About Janet Canning

Traveler, CT/TECHED Teacher, Costumer ScotsIrishEngWelsh Punk, PostPunk, Celtic, Irish Punk

Edinburgh Off The Path Things to Do This Winter

HighStreetPubWhat can you do when the holidays have wiped you out financially, and the traditional down time of winter from the New Year to March has got you down. Many flock, if they can get cheap flights, to warmer climes around the globe. What do you do if you are very poor after the holidays and you are also looking at the taxes blues. How can you budget to get away or do the staycation thing and feel like you are escaping the winter drears? Hopefully, you caught a great cheap flight to sunnier climes, or for you hopeless romantics, going to the country of your dreams may be much more affordable during the winter months. Flights will be cheaper for non traditional tourist months as will the accommodations. Can you plan a great trip with the idea that you will have 6 to 8 hours of sunlight during the day, as opposed to the summer where you can have until 11 pm for sunlight? Pack for colder climes but see great sights as the natives do.

I often vote for the obscure, out of the way things to do, and as many low budget or free activities as possible. Remember, museums are free in many countries and great for rainy days. Cafes are great places to dodge the elements, but there are more entertaining ways to do that.

Head to Scotland!

Edinburgh

Edinburgh is known for many things, including its centuries old tradition of training some of the best surgeons in the world. It’s twisty wyndes will get you pleasantly lost and overhead streets and underground tours will make for an eventful saunter.

I always vote for a music tour if you can find one. Edinburgh had it’s own great Punk history as well as a post punk explosion in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Everything from Punk to Funk. As always on tours, check reviews on Trip Advisor or local Yelp to see how these tours are doing.

Edinburgh Musical Tour

http://www.edinburghmusicaltour.co.uk/

Edinburgh Music Tours

https://glasgowmusiccitytours.com/edinburgh/images

Mary King’s Close

The Closes of Edinburgh are fantastic twisty stairways that often have shops and historical places leading off of them. This close sadly had a terrible history with the close being blocked off by the city in the 1600s due to plague, and all inhabitants became trapped. This was a common quarantine action in the days of the plagues with many large cities forced to try to contain a disease they did not know. Thankfully the city took reasonable care with the inhabitants, those that were healthy enough were moved, and others stayed behind with food being left for them. These days, the close is one of the many great routes through the city.

https://www.realmarykingsclose.com/

Surgeon’s Hall Museums, History of Surgery Museum Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9DW, UK

I can attest to the amount of weird fun you will have here. Not for the squeamish, houses really great, bizarre medical specimens that have been collected over 200 years have gathered here at the training college. Rows of jars filled with unique human issues that helped surgeons understand the human body, often with the conflict of medicine of the times and laws that would limit exploration to treat people effectively. There is an exhibit of Burke and Hare, the famous body snatchers and murderers. Burke was hung and dissected, with his skin used to cover a book.

Check days and times before you go.

https://museum.rcsed.ac.uk/

https://www.rcsed.ac.uk/

Old Calton Cemetery

Nothing better for a weird cold day than to visit the various cemeteries of Edinburgh. I confess that I have done the cemetary walk as a self tour, just hitting up all of the cemeteries and kirkyards of the city. This cemetery had some of the best 18th century to Victorian effigies and funeral arts in the world. Great places to dodge out of the rain. They are quite lovely in the snow as well, and free. download

 

Barnton Quarry Nuclear Bunker

Yup, the nuclear fear hit Scotland too. This bunker was set aside for the Royals to escape should the need be. Secret until 1963, it was purchased back in 2005 with the intent of turning it into a museum. You can see the exterior of the facility, but due to fire it’s full of asbestos. If the bomb doesn’t get you.

Record Stores

Yes, you vinylphiles like to travel. And it’s such a danger being on vacation and finding Scottish and UK music records where they were produced, used, and maybe in mint shape if you’re lucky. Check with these shop and see if they ship, or very carefully gather up all your acquisitions before return trip and  in the appropriate sized and padded record box, ship it back home to your best friend who knows your fiendish record fetish. You’d do the same for them.

VoxBox Music 21 St Stephen Street, Edinburgh

Born out of the Gramophone Shop, which is across the street, it’s an Edinburgh institution and has some rarities for you. Vox Box has the front room with new and very good used selection of all genres. The back room is a bargain hunters paradise. Something for every budget, and a dodge out of the rain.

Unknown Pleasures 110 Canongate, Edinburgh

I have been in this wee boutique shop, it’s loads of fun. It’s at the bottom of the Royal Mile, convenient to having tea after. Vinyl and CDs.

Underground Solu’shn 9 Cockburn St, Edinburgh EH1 1BP, UK

Coda Music  12 Bank St, Edinburgh

Coda

Want more record fun after your music tour of Edinburgh, read this.

The Best Record Shops in Edinburgh

Hope you enjoy your trip to Edinburgh. Let us know what strange, fun, things you can do on a wintery day there.

 

What to Do for Free in Amsterdam — Free Tours by Foot

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This post will include a variety of free things to do in Amsterdam, including a Top 10 list. We also cover free things to do at night as well as free, family-friendly activities. Top 10 Family-Friendly Nighttime Activities Seasonal (Month and Season) TOP 10 FREE THINGS TO DO In the following section, we…

via What to Do for Free in Amsterdam — Free Tours by Foot

Holiday Markets: The Push, the Jingle, Music and The Food!

Many countries and cities have their version of a Holiday Market. While the countries’ population may vary greatly in religious custom, many cultures have a special Market in the winter, weather permitting. It’s a great way to take the holiday, whatever it is, and make it about people gathering for food and drink. So even if you are not one who celebrates the Christian Holy Days, you will find a Holiday Market chocked full of food, grog of some sort, and entertainment. Hopefully bands will play in halls nearby if not in the streets, and there will be entertainment for all. So grab a hot toddy or chocolate, make sure you wrap up, have a pal on your arm, and swing around the market.

Ireland

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Dublin Town has several Pantos already lined up, head to the Grafton Centre, a large trendy shopping area in Dublin. The performances of The Snow Queen will be on, and at the Olympia, Polly and the Magic Lamp will be on. Great fun for families. But what of the REAL Dublin markets. Each quarter will have it’s on festive wear and food will be everywhere. Head for the George’s Street Arcade, one of the oldest shopping areas in Dublin. The stalls harken back to days of old, and you will be fit to burst by the time you get through a bit of it, with food and fun for all ages.

Many other cities in Ireland have their holiday on as well, Galway, Cork, Limerick and Belfast all have big Holiday Markets. Dublin at Christmas.

London

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London, UK. Of course when we think of the Holidays, we tend to get Dickensian about it. Of course that means Scrooge and Holiday Trees and that feeling of olde time London. There may be that bit of festive feeling about, but London being the massive eclectic hub that it is, and people from all around the world making it up, you can find a festive holiday mood in many areas. There are several small areas with a local feel for markets, many pop-ups with food and wares that can fit any holiday, however many of them pop up seasonally for Spring/Summer and traditional Nov-December runs. Here are a few areas to check out. Remember, pop-ups are usually local people, not chain store, restaurants and that’s what is so great. Variety and helping out the real people of London is the thing.

Southbank Wintertime Market, gifts and food stalls.Continue walking the Thames and progress on to other shopping areas.

Christmas in Leicester Square, near Covent Garden, has a great many theatrical venues. While you may find a Panto advertised, it will be far from traditional. Heavy entertainment area and plenty of food and gift stalls.

London Holiday Markets

Scotland

Scotland can boast the classic Holiday markets and the Hogmanay celebrations as well. Hogmanay runs the week after Christmas, so if you are lucky to make it through the 25th and stay on, there is a lot doing in the run up to the new year.

Hogmanay in Scotland Festivals

Edinburgh

2018-11-30

Don’t miss the markets all over Edinburgh. If you are lucky enough to make it there for Holiday and Hogmanay stay, you’ll be stuffed to the gills. Stay from the scales! Markets to try out:

Christmas Market at the East End of Princes Street. There has been a bit of controversy over this area, as recently many trees were cut down for the market. So chose if you wish to support that decision by the city to take the trees away. Markets are open from 10am – 10pm. Markets open at 1pm on 17 November, close at 8pm on 24 December, are closed 25 December, open 12pm 26 December and 1 January.

Pop Up Seasonals will be at Multrees Walk in the fashionable side. Head to the downtown area centre for more magical treats.

Edinburgh’s Christmas

Hogmanay Festivals

Glasgow

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Head to George square for outdoor Holiday Markets, foodie festival fun at pop ups and gift stalls.

Markets

St Enoch Square Christmas Market
Fri 9 Nov – Sun 23 Dec
Mon – Wed, 10am – 9pm
Thu – Sun, 10am – 10pm (finish at 6pm on Sun 23 Dec) Christmas Village, German Bars

George Square Christmas Market
Sun 25 Nov –  Mon 31 Dec (closed Christmas Day)
Mon – Wed, 10am – 9pm (finish at 6pm on Mon 24 Dec)
Thu – Sun, 10am – 10pm (finish at 6pm on Sun 31 Dec)

George Square comes alive this Christmas with over 50 traders from across the globe, as well as closer to home, selling artisan products and high quality crafts.
And don’t forget Hogmanay
Every weekend, 11am – 6pm
Royal Exchange Square
Sat 1 & Sun 2 Dec, 11am – 4.30pm
The Briggait

 

 

 

European Cities to use as Travel Hubs (Part 1: Central Europe) — Caitlin Jean Russell

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Thanks to budget airlines, travelling to the continent has never been easier – or cheaper. If this is your first time travelling to Europe then it could be overwhelming to pinpoint exactly where to visit on the mainland, and often cities are in such close proximity to one another it is frustrating to have to…

via European Cities to use as Travel Hubs (Part 1: Central Europe) — Caitlin Jean Russell

Abandoned and Derelict Places Throughout Scotland — Travels with a Kilt

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Places to find great photog ops while in Scotland. And their is never a shortage of that. If you get the chance to go to Scotland, plan on several trips. You just can’t take it all in on one.

Scotland’s Most Gripping Derelict Places If you have been following my activities on social media in recent months, you’ll likely have noticed that old, abandoned and derelict places have featured regularly. I’ll admit it, I’m hooked. Fascinating, beautiful and massively evocative wreckages litter Scotland on a scale that I had no appreciation of and that…

via Abandoned and Derelict Places Throughout Scotland — Travels with a Kilt

Almost the Orient Express

Looks like it could be a grand bit of fun, but really Ireland is not too big that you need a sleeper. But if you like to spend days doing other things and not on hours long train ride, this may be the thing for you.

In and around Dublin

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The fare to travel in the lavish new sleeper carriage on the Dart is eye-wateringly expensive.
But it takes more than that to deter the afficionados of the cheeky extra morning snooze.

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Music Festival Trash Travesty

Reading-Festival-2013-Trash

Reading Festival Aftermath

We come together to enjoy outdoor music festivals from spring to fall equinox, hopefully getting outside without rain to enjoy open air music and other acts,  and the company of great friends. There are music festivals for all genres and some that mix the genres to have as many party goers as possible, which of course means more of the all mighty Dollar or Euro for the promoters and hopefully some for the acts. These affairs can be small at county fairgrounds or at massive historical estates, with camping and mayhem. Or the hugely successful and amazingly well organized chaos, like America’s Burning Man, that started over twenty years ago as a nomadic gathering, and has now become a massive commercial venue.

Images of Sicily’s Fantasy Festival have hit the news. It’s the end of the line coming up for Europe’s large music festivals over the next few months. In the US, Electric Zoo just finished up with some festivals continuing into the late Fall. No matter our age, we still flock to these music festivals, sometimes with whole families going. It’s a right of passage of youth, university and since humans were once nomadic tribes, just is natural. From the  first stadium madness gigs in the US and those very lucky to be in Europe and live amongst castles or sacred places like Glastonbury, can attend some amazing music and revelry. There are many private estates with a castle and battlements where the cash poor landed gentry are happy to take money, put up stages, and bring in the bands. You can listen to some of your favorite music, meet friends, hopefully survive the three to five days if not just day tripping, and come out fairly unscathed. Then leave a trail of devastation behind you. That’s right, people can lay waste.

Music festivals have become great venues to showcase new and upcoming bands, to old favorite bands playing for decades, as well as political and Eco causes. Because they are so future friendly, you will see vast rows of sorting bins for your refuse, that rival  the rows of portable toilets. Not to mention science exhibits and save the world booths. At the garbage collecting sites, you read the international signs for food, paper, plastics, and all other disposables. You may have helpful people there directing and correcting you, and some of them militant Neo Hippies berating you if you get it in the wrong bin. The intentions are good. But why is it there is still so much human debris left behind on the grounds similar to a mass migration? The situation is getting more and more dire as more festivals pop up every year. Yes, the music festival can really line someone’s pockets, but the cleanup becomes quite questionable. Do you trust them to dispose of the waste in a correct and safe manner once you leave even if you think you got it in the right bin?

The Gripe

What I hear of mostly in complaints on Twitter is the disappointment in this festival or that one for the bands being really bad, or the sound system not working, or the biggest gripe, not being able to get out of the car park for three hours. No one really looks back at the trash that’s been left behind. Have you read any of the articles that come out each year, talking trash about the trash? Our past three years we have raised consciousness about plastics getting into the oceans, our great Pacific Garbage Patch. This years cause Celeb is the plastic straw. Did they all get in the plastics bin, if they are allowed due to their recycling emblem. Wait, do they put that on there?

What makes thousands of people who probably recycle like fiends at home, suddenly forget how to do it? Is it some mass hive-mind mentality of abandonment? Some of these events can go on for more than 3 days, some events go for a week. If you were camping in the woods, would you leave your tent behind? In some instances yes. Some revelers mistakenly thought that the tents they left behind at the Reading Festival this past August in the UK, were destined for charities. Commonly, a rumor gets started or a mass assumption occurs, it’s like a massive pass day at school where you are forgiven a homework assignment happens. You don’t have to take what you brought in back out, the magic butler robot will take care of it. Festival clean up crews call many local homeless shelters and charities after they look at the fields, but much of the sleeping bags, tents, cookers and any other camp gear gets hauled off to landfill sites if not shipped around the world on endless barge runs like the rest of the waste on the planet.

And in some cases, many attendees really thought they were doing what they were told. In some festivals, organizers have told revelers to leave behind tents or bags, they were being collected for a refugee crisis. Then the festival didn’t follow through. Later attendees find out and realize they contributed to a serious problem. To be on the safe side, always take your stuff with you. You can donate it yourself on the way home with a charity. Maybe take that extra step and do some research before you go and if anyone talks to you at the event not sure what to do, set an example and tell them what you plan to do and why. You can start a new trend.

So Why is it Always Someone Else’s Problem?

So, do you think it’s great for the planet to trash a music festival, even if it’s on private space where the rich landed gentry live because maybe you feel a little ripped off? Did the band you love have a gripe with the festival? Whatever the convoluted reason, do you really think it’s fair to protest by leaving a squalid mess behind? Really, think about it. If festival goers keep being this badly behaved, what do you think the chances are that more music festivals will happen? It’s true, there are greedy promoter types who make loads of money. You may even think that the bands are getting serious bank. Really though, depending on the venue and contracts, many of your favorite bands barely break even going to a gig like this. Some of them donate time if it’s a charity event. And if it’s a charity event, they still have to pay for cleanup, so that money is not going to the charitable cause.

Gripe Back

Contact a festival before you attend it, have your friends do the same. Get a campaign going. Ask them how they are going to manage disposing of the collected trash. Organize others around you. Take it back with you, donate if you don’t need the sleepers or tents. Take that time to look up homeless centers on your route home. Have a garage sale when you get back.

So what is the answer, the one that is so obvious? I think it’s really hypocritical to have an Eco Spectacular Save the World Festival and leave thousands of tents, sleeping bags and piles of trash behind. I guess maybe someone in your favorite punk band will stand up at the end and say. “Hey, you! Don’t forget to take your trash out of the park!” They really shouldn’t have to, shouldn’t you set an example? Go on, take it back.

https://metro.co.uk/2018/07/20/huge-sea-waste-left-behind-music-festival-everybody-leaves-7740173/

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/08/28/festival-goers-abandon-tents-mistaken-belief-go-charity-experts/

https://whyy.org/segments/burning-man-leave-desert-squeaky-clean/