Travel theme: Play

As soon as I saw this week’s travel theme on Where’s My Backpack, I knew I wanted to join in. The theme is Play… what could be more fun than that?

The first thing that came to mind when I read the title of the theme was playing games. Then I remembered this photo that I took right here in Karlsruhe a few years ago:

Flying frisbee
Flying frisbee

A few people from the student residence I was living in were throwing a frisbee around and I managed to get a shot of it in mid-air. Not bad, even if I do say so myself 😉

My next photo shows a different type of game… Rugby! Jan wanted to attend a rugby match, so my dad bought us tickets for Newcastle Falcons vs Worcester Warriers on 27 December 2008. The game was fairly disappointing, ending in a draw, but at least he can say he went! If you look closely at the photo, you’ll notice the ball on its way between the posts. A conversion for the Falcons!

Rugby

Of course, games aren’t the only thing that can be played. How about instruments? Here’s KT Tunstall playing in Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh on 1 January 2011.

KT Tunstall and band
KT Tunstall and band

And finally… humans are not the only creatures who like to play. I took this picture at Karlsruhe zoo last year:

Looks like somebody found himself something to play with...
Looks like somebody found himself something to play with…

Cute, isn’t it?

The weekly travel theme is open to submissions until Thursday. To join in and see how other people have interpreted the theme of “Play”, go to Ailsa’s blog post.

Travel Tuesdays: Edinburgh

Since I have absolutely nothing to talk about today, I’m linking up with Alex from Ifs, Ands and Butts and Helene In Between for Travel Tuesdays. Today I want to tell you about one of my favourite places on Earth: Edinburgh.

Edinburgh castle
Edinburgh castle

I first went to Edinburgh as a child, for the sole purpose of going to the zoo (Newcastle doesn’t have one, so we traipsed to Scotland… as you do). I’ve since been there several times and actually managed to look at things other than the animals.

The most recognisable landmark in Edinburgh is, of course, the castle. One thing you really must do in Edinburgh is head up there for a close-up view. It’s pretty impressive (well, it is a castle). As is the view you get of the city from up there.

Castle entrance
Castle entrance
I can see the sea from up here!
I can see the sea from up here!

One of the things that attracts me to Edinburgh is the architecture. I’ve already mentioned the castle, of course (did you know it’s built on an extinct volcano?). Then there’s St. Giles’ Cathedral, with its incredibly intricate entrance archway.

St Giles' Cathedral
St Giles’ Cathedral
Entrance to St Giles'
Entrance to St Giles’

But even the ordinary residential buildings appeal to me. I would LOVE to live in a house like the ones below – just imagine how much light those windows must let in!Houses

Then there are all the parks and green spaces. Here’s Princes Street Gardens:

GardensAt the back, you can see Waverley Station – another example of the impressive architecture that Edinburgh has to offer. Other park areas include Calton Hill and Holyrood Park. So much green right in the city!

Apart from the many things that I will never tire of looking at, the main thing that draws me to Edinburgh is its cultural offerings. I have been lucky enough to be there both during the Fringe Festival and at New Year (Hogmanay), and on both occasions there’s so much to see and do that you can’t possibly fit it all in! The Edinburgh festival Fringe, which takes place in August, is the world’s largest art festival, and a showcase for the performing arts. Theatre, comedy, dance, music… everything is represented. We were able to take in an improvised comedy show and see some live music by two very good acts (a folk band and a blues/country/folk musician named Eddie Walker – you can check out his website here). The pub where the gig took place is now my absolute favourite place to go for a drink in Edinburgh. The Guildford Arms is located just off Princes Street, so very central but not as touristy as the places directly on Princes street or along the Royal Mile. They have ten different Real Ales on tap (heaven for my boyfriend) and there’s also a restaurant upstairs, which I’ve unfortunately never tried. If anyone out there has/does, please let me know how the food is!

Eddie Walker at the Guildford Arms
Eddie Walker at the Guildford Arms

Our New Year’s trip to Edinburgh had just as much to offer as the Festival Fringe. We took part in a torch-light procession through town, starting from the Royal Mile, took in a candlelit concert at the Cathedral and spent New Year’s Eve at the famous Hogmanay street party. Then, on 1 January, we attended the open-air New Year’s concert, which that year featured KT Tunstall plus three other acts… for just 11 pounds a ticket! Probably my favourite New Year’s celebration ever!

Torch-light procession
Torch-light procession
KT Tunstall
KT Tunstall

 

Other things to do in Edinburgh include many museums (the Palace of Holyroodhouse, The Queen’s official residence in Scotland, is interesting, as is The Royal Yacht Britannia, now decommissioned and permanently berthed at Ocean Terminal in Leith), whisky tasting if you’re into that (The Scotch Whisky Experience is in Edinburgh) or shopping. The main shopping street is Princes Street, where you can find loads of UK high-street shops, such as WH Smith, while the Royal Mile holds the more touristy shops plus any number of bars and restaurants.

Holyroodhouse Palace in the rain
Holyroodhouse Palace in the rain
Old Fishmarket Close, off the Royal Mile, Edinburgh
Old Fishmarket Close, off the Royal Mile, Edinburgh

So, in summary, Edinburgh is brilliant and you really should go there! Now hop on over to Alex’s blog for more tales of travel!

Travel Tuesdays

Fun at Das Fest

It’s the weekend of Das Fest here in Karlsruhe, as I’ve mentioned.. ooh, I don’t know how many times over the last few days. For those who don’t know (and actually care), Das Fest is the biggest free open air music festival in Europe (I believe). Not the biggest festival, obviously, but the biggest one that costs absolutely nothing to get in. Occasionally they have big name bands/singers there, mostly before they become big names but there are some that play Das Fest even after they’ve become famous (the first band I ever saw at Das Fest was Jethro Tull by the way… back in 2004). Apart from the music there are various other things going on, including activities and entertainment for kids, a beach volleyball tournament and a freestyle frisbee show (where people do things like throw frisbees up in the air and roll them down their arms).

So last night we went along to Das Fest to see German band Sportfreunde Stiller play. I quite like Sportfreunde Stiller, despite the fact that they don’t actually sing that well. They’re fun though and, as mentioned yesterday, brilliant for people learning the language. They were the first German band whose lyrics I could actually understand without looking them up. They put on a good show last night, made people laugh, had the crowd dancing and I was very pleased that I could sing along with almost all the songs they played. YAY. Personally I thought they were much better than the band who played before them, Revolverhead. Revolverhead released a song for this year’s European Cup which was quite frankly terrible!

This morning we met up with some other people from my student residence (and some who used to live here) for breakfast at Cae Emaille. The food at Emaille isn’t brilliant, but it’s a student friendly place where everything’s cheap (and it at least tastes better than the so-called “Mensa” (canteen) at the university). After breakfast Jan and I went to buy some rubber ducks. No, not real ones!
Tomorrow at Das Fest there’s a rubber duck race along the Alb, the little river that runs through the park. The  money raised goes to SMA Deutschland e.V, a charity that helps children with muscular atrophy. So even if you don’t win it’s worth taking part. And for those who do win there are some pretty good prizes, including a hot air balloon trip for two, a Canon printer and a football signed by KSC, the local football team (who are actually quite good and have made it into the top division).

Tomorrow it’s off to Das Fest again for the classic breakfast (bring your own breakfast and have a picnic in front of the main stage while an orchestra plays classical music) and the duck race. We decided not to go this evening because it started chucking it down and neither of us is particularly interested in Fettes Brot or KT Tunstall (who I’ve just discovered spells herself KT… and I’ve been calling her Katy all week. I’m sure if she ever discovers my blog I’ll be devastated!)

And now I shall leave you. I think I’ve rambled on for long enough!