Things to at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

By Priyanka Bhat 

Come in August and you would find us packing our bags and heading out to revel in the magic of The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the biggest arts festival  held every August for three weeks in Scotland’s capital.

The opening of the Edinburgh Fringe Fest

This year, block your dates, pack your bags and head out to – The Fringe (Aug 5 –  Aug 29).

Joie d’vivre…it’s a journey where music plays to your soul – sings to your core and draws you within its folds.

And if the arts scene is not enough – the journey to Edinburgh will take your breath away too. Whether by rail or road, via the Highlands or the Borders, the landscape is spectacularly breathtaking.

The fans: The magic: Behold the sight

Behold the sight: Every year thousands of performers take to the stage at venues all over Edinburgh to present shows for every taste. The festival caters for everyone and includes theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre, musicals, operas, music, exhibitions and events.

The dance of surrender @ The Fringe

Tips for first-time visitors to The Fringe:

1.       First, pick up a free copy of the Fringe 2011 Programme. This 300+ pages guide to the festival is available at book stores, newsstands and main areas of the festival. You can also download the Fringe App for free (iPhone & Android phones)

2.       With over 2400 shows held at more than 250 venues, choosing what to see can be daunting. Start by going through those sections of the guide which interest you the most – be it comedy, dance, music or any of the other categories.

The fans cheer on @ The Fringe

Other ways to decide could be the dates of the shows, location of venues and ticket prices.

3.       Free events: The Fringe hosts a number of free events – Watch as world class street shows, buskers and entertainers of every talent imaginable descend upon 12 performance spaces on the High Street section of the Royal Mile or catch free street theatre at the Mound Precinct.

For more info:

4.       Visit the Half price hut (located at the Mound precinct) which is the place to grab a bargain. Thousands of tickets are available every day at half price. Open from 10 – 29 August, the Hut offers tickets only for the day of purchase. Information on what shows are on offer can be found at the Hut and through the Fringe App.

5.       For almost all Fringe events, seating is on first-come, first served basis – Reach the venue at least 30 min prior to the show as the audience will start queuing up for seats.

The Magic of The Fringe

6.       Explore Edinburgh during the Fringe:  Experienced local guides show you historic places, from the castle to Holyrood Palace, including narrow closes and secret gardens and relate stories of famous people who lived and died there. Or simply head out on your own and discover the magic of the land.

7.       Wanderers unique Fringe experiences:  Learn the art of wine tasting & appreciation, have a couple of beers, enjoy a show and unique stunning views.

8. Open your mind… and your heart
Edinburgh’s population triples during the festival, so that means there will quite a few people around. The good news is that you can always rely on a good ol’ British spirit – and queue – in the most unlikely of places!

Queues are a great place to make friends and get festival recommendations, so make the most of your time in line.

Keep a sense of humour about it all as you move around town and an open mind: swap any emerging ‘crowd rage’ for a lovely dose of ‘festival fever’.

9.     Fringe not enough for you? Edinburgh also hosts 5 other summer festivals around the same time:

Edinburgh Art Festival 

4 August-4 September

Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo 

5-27 August

Edinburgh International Festival

12 August-4 September

Edinburgh International Book Festival

13-29 August

Edinburgh Mela Festival

2-4 September

10. Most of all, just sit back, relax and enjoy the ambience – where else in the world would you find the whole city buzzing with festival spirit for 3 whole weeks?

About  Priyanka – When she is not traveling or daydreaming about her next trip, Priyanka enjoys reading, photography, running the Mumbai half-marathon & meeting new people. Her life’s purpose is to explore as many new places as she possibly can, during this lifetime.

Wanderers Travel Tales: Europe in a houseboat

By Meenakshi Shankar

A Houseboat adventure – in the lagoons of Venice

A holiday to remember is how I would put traveling around Europe in a houseboat – a world removed from touristy hotels and villas; a world where a sense of freedom and adventure beckons you –  wherein you could chart your own course when you take hold of the wheel of a houseboat.

Simply put …in a houseboat, everyday the choice is yours.

Breakfast by the lagoon in the Houseboat

The brochures invited me to come and explore a different journey of sorts.

Which is what prompted me to shrug away the usual ‘hotel’ accommodation and board a houseboat – wherein, every morning, the balmy breeze would caress my wanderin’ soul and come twilight …. sipping my glass of wine, I would let the alluring beauty envelop me. My neighbors’ who would drop by to say a quick hello – would be a handsome swan pecking at a porthole of my rented houseboat waiting for some handouts or seagulls who would keep me company on an odd day.

Well, this is exactly the kind of thing that I signed up for – a world away from the usual. In the dreamy European city, Italy, laced with canals, there’s water, water everywhere, and well, I thought I might as well stay on some. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I booked myself onto one of the city’s hundreds of houseboats – Would it rock back and forth, or bob up and down? Would I get a hot shower and a decent night’s sleep? Would I get cabin fever, or worse, become seasick?

Needless to say – all my fears were unfounded — and every expectation was exceeded.

I signed up for a boho lifestyle aboard my own personal houseboat and it was a bargain – (some of the very best are for rent, and at prices on a par with three- or four-star hotels).


Shopping at the local market


The advantage:
You can move around while sunbathing on the dock with a book, grilling steaks, or indulging in other pleasures that car, plane, or train travel would prohibit.  Even the most banal daily chores, like making beds or washing dishes, become a novelty when they’re performed on a floating abode.


Glorious sights – off the tourist trails

The landscape slips by. Squadrons of swallows skim low over the water ahead of the bow. Cruising into the glittering path of a shaft of morning sunlight, with the smell of bacon and eggs cooking on the on board barbecue, it’s easy to see why people choose to live on a houseboat.

Life is visibly slower.

And if you are traveling with children -I believe there’s no better place for children to live out their Huckleberry Finn fantasies. Pelicans, carp and young boys have a symbiotic relationship. On a good day on the river, with only a bit of bread for bait, the fish virtually throw themselves on the hook, and the boys throw all their efforts into catching them.


Sailing away on my houseboat trip

Reasons to head out on a house boat trip around Europe

1. If you are a Wanderer like me and want a slice of travel with an edge to it, then a house boat trip is a definite must try. It’s different and panders to your Wandering soul.

2. There is a freedom to discover…unearth and feast on the glorious sights, landmarks and cuisines. In fact, you could discover more than the usual fare. Sailing along, you could chance upon a little tucked away cove, a tiny island hidden away from the usual tourist trails, a quaint cafe which serves the best breakfast…all of that and more.

3.  At first glance, it may seem that houseboats are an expensive option (because they look plush) however they work out to as much as a 3-4 star accommodation.

4.  Yes, it is an ideal getaway for a family vacations – simply because it gives you a feeling of adventure. Pirates of the Caribbean, Huckleberry Finn and other fantasies come alive – it’s an adventure like none experienced before.

5.  There is no license required to drive a houseboat. It’s very easy to work your way around.

6. The best part of a houseboat trip is the simple fact that there are so many options available –

Go on a long weekend – a perfect break from your routine.

A week long trip/roundabout trip – The best way to enjoy your holiday sights. You can take in all the sights and explore the wonders at your pace.

2 week plus – For those who want to simply enjoy the feeling of being on a boat and wandering.

7. The boats are fully equipped – so you don’t miss out on the creature comforts. It’s luxury redefined.

Meeting new friends – warm smiles, glorious sunshine

8.  Catching up on your reading, nurturing your writing skills, meeting new friends,  fishing, angling …the possibilities are endless. The freedom to bask in the glorious sun and do things that you otherwise wouldn’t have done in a holiday trip is what makes a houseboat trip ‘oh-so-tempting’.

9. Cycling tours available – The houseboat trip is not just ‘a world of waterways’ –  you can leave your boat securely moored in a safe harbor and jump on land. Explore the local museum, the market – enjoy the rich flavors of the street side café and more…In fact, some of the islands in Venice’s lagoon are considered sanctuaries for cyclists.

10. The houseboat trips are available in France, Holland, Ireland, Italy, England, Germany, Belgium, Scotland

Check out our latest package on Ireland