Places I've been, Things I've seen

Edinburgh Christmas Market

Edinburgh Christmas Market was every bit as amazing as it had been explained to me the year before. My Scottish friend who I met in Edinburgh last week went with her Senior Section Lones pack last year and the letter she sent me left me in a state of jealousy that didn’t want to go to my own Christmas market because it was a disappointment in comparison to what I experienced in this letter.

Arriving by Tram into Edinburgh’s Prince’s Street it was impossible to miss the market. The street was alive with colour and smells and music that instantly put you in the mood for festivities. There was a wheel that I was desperate to go on because as a Divergent fan I cannot resist ferris wheels or big wheels. There was a spinny ride that I wasn’t sure what was but mistakenly thought was like a giant version of the Flying Machine ride at the theme park I worked in over the Summer. I was excited to go on that one as well. There was ice-skating, there was a helter skelter. I wanted to do everything, I wanted to soak it in and never leave it. And this was all just what I could see from waiting outside of Clark’s for the Scottish one to meet us.

After dumping our stuff at the Travelodge and a million hugs for the friend I hadn’t seen since June, we left and got dinner. Dinner involved Pizza Hut and a general impatience to get to the market. The Market came as desert and one of the first stalls we stopped at was a French/Belgian one with Crepes and Waffles. As a lover of all things French but also someone who appreciates a good waffle this was a hard decision to make. Eventually it was made through realising they had cinnamon sugar for the Waffles. Cinnamon being one of my favourite foods ever, I had to got with that.

One instagram picture later, I was devouring the waffle and instantly felt warmed and Christmassy. One of my friends was struggling with hers because she had golden syrup so eating with her fingers wasn’t an option but eating with a chip style wooden fork wasn’t exactly easy either. It was amusing for the rest of us to watch, but at least she enjoyed it.

The rest of our evening was spent exploring the Market. None of us really bought anything much after our Waffles, we were too busy soaking in the experience. When songs came on that we were fans of we found ourselves over-dramatically singing along with them. We were cold, the wind was whipping right through us, hats, gloves and scarves could do very much to protect us from the Scottish Winter, but we didn’t seem to notice it. The market was demanded too much of our attention for us to complain about the weather.

The Market was a range of chocolate stalls, sweets, nuts, fruits, wooden objects, russian dolls, tree decorations, mulled wine. All lit by fairy lights that trailed over all the stalls. We wandered down to the Children’s Market section and me and Tasha fell in love with the Christmas Maze but disappointingly it was about to close so we couldn’t go through it that night. It was lovely to look at, a collection of Christmas Trees with lights around them, with paths to try and get through. We would have to go back to it.

Once we had enough of being on our feet, we made the joint decision of going back to the travelodge and playing a Card Game instead. But don’t worry, we were quick to return.

The next morning we went back to the Market, this time on a mission for breakfast before our days activities. For me and the Scottish one, that meant Crepes – Nutella for me and Golden Syrup for her – for the other two it meant Waffles. As it was raining, we rushed to a section of the Market that was under cover and ate them. That certainly got us ready to face the cold, bitter and wet morning.

The next time we came to the market, I feel like I took in the stalls better. I fell in love with a stall that had voodoo doll keyrings of fictional characters, ranging from Minions to The Joker and Superheroes. It wasn’t until our last night there that I bought one though, they had Logan (The Wolverine) and I couldn’t resist it.

That wasn’t the first keyring I bought at that Market though. The first came from the Russian stall. I have fallen completely in love with Russian Dolls this year at Christmas Markets and while I knew I couldn’t safely get an actually doll home, I did know that I could get a keyring home with no problem. I asked my Scottish friend (Going to call her Scottie from here on out because she would rather her name not used) to pick one for me because I loved them all. She picked the blue and white one because they were Guiding colours and I have to agree that she made a brilliant decision on that.

During our many visits to the Christmas Market, we were tempted by different things along the way. Scottie bought herself a ‘pleasingly wooden mouse’ that had cute little leather ears and a permanent shocked/offended expression on its face. She got a sheep version as well for her Granny. I got some wooden tree decorations that had been carved out of wood that still had the tree’s bark on it. One of them was Mary and Joseph and the other was Jesus’ manger. It took me ages to find two that were religious but I didn’t want to get ones that were just snowmen or something. Scottie bought some nuts for her bus journey and since I was there with her this was a great opportunity to try all the free samples that I could no longer afford. Turns out Nutella goes really well with anything, including cashew nuts.

While they we did get around to the rides, me and Scottie found outsides on the opposite side of the spinny ride to Chris and Tasha. Scottie was in an instant panic the second we were off the ground telling me how much she disliked it. Basically the ride went up up and up and around around and around. As we were going around, I was laughing at the crazy height we were at and how tiny that damn tram looked. Scottie was unimpressed with how close we were to the monument, it literally felt like we could’ve kicked it. Don’t worry we couldn’t (yes I kicked out). Scottie’s panic moved over to me but I was trying to keep it quiet and pretend I didn’t feel like the seat was tipping forward at a dangerous angle. Scottie and I started singing we wish you a merry Christmas to try and take our minds off of it. And when we got off, Tasha was the only one who wanted to go on it again.

We didn’t. Instead we went to the Big Wheel. Queueing was boring and we were split in different directions, but luckily we were able to go together when we got to the front. I was sat next to Chris and facing Scottie, while Tasha was next to Scottie and facing Chris. I did not enjoy the Wheel at all. I was sat there staring straight ahead and pretty much not moving or speaking for the majority of the time around. I think I said all of two sentences while we were on it “How many times does it go around?!” and “£12?!?!” when discussing a Ghost Bus Tour (which did in fact turn out to be £18 and we didn’t go on). Going around I was trying to tell myself that if Tobias Eaton could follow Tris up a Ferris Wheel with a terror of heights then I can survive this damn thing, but my mind was too busy focusing on the fact that the wind was moving our entire cart and it felt like we were going to take off.

Needless to say I was happy to be back on solid ground. I was in such a rush to get away from the thing that I almost walked into a couple of people getting out of the carriage next to ours. After almost screeching “no” to my friends asking if I was okay, I started to feel better. Scottie felt the need to point out that I was oay on the high fast spinny thing, but not the wheel? I reasoned that I can deal with speed and height but not slow height.

On our last night in Edinburgh me and Scottie went Ice Skating. Chris and Tasha washed and Tasha had Scottie’s posh Nikon camera taking pictures of us. Once we got through the kurfuffle of getting our skates on, I was trying very hard not to laugh at Scottie’s inability to stand up straight on them, even on normal ground that wasn’t ice. I have the advantage of being used to inline skating.

Finally we were called and told we could go on the ice and we were off. Well, I was off. Scottie was clinging to the edge, trying to work out how to stay upright. A lesson that she didn’t learn very well for a while. In our session I believe she fell over six times. One of those came because she tried to push me over after I innocently asked her what falling over felt like. I stayed upright and she fell from the effort. I am a nice friend though, I did help her.

A spent half the time making sure she was on her feet and not her bottom and half my time quickly skating around the whole rink and lapping her shouting “On your left”. Chris joked that he put money on the wrong person to fall over. I am known for being pretty clumsy but I’m all right on the ice. Scottie told me she felt like Bambi, but by the end of the session she was able to skate across the centre of the rink without holding onto the edge or my hand. Had we had another half an hour I have no doubt she would’ve been confidently skating all around.

Getting off the ice rink was one of the most disappointing things. I wanted nothing less than to get off the ice. I didn’t want solid ground beneath me, I wanted to go back to sliding around. I wanted to be forever sliding. But Scottie needed to go back to the travelodge and change because she was soaked from falling so many times.

Dry clothes on and dinner eaten, we went back to the market and me and Tasha went to the Christmas tree maze because this was our last opportunity. We were told that it was £3 and I was very put off because that’s a lot of money to walk through some trees, but Tasha really wanted to go on so she offered to pay for me, because she’s awesome like that. So we went in.

We had been given this card and we had to find five stamps, rearrange the letters and work out the word to get a prize on the way out. We were in there ages. Finding the first four letters wasn’t too hard. We had T, S, F, R and Tasha was thinking that it would be an I to make first. We were wandering around a long time, and almost wandered straight out of the maze itself before we finally came across the O stamp. The word was FROST. We took it to the end of the maze and we were both given a packet of chocolate coins and me and Tasha both went up to Scottie and Chris to tell them that this was the best maze ever.

Edinburgh’s Christmas Market is something that I would recommend to anyone who finds themselves in Edinburgh around this period. Even if you don’t buy anything, it is worth it just to walk through and soak up the atmosphere

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