Scotland the Brave

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With all the Harry Potter-mania of late, not a day has seemed to go by without hearing something about the popular book and movie series. As the spotlight has been shining on author J.K. Rowling quite a bit again in the last few weeks, it’s also put her home city of Edinburgh, Scotland front and center in the public eye as well.

In my book, Edinburgh is worthy of the attention!!

If you have never been there, put it on your list of places to see. It’s absolutely magnificent, with the landmark Edinburgh Castle and “old town” perched above Princes Street, the main thoroughfare and a busy shopping area.

And if you’re up to some crowds, a great time to visit is during the month of August, when the city hosts the annual Edinburgh International Festival for three weeks. There, you can enjoy performances by world-renowned artists at stages across the city.  Theater, dance, music and more – you’ll see it all.

The popularity of the Festival has inspired a number of other groups over the years to stage festivals concurrently, so you can also take in what has come to be known as the “Edinburgh Festival Fringe,” as well as the Book, Film and Jazz Festivals, and my personal favorite, the Military Tattoo.

The Tattoo alone is worth the trip.

Staged on the Esplenade of the Edinburgh Castle beginning at twilight, with the castle walls lit by torches, the Tattoo features performers from all around the world. And while you can see it on television, there’s nothing quite like being there.

There is always some variety in terms of the types of music, but it’s the spectacle of the massed band of pipers and drummers that is truly something to behold. It’s touted as the finest display of military bagpipe music anywhere in the world – and I believe the claim!

At the close of the program, high on the castle ramparts, a lone piper plays. Then, a fantastic fireworks show!

A note about Tattoo: it sells out consistently, so make sure to get your tickets early. One year ahead will guarantee you a seat.

To check out audio clips, photos, and information about Edinburgh Castle and the city itself, visit the Tattoo’s website:

http://www.edinburgh-tattoo.co.uk/index.html

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

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