I am currently in Edinburgh for a ‘city break’ long weekend with the hubby. We knew before we made the last minute booking a week or so ago that it was set to be a busy weekend with France playing Scotland in the 6 Nations rugby. However I don’t think we quite anticipated how busy it would actually be and moreover how FRENCH it would actually be…
Pulling up at the hotel the first thing I noticed was a French market and creperie stand:
I got quite excited about this as I do love anything French – especially if it’s food related.
When checking into the hotel I heard an excitable buzz of French accents surrounding us and noticed lots of signage up in French. For a split second I questioned whether we might have somehow mistakenly flown to Paris rather than Bonnie Scotland.
My confusion didn’t stop there. When venturing out into the city centre and the Golden Mile ALL we could hear were French voices and ALL we could see were swarms of berets and French flags. Trying to get into a pub for a drink and bite to eat was an absolute impossibility with every inch being taken up by boisterous French rugby fans.
Eventually we managed to get a table in an American style diner – not the quirky pub we’d hoped for but at this point we were willing to take anything. However, even in here we seemed to be the only non-French tourists, so much so that the waiter was genuinely surprised to be serving two non Frenchies (and also possibly slightly relieved) with loud chants of ‘Allez les bleus’ erupting around the room.
After lunch we decided to go to the Scotch Whisky Experience for some Whisky tasting thinking it would be rude not to after hearing somewhere that Scotland is the only place in the world where Whisky outsells Coca Cola…or maybe that’s Irn Bru?! Either way, whilst queuing for a ticket, again we seemed to be the only non-French tourists in here, noticing that there were special deals for the tour aimed just at the French:
When reaching the front of the queue, we were pretty shocked to be told by the assistant that the whole tour would in fact be conducted in French and, if we needed to, we could listen to it in English via a special headset…!? This didn’t particularly bother us as I thought it would be a good opportunity to practice my French… It was just rather fascinating – the extent to which a tourist attraction had re-adapted itself for it’s clientele on this particular weekend:
We really enjoyed the tour and the opportunity to taste and learn about different types of Whisky, despite the bizarreness of it not being conducted in English, in the UK…! If anything I think it added a little bit more amusement to the whole experience…well for us anyway as there did happen to be one other rather disgruntled looking British couple who seemed a little lost among the sea of ‘Ooo la las’.
The rugby match took place last night and saw the French win in the last 5 minutes. Even today there are still swarms of French tourists in and around the city clearly enjoying a long weekend. Edinburgh certainly is a beautiful place and a great destination for a short city break – even if it does feel more like we are in France right now. Perhaps tomorrow once all the rugby fans have departed we might get more of an authentic Scottish experience?!
One thing’s for sure – Scotland may have lost out on winning the rugby match, but they’ve certainly scored lots of points and earned heaps from tourism by pushing out all the stops to cater to a specific target market this weekend!