Edinburgh looks even better at Christmas. I know, I didn’t think it was possible either.
A few weeks ago marked the beginning of the Christmas season here in Edinburgh. As I’ve been previously described as the human incarnation of Buddy the Elf, it comes as no surprise that I was very excited for everything the merry season had to offer. For Chris and I, this particular festive term marks a lot of firsts for us. It is our first Christmas together, our first Christmas away from family, and our first Christmas in Edinburgh. It’s going to be different, and there will be many times where we will miss home and all of our people, but ultimately I am almost aggressively excited. We’ve made a pact to absorb as much as this city has to offer at this magical time of the year, and our very first stop was the legendary Christmas market.
I was lucky enough to spend quite a few hours here last year, mostly spent squealing on a Ferris wheel, and had waited almost 365 days for Chris to finally show up. The Edinburgh Christmas market has been around since 1999, it smells of cinnamon and sugar, and it’s my kind of place. The market is full to the brim with decorations, presents, and about a million different things you’ll want to eat. I mentioned before that when we were in London Chris was gutted that he couldn’t taste the nuts that were being roasted throughout the city. Well Edinburgh to the rescue as this market had peanut free packs! Chris has bought quite a few bags. There might very well be a bag in his coat pocket now. Our next, but equally exciting discovery was raclette. An ooey, gooey cheesy French concoction that might be one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. But what do you expect from melted cheese and bread? In the end, although I was unsuccessful in convincing Chris to go on the star flyer, we did spend a solid few hours meandering through the market, taking in all the lights and sights and smells. We left feeling rather stuffed and mirthful.
The next day we dawned our festive jumpers and set off to do some serious Christmas shopping. By complete chance, this also turned out to be the day that George Street turned on all its Christmas lights, transforming into a veritable sparkling wonderland. A lovely happy accident if ever there was one. The streets were blocked off and half a dozen stages were set up along the road, each one filled with rotating school choirs and dance troupes performing their festive best. It was a wonderful atmosphere in the truest sense of the word. We were completely off guard by the event and I’m very thankful that we happened to be out and about at that exact time. Especially when, out of nowhere, they announced that Susan Boyle was going to perform her favourite Christmas carol and lead the countdown. So there we were, standing in the middle of George Street, listening to SuBo perform silent night, accompanied by the voices of however many hundreds of people were around. When the carol finished the countdown began, and once we hit 1 the streets were aglow with Christmas lights and the sound of fireworks being launched. The lights were lovely and sparkly and everything you’d want out of festive lighting, while the fireworks were just plain impressive. They went on for a good five minutes and by the end the air was filled with the smell of gunpowder and the sound of deliriously hyper and wide-eyed children.