While a few of us were on the ferris wheel, a couple more of us climbed the 287 winding steps to the top of the Walter Scott Monument. All the times I've been in Edinburgh and I never knew you could climb up inside! Apparently they have space for you to take pictures on each level. As you climb up, the stairs and the space to climb and take pictures get narrower. (More narrow???) Maybe next trip I'll brave it!
This first picture is at the base of the monument looking up.
These next 3 are pictures from the various levels of the monument.
Back in our hotel, the girls who came up from northern England brought champagne, so we had a toast. Then we went across the street for an Italian dinner, which was fantastic. After that, we dressed for the cold weather and made our way to the street party. We wandered a bit down Prince's Street, glancing at the big screens, the other people partying and those lucky enough to have a view of the street from a warm and cozy home or hotel room.
At 9, the gates to the Garden Party opened. We went inside and quickly found a spot on a hill, one on the outskirts of the crowd pushing toward the stage. Bands played for the remainder of the night. People came and went. The porta-johns were nearby, but far enough away we couldn't smell them or the kids getting sick from drinking too much. (Kids, I say, but they were just younger than me!) It wasn't as cold or as crowded as I'd feared. I'd been worried that we would get a spot, get squished and not be able to move. But we had plenty of room to sit, stand, dance and take pictures! We could see the lights in the trees and on the stage. Time went fast. Just before midnight, one of our party went for a bathroom run and we didn't see her again until a good fifteen minutes into the new year. She claims she got lost on the way back, but maybe she found a handsome Scotsman to kiss! As with most places, there was a countdown to 2011 and Auld Lang Syne played. For that, groups of people gathered together and held hands during the singing.
Then the spectacular fireworks began over Edinburgh Castle. I didn't worry about taking too many pictures then because I didn't want to miss the show and well, the pictures never do something like that justice anyway. Just take my word for it. The show was SPECTACULAR!
Shortly after, we headed back to our hotel where we had a few more drinks along with TONS of other people. Our party dwindled as people kept leaving to go to bed. 3 of us remained and as we started back up to our rooms, we were accosted by a couple sitting in chairs in the lobby. We wished each other Happy New Year. Then the man shared pictures of....his mother and his dog with one of us while the woman talked to the other 2 of us. She also had trouble staying in her chair. CLEARLY they'd celebrated for a LONG time!