There is a shirtless man with his hand on the hilt of a two foot long sword. He opens his mouth and puts the tip of the blade in. Inch by inch the sword disappears, until the jeweled handled is all that can be seen. Triumphantly he stands, his arms like outspread eagle wings.
A smattering of applause.
He nods appreciatively.
Grinning, he removes the sword before moving to the next part of his act. He ostentatiously flips a switch on a mechanical torch. It alights instantly. He has one guest stand with the flaming torch. He jokingly declares that the “Americans love this.” The entertainer then pulls a bed of nails from his other props. I know what’s going to happen already. I’ve seen this particular performer before on the Royal Mile and yet I still stop to watch.
The Royal Mile in Edinburgh is arguably one of the best places to watch street performers. It’s not as crowded as other major cities, yet still has an excellent atmosphere. Performers can easily draw a crowd as tourists wander in and out of the cashmere stores. (Tartan cashmere gloves and scarves are perfect souvenirs, unless you’re sending gifts to relatives in Florida). Stuffed toy Scottie dogs, fudge and kilts fill the walls of every store, and nestled in between the shops are the pubs. Each advertising the best price for a pint! Even an upscale inn is located on this famous street. Go upwards on this slopping street and at the top you’ll see where Edinburgh Castle majestically stands.
George Eliot once remarked that “ When I look out in the morning, it is as if I had waked up in Utopia.”
As I savor the sight of Edinburgh, I can’t help agreeing.