a good place to claimants, senior citizens, for Q&A screenings. chat to other film-lovers. disability or invalidity status CONCLUSION It is difficult to decide which cinema is better – in the end it all comes down to each individual’s personal taste. The real winner in the rivalry between the Cameo and the Filmhouse, though, are the movie-goers of Edinburgh: The fact that the programme directors seldom show a film which the other cinema is already showing, makes Edinburgh’s range of films so uniquely diverse. ES 22
  27. 27. You’re in for a wild and varied mix if you choose to chew the Bubblegum on Saturdays. Since the The Hive tries to appeal to as many people as possible, you’re likely to meet both heavily made-up girls in short skirts and high heels and more alternative-styled folks. An open-minded attitude is therefore necessary. You can go mental to the usual floor-fillers and as soon as they play that tune that you’ve just heard too many times, you can head over to the second dance-floor and rock out to your favourite indie song. The atmosphere in these spacious underground vaults is perfect for party- people from 18 to 22. 11:00-3:00am - free entry before 11:30 Go through the dirtiest, darkest and shadiest underground passage of Edinburgh. Don’t let yourself be put off by the smell of you- don’t-want-to-know-what. Follow the narrow back-alley, turn right and climb a couple of steep steps. Et voilà, you made it - A bright sign tells you your destination: the grv. Unlike the ugly path you had to pass, the small club you’re about to enter seems very clean with its light-coloured wood and the stoney walls. You may order a beer, have a seat and ponder about the reason why someone put so many things as peculiar as a sewing machine or the little dog from “Toy Story” into the cupboard behind the bar – or you can discover unknown, young bands just before their breakthrough! ES 23
  28. 28. Pub crawl If you have ever dreamed of getting to know as many pubs of Edinburgh as possible – and you just have one day to do so – you need to go on a so-called pub crawl: one of the most popular evening activities of Edinburgh. In general, it seems that a Scotsman somehow feels the need to get drunk pretty fast and early. This is due to the fact that pubs mainly close pretty early, which means around 1 am. Consequently, pubs are already full and crowded around 7 pm. While wan- dering through the crowded streets full of bag-car- rying customers in haste time seems more precious because of shops closing their doors at 6 pm. Time travelling begins when passing extrovert, young, fancy-clothed students and when short skirted, high heels wearing, laughing girls cross your way – ready to party. For some tourists this might be a pretty new and unusual experience – but don´t worry – although it might seem like it is already somewhat after 11 pm your watch truly is set at the right time, and it really is just 7 pm, and yes: these loud, eccentric, joking and laughing drunken people ARE definitely drunk. Lucky the one who gets to know the Scotsmen on a Friday! This is the day to ob- serve suited Businessmen drinking lots of pints of beer during their lunch break with the purpose to get drunk in order to be prepared for the evening. The purpose of a pub crawl – next to getting drunk – is to spend the night in as many pubs as possible. Unsurprisingly, each pub has its own flair and its own party-attendees so that you see and (if you want to) talk to a big variety of younger as well as older people partying, all of them in a good mood and willing to share a drink with you. There are crowded and busy pubs as well as more chilling and cosy pubs. Traditional, old-fashioned as well as modern and plain pubs. Smaller as well as bigger ones - younger as well as older ones - loud as well as calmer ones. Moreover, there are the ones which are more trendy and the ones which are rather alternative. There are the ones which offer live music (whether it is Jazz, Rock, Indie or Folk) and there are the ones with a Jukebox, a DJ or a CD. And last but not least there are the ones with Karaoke (mostly on Friday night e.g. Rose Street, Waterloo Place)! You see – all in all it is pretty unlikely for anybody to get bored while being on a pub crawl in Edinburgh. However, sometimes it indeed happens that one of the group members is not satisfied with the choice of current pub and therefore wants to move on. In this case this person should be tolerant and fair enough to wait until the group moves on, which will happen – depending on how fast the group drinks their beer or whisky - quite soon. Keep in mind that there are tons of other pubs waiting to be explored by you! 24
  29. 29. Rule °1: Start your tour early and don´t feel bad about it! Keep in mind that it might end early as well and pubs are closing early.(1 am) Rule°3 for one drink. : is alrea Be tolerant an Rule °2: Just stay dy wait d fair – ing for you do Rule you! It not like °4: K will not this pu sham eep a be long b? The until yo n e to miss n eye u get th ext one them on pubs ere... beca i use y n the bas ou ju e st ha ment! It ve no w t rec ould be s ognis u ed th ch a em. Rule °5: Be aware of the fact that dairy shops are not allowed to sell alcohol after 10 pm. r interests – us group with simila Rule °6: Try to crawl in a homogeno mind: there is a re fun! And keep in that is a lot easier and surely mo interest. Rule ° pub for everyone´s 7: standin Do not expec g at the tt bar nex o get a seat a t to an t old Sco the table – be tsman. satisfie d with Rule °8: There are pubs with live music, pubs with a dance floor in the back and there are clubs to go afterwards as well. Rule °9: Clubs mostly do not charge you an entrance-fee before 11 pm. Rule°10: Do no hesitate checkin g out royal and expensive look like The Dome on George Stre ing buildings et - these might be pretty cheap pubs to go. Good places to crawl around: Along Royal Mile – Southbridge – Rose Street – Geor- ge Street (the place where Prince Harry and Prince William go to Party) You can also attend an organized pub crawl (=£10) which is not just for those of you who travel on their own but for all the ones who want to be part of a big group. On the one hand you will crawl in a group of different tourists from all over the world and with different interests, and on the other hand it is guaranteed that all of them have the same aim: to get to know new people, to have a good and fun time, and of course: to get drunk. Another important fact to mention is that standing at the bar between lots of Scots- men does not allow you to hold the most serious conversation. But who wants to hold a serious conversation, anyway? GT 25
  30. 30. History and Culture 26
  31. 31. Between Innovation Scottish Parliament “We have a building which is more than a building.” Edwin Morgan The first quality I have in mind when I think of lost more lives than any other nation. Scottish people is their strongly expressed pri- While war was raging remote from home, de in being Scottish. But what does that mean Scottish husbands, sons and fathers were for them- being Scottish? Maybe, besides the sacrificing their lives while woman worked al- richness of tradition and culture, it is related most everywhere. This caused a fundamental to the fact that the last 100 years have turned change in established social structures. Scottish society topsy-turvy. An approach. Industry (originally dominated by coal, steel and heavy engineering) experienced weigh- Because of the improvement of shipbuilding tily transformations. These sectors, which through new technologies and practices, fishing once had been so strong, now needed state was revolutionised in the 20th century so that support. Heavy industry was replaced by the Scotland became one of Europe’s most impor- service sector, as well as by knowledge eco- tant exporters of sea food. As potentially one nomy and the light high-tech industry in the of the richest countries in renewable resources 1970s. The closure of Ravenscraig Steel Works and the one that gains its energy entirely from in 1992 was a symbol for the end of Scotland natural resources (such as coal, oil and gas), as a heavy industrial nation. The change in the Scotland is well prepared for the future and the textile industry was not less enormous. Where- financial sector is sympathetic towards Scot- as previously one in eight people was working land, since it had started growing very quickly in the textile industries the manifold products in the 1970s, as well.This development might were nearly reduced to tartan and cashmere. support the fallacy that Scotland had weathe- Together with the reduction of products, wor- red the storms of war very easily but the in- kers had to leave the factories. Fewer working heritances of the 19th century were hard to hours in the 20s were the result of globalisa- carry. tion and mechanisation, and subsequently a Not only because of the huge political, econo- lack of working places. People filled their free mical and social changes, which led Scotland time easily using the options modification, car the way to its today’s place in the world, the ownership and cheap holidays, which in the lives of most Scots were deeply touched by 1960s found their way into society. They be- World War I and II. Proportionally, Scotland gan to travel around while Scotland, however, 27
  32. 32. and Tradition be used to add authority to went on being the most the engrained wish of gaining political favourite place for taking holidays. independence and acknowledgement on the part of England. “The Sick man of Europe”, that is what Scotland Having conquered so many barriers on the was called and not without any good reason. way to finding their national identity, the Poverty, sub-standard living conditions and life words“There shall be a Scottish Parliament.”, expectancy lower than in the Gaza Strip marked written down in the Scotland Act of 1998, the 20th century. Poor housing and health as sounded greatly releasing to the Scottish peo- well as unemployment was tackled by creating ple. The labour government under Tony Blair new towns and programmes of slum-clearance. promised reform. On 11th of October, 1997 After the Second World War competing markets a referendum was held to decide whether a (in prices and goods) reduced smaller busines- Scottish Parliament should be established and ses to rubble and in times of the Internet a glo- about its ability to vary taxation. Unsurprisin- bal market for Scottish products was created. gly the majority of Scots answered both ques- A growing multiculturalism, votes for woman (es- tions with yes. tablished in 1918), their involvement in politics Finally, on 1st of July, 1999, the first Scottish plus the new-found voice of the working class Parliament met for the first time since the during the wars -of which the evolution of the union in 1707, full of ambiguity to start work labour-movement in Britain was an indication - as this had happened very seldom in history. made social life more colourful and innovative. Notwithstanding these great changes, new- Dealing with ordinary life was a daily occur- ly acquired improvements in society and rence until the 1970s, when people found time the well-deserved pride on being Scottish, it to question the loyalty to the Anglo-Scottish should not be forgotten that serious problems Union. still do exist, such as social deprivation and Therefore the foundation of the National Party poor health. Finding a solution must be the in 1934 (still a minority group) was a sign of re- ultimate goal for the future which is fast ap- covery from the gaping wounds inflicted by war. proaching. LJ Regained power and growing self-consciousness could now 28
  33. 33. Godavia 9 West Port In the front area those of you with fat purses can find interesting creations of young designers. In order to fill the leaks of your shopping bags the rest of you can rummage in the back room of Godavia. The mentality of giving and a corporate feeling seem to be traditionally deep-seated in Scottish peoples′ minds, not allowing to expect any thing as a reward for it. Therefore you can find lots of charity and vintage shops all over Edinburgh. Here are the very special ones. LJ 2nd Hand Shops Armstrong and Sons′at Grassmarket 83 Opening Armstrong’s door is like diving into another Barnardo′s Vintage world feeling captured by a nearly absurd mixture Store of eccentric, alternative and traditional styles. Huge 116 West Bow ruffled skirts and dresses are enthroning above your head, interrupted by lustres draped with pearl neck- Being most friendly wel- laces and other affectionate details, such as old music comed by the shop assis- boxes, commodes and extraordinary crazy figurines. tant you can launch into a You cannot stop browsing, here is a lot of everything! If you want to feel like a real lady (century is selecta- variety of clothing, enjoy- ble), are looking for a stylish everyday-outfit, or want ing a cosy living-room- to costume yourself, you need to come here. atmosphere at Barnardo′s personal and intimate little store. Run riot in trying out totally different styles! 29
  34. 34. Herman Brown Concrete Wardrobe West Port 50a Broughton Street You did not yet find the perfect dress for tonight? Hard to belie- Are you looking for something re- ve! But do not worry, you might ally special manufactured, individual not have a problem in finding a of high quality for decorating your stylish one here. home or yourself? In this shop you can get it – for less money than you might think. Prices start from £2.00. Nonetheless, you have to invest another 20 - £80 in order to acquire their beautiful clothes. But that is worth it! Joey Ds 50b Broughton Street Wearing Joey Ds visiona ry accessories you will stand out everywhere. Boots and hats rede- signed into handbags seem to be their speciality. However, this creativity has its price and the clothes are less un- conventional. 30
  35. 35. Culture Mainland of north England, a multitu “Sir Walter Scott’s land of brown heath and de of islands separated by the sea- shaggy wood, land of mountain and the flood” this is Scotland. This country is open, uninhabited and one of the last wildernesses in Europe. Remarkable to be full of contrasts, dominated by its landscape and its weather Scotland is a good mix of old and new. After some three hundred years of political union with England, the Scots voted to have their own parliament in 1997. The elected assembly is now sitting in Edinburgh. In times of political as well as cultural renaissance the Scots are faced with the challenge of redefining themselves. This important step brings hope and greater dynamics for the future to the country and its people. Scotland may remain part of Great Bri- tain but it has always been a country apart. And indeed the land and the people are in some ways truly different. About 80 percent of the population live and work in Edinburgh, Glasgow and between those two big cities. In the older days South Scotland was the centre for the textile industry but in our days people are increasingly moving to the big cities for work. Edinburgh and Glasgow “the principal cities” couldn’t be more different: Edinburgh, with its incredible charm and stone facades everywhere and much more compact than Glasgow and, on the other hand, Glasgow, one of the greatest cities of the colonial empire turned into a modern metropolis. The Scotland in common travel guides with old castles and romance means little to the majority of Scots who live in modern urban areas. Much of the big shipping and fishing industries of Scotland ´s proud industrial past have, gone anyway. A country is defined by its people. Scots continue to enjoy a good reputation around the world. Many of the stereotypes about Scotland and the Scots contradict the modern reality. Compared to the English, Scottish people seem more relaxed and optimis- tic. They are also open and friendly to everyone. This is particularly evident in the countryside, where it is rude not to take time to chat to people coming across your way. When, staying in Scotland you are immediately impressed by the wealth of history that virtually co- mes out everywhere in the country’s different districts. Edinburgh, with its granite terraces and churches is only one example of this wealth. It feels like the city has a story to tell on every 31
  36. 36. street corner, where you come across. This link to ancient times attracts visitors from all over the world. So history plays an important part in attracting visitors to Scotland. For many people the image of Scotland ‘s heritage, is packed in a big “tartan pa- ckage “and can bought in any tourist shop along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.” For anyone interested in Scotland and its people it is not easy to understand the cul- ture and defining a national character is complicated. The Scots are mostly portrayed, as being open- hearted and generous, courageous, mean and dour, high- sprited and cynical- all at the same time. Part of the difficulty lies in the fact, that not all Scots can be seen as one unified „ type“. Scots come together to celebrate a national festival but are also divided by class and geography. Whether buying something in a shop or just asking for the way, it is easy to slip into a conversation with the locals. The image of the Scots not being best friends with the English Neighbours is an enduring one and that Scots are proud people is beyond, the doubt. Traditions that are unique to Scotland have often survived the country’s past. The best known is Hogmanay. Originally an old Celtic festival to ward off evil spirits with huge bonfires, Hogmanay is now a massive party held in the New Year. Another Tradition comes here… PO 32
  37. 37. s Tarta n Time nd ‘s are Scotla g of the tartan the wearin clans and ing symbols. ion of the ur g peop le. The tradit most end h youn ighland lly wit , funerals, H specia ings in vo gue, e t wedd t. hd ress is , is worn a r a pub nigh e city. The nal Scottis k, the tartan st fo er of th Traditio ’s trademar times ju n every corn d some to ether t o Sco tland y ga mes an Tartan almos en tog t Rugb u can find sa nd wov balls, a rgh yo yal Mil e. d yarn bu the Ro rent coloure from. In Edin ous spot is e choose am up of diff tte rns to fami- most f made duct. tive pa ed for rtan is icoloured pro ber of distinc been reserv rt of th e The ta a mult um ave tant pa ion comes prod uce mber has a n ific tartans h en an impor t lan me century spec tans have be inspira nd. Each c of the tla e 17 th the tar wher e much olour in Sco ting to S ince th r clan s. But and this is ood c give g nically, it is only fit ur es o son ts that n. Tech er or y o ly nam s, in any sea ld plan e r moth Hig hland re a lot of o es deep gre ither on you on’t worry. here a le, giv me, e d ent from. T le for examp a clan surna cestry, ays inv yrt e im clan an o you can alw ile walking The m ou hav an t cla ns s y wh an if y ever if you c cent inventio you are luck we ar tart ow re re t. If side. H terns a n as kil father’s ys most pat t typical wor . aring it th a kilt. e- da os n we re a lif In our an is m can see me n undernea they a n.Tart u ac h, but s Mac- w your o Edinburgh yo g is ever wo 00 Pounds e r such a ames, eople, hrough ys that noth cost around in 3 clans n e tribes of p t sa ey et he old we r ame, Legend ’t cheap. Th till hav e clans ingle family n attle. e n t Scots s ampbell. Th as nd c Kilts ar stment. Mos nald or C under Highla ve do o gether ps and time in acduff, Mac iving t their own cro e M land. L , as th gregor, y blood and est, living of ighbour clan. f entury b d e he 18th c bonded e entirely mo ck by their n rvived into t r a u t hey we ey got att nomy only s oll ectors. ften th uto d tax c Very o em of local a and kings an at- s t This sy s had no law s , the p t Andrew indepen- Highla nd lises S uggle of symbo tr a Sa ltire. It bol for the s is called sa sym flies in Flag: otland used a . - also g of Sc s been 14th century e Union Jack PO The fla otland. It ha of the - th ron o f Sc dle gdoms he mid ed Kin since t g of the Unit here dence y, so go t The na . tiona l fla be expla ined easil d d, cannot Scotlan yered a s Scotlan self. hat is so multila discover for your A country t and 33
  38. 38. Dean Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art Fog. Leafless trees. Large grey fields of grass. No buildings. Just a 10 minute walk from Haymarket but you feel like in a tale of Edgar Ellen Poe. The sound of cars almost silent somewhere behind me while I am following the path. In the distance there is a yellow blurry light – like burning letters. Light to letters, letters to words. Through the thick fog I read: “There will be no miracles here”. A provoking phrase that emphasises the interest to explore the huge monumen- tal building that emerges in front of me. The Dean Gallery is close to the Gallery of Modern Art and both are rich and manifold residences of controversial art. One room and four grey squares on the walls. Coloured metal plates combined to make an odd sculpture. A crus- hed violin caught in a cube of glass. Confusing seemingly senseless film footage. Picasso. Warhol. Dada. Pseudo art? Genius? Trash? Beautiful? Even if you do not favour modern art – you will always ask questions and it always evokes at least some kind of opinion in you. You decide about the truth of the phrase mentioned above. Go for it, it´s free. WK 34
  39. 39. The Really Terrible Orchestra When really bad turns out to be really good – and successful The Really Terrible Orchestra of Edinburgh is the last refuge for hopeless musicians With some last shrieks and awkward noises the pie- ce which is supposed to be Scott Joplin’s “The En- tertainer” fades out. Were the American composer around tonight, he probably wouldn’t be too enter- tained. The four dozen men and women rehearsing at the Robertson Music Centre in Edinburgh’s West- end are a really terrible orchestra. At least, they have the decency to call themselves The Really Terrible Orchestra (RTO). It doesn’t require its members to have any musical skills. Just buy an instrument and join! The Edinburgh based troupe is home to all those who have never managed to play properly, the “last refuge for the musically disadvantaged”, as current chairwoman Pippa Lockhart puts it. Some members are just here for the fun, others take it more seriously and want to improve. Most of them played an instrument as a child, but stopped at some point. Then, after a few years or even decades, they found it in the attic, blew off the dust and joined the RTO. But some have never even had any musical experience whatsoever. Take, for example, Dorothy Leeming. “I asked our conductor if I could join if taking some lessons before.” To which he replied: ”Forget the lessons, just come”. And he made Dorothy learning 1st double bass immediately. Conductor Richard Ne- ville Towle, actually Sir Richard Neville Towle – there are still rumours if and why he has been knighted – stands in front of the musical crescent, swings his arms heavily and puts great effort into instructing the musicians. But hardly anyone seems to take notice. Most members are too occupied with the contrarieties of their instruments. Mr Neville Towle is the only professional mu- sician around here and has been hired by businessman Peter Stevenson and novelist Alexander McCall Smith who founded the RTO in 1995. “It started out of envy for our children play- ing in school orchestras”, Mr Stevenson re- calls. The two wanted that for themselves, but were way too bad for real orchestras. And so the RTO was born. Soon after they had their first concert at the Edinburgh Fringe. Yes, they have public appearan- ces. And quite succesful at that. They pro- mise bad music, and they deliver reliably. So far, the RTO has had concerts in Lon- don and New York, all of which were sold out. Which is puzzling, especially for for- eigners. Why do people pay to attend aw- ful performances? Out of schadenfreude? For the same reasons they watch horror movies? The horror of music, if you will? Music critics from German television to the New York Times have wondered about the phenomenon. In a strange sense of irony, the RTO has a music critic in 35
  40. 40. its ranks, as well. By day, Susan Nickalls reviews bad musical performances for the “Scotsman”, by night, she gives, well, bad musical performances. Her colleagues at the newspaper find her hobby “quite funny”. “It’s really eccentric, really British”, says Felici- tas MacFie, the self-announced “quota German” of the RTO. “You couldn’t do something like that in Germany.” Mrs MacFie doesn’t consider herself to be a really terrible musician, having had lessons for several years. But as a hotel owner and mother of six, she doesn’t have the time to practise. “Besides, I feel welcome around here.” Probably everybody does. The relaxed atmosphere within the RTO puts a stark contrast to the tenseness and competitiveness of ordinary orchestras. Rehearsals are as often interrupted by sudden laughter as by the conductor. Before each concert, both the audience and the musicians receive a glass of wine, “be- cause it’s more fun then”, Mrs Lockhart smiles. At times, there would also be audience participation of some sort, or a guest speaker would recite verses between the songs. “People come to see a variety show”, Mr Stevenson sums up. press photo Not all pieces tonight are actually terrible. The longer they perform, the better they seem to become. So does the RTO undermine the basis for its success by too much rehearsing? Will it have to be rebranded as the “Quite Decent Orchestra”? Chances for that aren’t high. The orchestra as a whole has probably improved 20 percent since the beginning, Mr Stevenson fi- gures, starting from a very low level. “So there isn’t any risk that we might become too good one day.” MB The RTO regularly performs at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. For further information see website 36
  41. 41. Forgotten Son of Edinburgh Economist John Law became the richest man in the world – but died a pauper Edinburgh usually celebrates its most eminent sons and daughters. Economist Adam Smith, for example, has a sta- tue erected in his honour on Royal Mile and his face on the Scottish 20 pound note. For some reason they seem to have skipped on his colleague John Law. “John Who?” Even most natives of the city reply with astonishment if you ask them about this early 18th century figure. Which is quite asto- nishing, too, since John Law was only the inventor of modern paper money, saved post-Louis XIV France from bankruptcy, controlled commerce for a great part of North America and rose to be the richest man in the world, maybe the richest man of all time, but wound up a pauper and dying alone and despised in a Venice hotel. But first things first: Born in Edinburgh in Wilson had been the son of an influential fa- 1671 as the eldest son of the goldsmith and mily and Law was imprisoned again. Howe- banker William Law, young John grew up at ver, he was able to flee with the help of some Lauriston Castle, a 16th century Edwardian friends and escape to Amsterdam, where he mansion in Silverknowles near the Firth of learned banking as a more practical approach. Forth which today is open to tourists. The Upon returning to Scotland around 1700, Law boy turned out to be brilliant at mathematics engaged in debates surrounding the Union and economics, but also knew how to enjoy with England and proposed his plans to The life. “Beau Law”, as the tall and handsome Scottish Parliament (see box). They were re- lad was called by his friends, had a love for jected and in 1707 Law had to flee again. Due the ladies and for gambling. For a great part to the Union the sentence against him became of his life he would make ends meet by se- valid in Scotland, as well. He toured Europe parating other people from their fortunes along with his lover Catherine Segnieur and at a card game called Pharao. At first, not their two children. Catherine was at the time very successful. Squandering his late father’s still married to another man. “I’m not marri- inheritance, he had to be bailed out by his ed, but my wife is”, John Law would joke. mother. After several other rejections he got his chan- At the age of 20, John Law moved to Lon- ce in France which had been ruined by the don in order to study mathematics, econo- late “Sun King” Louis XIV’s wars and opulent mics and political economy. But at night, he lifestyle. The new regent gave a way for Law’s went on with the hobbies mentioned above. banking project and appointed him Controller His charm and fine manners soon got him in General of Finances. As such he founded the touch with the higher circles of society, both Banque Royale which succeeded in reducing male and female. Not everybody was quite most of the state’s debts and made many fond of that. On April 9th 1694, Law fought reforms benefitting the common man. The a duel with a certain Edward Wilson over the thankful regent granted Law the commerce affections of a woman. Being an excellent monopoly for France’s overseas territories in fencer Law killed his opponent on the spot. Northern America, Lousiana. Had Law died He was found guilty of murder and sentenced at this point he might have been considered to death just three days after the incident. a national hero in France.But his ruin was Later the accusation was reduced to mans- about to come. Law founded the West Indian laughter and the sentence commuted to a Company whose shares were affordable for fine. But his victim’s brother appealed. peasants and servants, as well. 37