My 3rd day in Scotland was Thursday, December 30th. This was the official opening of the Hogmanay Festivities in Edinburgh (even though much had been going on already!). Today our friends from northern England came in by train. We met them, had lunch and a few drinks at my favorite pub, Deacon Brodie's, which is located on the Royal Mile. You can see a picture of it here. Actually, we spent several hours there catching up and staying warm.
Then we had a bit of a walk along the Royal Mile window shopping and of course we stopped for another drink in a different pub.
It was time to line up on the Royal Mile for the Torchlight procession. We had to get in line by St. Giles. We went a bit early so that we could buy torches. This ceremony is actually a version of the Up Helly Aa Fire Festival usually associated with the Shetlands. It's a good thing we went early because they had upwards of 25,000 people there and we were fairly close to the front. They lit torches toward the front and then those people turned around and lit the torches of the people behind them and so on and so on. It was pretty neat to see the fire coming back toward us like a wave!
(I think I'm a little too excited to be getting ready to play with fire!)
Once most people had their torches lit, the line took off down the Mound, along Prince's Street and up to Calton Hill. Music played and supposedly there were bagpipes toward the beginning of the line, but I didn't hear any during most of the walk. Several times we stopped for pictures or to get out of the way of other people's pictures and glanced back at the wave of fire behind us. It was absolutely amazing to see!
(These were the friends who came up from Newcastle, England- Alison and Leanne!)
When we reached Calton Hill, and they stuffed us in like sardines, it was time for the burning of the "Viking" boat. Again they played music while the flamed licked the night sky.
And finally the fireworks....
After the ceremony, we walked back up to the Royal Mile and to Maxie's (the place JK Rowling worked) for dinner. It was a fairly early night for all of us (11:30) because we wanted to be well rested for the last day of 2010.
Next up will be pictures and stories of how I spent my last day of the year in my favorite city in the world.