It was a cold night and the morning was no better. We layered our clothing on -thermal jumpers under our jackets, thermal tights I'd been carrying for seven months and never worn, gloves... but it was still cold.
We caught the bus to the city not really sure where we were going or what to expect... We got off the bus when everyone else did, and happily found ourselves in the middle of the action, looking at the castle on the hill.
But before exploring, we need to eat! So we found a cafe where it claimed we could have breakfast "The Italian Way"... we weren't really interested in having strong coffee and a piece of bread, so luckily having breakfast the Italian way actually meant eating a big English breakfast. Phew.
Nourished, we headed back into the bitter cold and started walking around the Princes Street gardens looking at the sculptures and different angles of the castle. When the rain turned from a mist to a down pour we took refuge in St Johns church until it grew lighter again.
Walking up the hill to the castle we saw a man walking in our direction who looked like Billy Connelly... as he got closer we realised it was him. With his head down, trying to blend in... We fought the temptation to heckle with ING slogans...
The streets were full of action. We stopped to watch a couple of street performers and realised we'd walked into the middle of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. There were people posed as statues, magicians, dancers, ci singers... we enjoyed the free entertainment but on our currently VERY limited budget didn't enjoy the guilt trips at the end of the show demanding large sums of money. We tipped when we really enjoyed the performance, but not for those who weren't enjoyable.
We went to a 'free' comedy showcase with six fairly unknown performers. A couple of them were quite funny, but one in particular, a self-described thin red-headed guy, was completely not funny, but openly blamed the audience for not laughing... calling us racist against him and 'ordinary'... I felt sorry for the other comedians in the set because this guy left us all feeling negative and not very willing to open our wallets...
Our next attempt at a free comedy showcase was much more successful. It was hosted by a really funny Aussie and the performers were all good. They were trying to drum up support for their paying shows in the evening, and if we'd had any money we definitely would have gone to at least one... but with six pounds left, just enough to buy subway for dinner, we called it a day.
We'd had a great time in a beautiful city, and we felt lucky to have stumbled into the city's biggest festival of the year.
Sam and Shanna Evans are from Melbourne, Australia