At A Glance:
  • Upcoming departures:
    Aug. 11 – 18, 2019

    Sojourn begins:
    Edinburgh, Scotland

    Sojourn concludes:
    Edinburgh, Scotland

    Price from:
    $3,145/person (DO)
    $3,795/person (SO)

    Combines with:
    Vikings and Sagas


  • Dubbed the “Athens of the North” for both its stunning beauty and its rich, intellectual heritage, Edinburgh certainly has a long heritage to be proud of. This is the city that was at the center or the Scottish Enlightenment, and its picturesque cobbled streets have been home to a number of great artists and intellectuals, including philosopher David Hume, economist Adam Smith, and novelist Sir Walter Scott just to name a few. It was here that poet Robert Burns – widely regarded as the National Poet of Scotland – was catapulted to fame and world-wide recognition. It is not surprising, therefore, that this city also provided the fertile ground on which to nurture what began as a tiny, “fringe” gathering of artists and performers and allowed it to grow into the largest arts festival in the world, taking place over three weeks every August.

    The Fringe story dates back to 1947, when eight theater groups arrived uninvited to perform at the Edinburgh International Festival, an initiative created to celebrate and enrich European cultural life in the wake of the Second World War. Not being part of the official program didn’t hinder these performers – they simply staged their shows on the ‘fringe’ of the (main) festival anyway – coining the phrase and the name “(Edinburgh) Festival Fringe”. In subsequent years more performers followed their example and by the early 1960s the Edinburgh Fringe Theatre Festival flourished. In fact, in terms of size, economic importance, artistic significance, and sheer excitement, the Fringe Festival quickly overshadowed its purported center. Today, Edinburgh plays host to thousands of artists performing in shows at a mind-boggling 250 venues across the city. It is here that everybody has a stage – from big names in the world of entertainment to unknown artists looking to build their careers – the festival caters for all and includes theater, comedy, dance, physical theater, circus, cabaret, children’s shows, musicals, opera, music, spoken word, exhibitions and events.

    Our week-long sojourn in Edinburgh is planned at the very height of the festival, affording us the opportunity to soak in the vibe and see some of the very best performances. Over the course of the 8 days, we attend twelve performances as a group and allow plenty of time for participants to attend other shows of their choosing.

    We also seize the opportunity to get to know Scotland in more detail, beginning with a private, guided walking tour of historic Edinburgh which introduces us to the medieval street plans, the main monuments, and some of the unique architectural gems found here. Later in the week, we enjoy half-day excursions to the historic centers of Stirling and St. Andrews and one afternoon we make a short trip to nearby Glenkinchie Distillery where we explore one of the Scotland’s most celebrated exports, known throughout the world as Scotch Whisky, but known to Scots as uisge beatha, the “water of life.”

    Throughout the week we enjoy a series of daily briefings and group meals during which our tour leader engages us in lively discussions of the works we have seen. These allow us to more fully explore their relevance, artistic merit, and impact. Together we ponder questions that help us to more fully appreciate the performances and the efforts of the artists as we contemplate the way each has made a lasting impression that we will carry with us long after we have bid farewell to the bustling, cobbled streets of Edinburgh in August.

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