In Edinburgh we stepped up from our hostel accommodations and stayed at a beautiful B&B. It is run by a French family (believe it or not) and they were absolutely lovely–even made home-cooked breakfast in the mornings!
We spent a lot of time just wandering the hilly cobblestone streets. Every store we passed was so quaint and picture perfect. The cold weather also made it perfect to pack into any of the old pubs and grab a drink. One awesome memory was when we saw the end of a wedding procession with a bagpipe in the front! I have always been a fan of the bagpipes and have dreamt of a wedding where they are played…seriously!
But the main attraction of the stay in Edinburgh was Hogmanay/New Year celebrations. We had tickets for the Street Party on New Years Eve but other than that we hadn’t planned on any other activities. So when we left our tour of the castle one afternoon we saw so many people holding giant wax sticks. We knew there was a torch lighting ceremony but hadn’t been aware of where or when. So after asking around we found the station to buy a torch and decided to kick off Hogmanay with the other 5,000 people carrying torches through the Royal Mile and up onto Calton hill. Ended up being my favorite thing we did in Edinburgh!
We all gathered with our sticks in the street around 6:30 and gradually everyone shared the fire with those around them. This was cool in itself; watching the street slowly light up with flames! By the time we finished the walk and reached the top of the Hill th torches were low and you threw them out into designated cans. Then there was an amazing fireworks display literally right above our heads! Organized to be perfectly in sync with music being played, it was an amazing display.
The next day we began New Years partying early in order to catch midnight in Australia (I did mention I was with all Aussie’s for this holiday). Spent the afternoon singing classic Aussie tunes and ringing in the new year. At night we went to the street party where we counted down the seconds until 2011 with 80,000 people! It was one of the biggest crowds they have had.
New Years can sometimes be a let down. I really can’t remember when I had a super time ringing in the new year because there is always a let down of some sorts. But I can honestly say that spending New Years the Scottish way was the best decision ever! I would do it again every year if I could.