Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Fellow travelers, Margaret and John, are visiting from Edinburgh, Scotland so I took the opportunity to grill them on the "Tattoo". It's an amazing army celebration full of pipes, drums and kilts. Regimental bands from Scotland and all over the world stun the crowd with their music and precise formations. One year they had a regiment of camels. This military musical spectacle takes place on the Esplanade at Edinburgh castle - every night for three weeks in August. It's all out in the open. Spectators sit on scaffolding seats flanking the entrance to the castle. Though it is late summer in Scotland you may need to take a rug. John says you can get four seasons in one day in Edinburgh. So if you are wondering what to pack - Margaret says to pack very warm clothes. Every night the show ends with the Lone Piper playing a haunting lament. People hush to hear the "skirl o' the pipes". This moving performance is followed by spectacular fireworks that light up the Edinburgh sky.

Neither John nor Margaret knew where the word "Tattoo" orginated. The only "tattoo" I know refers to the artwork I have on my body. With a little investigation I found out that it dates back to the 17th and 18th century.....when it was closing time in the inns in the low countries you would hear the cry "Doe den tap toe" or TURN OFF THE TAPS.

I've missed the Tattoo this year but another is coming. It's time to plan to visit Edinburgh during 4-26 August, 2006. For more info and great photos you can check out the site

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