Link to photo dump.
It was just a coincidence that we arrived in Edinburgh at the tail end of the world-famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Wikipedia says that it is "the world's largest arts festival, with the 2012 event spanning 25 days totalling over 2,695 shows from 47 countries in 279 venues."
I didn't go to any of the shows. I just wandered around looking at the rides and vendors and street performers along the main drag, called the Royal Mile. (That Ferris wheel looked fun, but I distrust rides set up temporarily for fairs.)
I liked the framing of this next shot as soon as I noticed it, for exactly one reason: the odd (and only temporary, because of the festival) juxtaposition would allow me to title it "Castle and Bouncy Castle."
Neither part of that was really true. The "castle" is just a monument--though a huge one, to be sure--to Sir Walter Scott. (Kudos to Cyndie, who climbed the stairs all the way to the top of it.) And the "bouncy castle" is actually a water ride in which the riders don't get wet. They enter these clear plastic spheres that get carried along in the stream. But I stuck with the picture anyway, because I still thought it was funny.
What follows is a bunch of pictures of some of the hundreds upon hundreds of posters I saw advertising the festival's shows. Some impulse in me made me decide to take pictures of the ones that I would have been interested in seeing if I had been there for the festival, so that you can see what peculiar (scary?) taste I have.
If you've never been exposed to the idea of a "fringe festival" before, well, now you have a taste for how bizarre they are.
But here's the real meat of this post: the street performers.
That's my voice you hear at the beginning. He saw me pull out my camera, correctly deduced that I was going to make a video of his next song, and started calling me "Mr. Video." And yes, I kept my promise. (In fact, I contributed to the collections of all the performers I taped.) I threw my last few small coins in his guitar case. Then I came back later after having bought a couple of things and breaking my bills, listened through three more songs, and bought one of his CDs for six pounds, plus an extra pound for the good street show. I liked him a lot.
(By the way, a shout-out to my awesome new camera here. I can't tell you in a number of lux how much light there was where Richard Blues was playing--but I can tell you that it wasn't much. The sun had gone down hours before, and he basically had on him just the incidental light that spilled out of a couple of nearby shops. Sony is trying to distinguish its camera from the competition by giving them far larger sensors, which, among other advantages, gives them superior low-light capability. See here and here. I'm positive that if I had tried to shoot this with my old camera, you'd have seen some vague, grainy black shapes moving against a black background, with a bit of stray light coming from the edges. With what I got--well, nobody's going to be fooled into thinking that it was high noon, but it's usable, which, in a situation like this, is all you can ask for, and more than you usually get.)
Wandering around the streets of downtown Edinburgh was the first extended block of time I had had by myself since my solitary walk along the banks of the Avon river in Stratford. Of course, it wasn't as scenic or tranquil as that; few things could be. But it was weird and energizing and delightful in its own way, and I'm immensely glad I got the chance to do it.