With the dust now firmly settled on yet another fantastic Hogmanay in Edinburgh, over the next few days we’ll be catching up with a few of the travel bloggers who participated in #Blogmanay, a unique chance for people to instantly share their Hogmanay experiences in Scotland by harnessing the power of social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram.
First up we have Amanda Williams, the author of travel blog A Dangerous Business - a name inspired from a quote in Tolkien’s classic, The Lord of the Rings. Amanda hails from the USA (Ohio to be precise) but in recent years she has fueled her passion for travel by blogging about her experiences in countries such as China, Iceland, New Zealand and Romania to name just a few. We caught up with her to pick her brains about her recent adventures here in Scotland for #Blogmanay. Let’s begin!
(1) Tell us a little about yourself. What’s your name and what’s your blog about?
My name is Amanda Williams, and I am a US-based travel blogger. I approach blogging from the perspective of someone who balances a “normal” lifestyle (i.e. school, a job, having a home base, etc.) with a love of travel. I share my experiences, stories, tips, and photos on my blog, A Dangerous Business.
I’ve been lucky enough to have had some truly amazing experiences all around the world over the years. Highlights have included: playing a concert on the Great Wall of China, road tripping across the United States, bungy jumping in New Zealand, seeing the Olympics live in London, hiking on a glacier in Alaska, and spending a summer traveling through Eastern Europe and the Balkans. And of course now I have to add celebrating New Years in Edinburgh to my list!
(2) Before #Blogmanay, you said on your blog ‘A Dangerous Business’ that August is the best time to be in Edinburgh. Do you still think that, and how did you like your first Hogmanay in Edinburgh?
I think I’ll have to amend that statement to “August is ONE OF the best times to be in Edinburgh.” I loved the lively atmosphere of Edinburgh during all the summer festivals, but being in the Scottish capital for Hogmanay was definitely amazing, as well.
As for my first Hogmanay experience, it was better than I could have ever imagined. I didn’t know a whole lot about the event before coming over for it, and was therefore continually surprised. I made the most of my first Hogmanay, and took part in as much as I possibly could (including the Loony Dook on New Year’s Day!).
(3) What’s your favourite part of the city?
Edinburgh is such a great city. I think my favorite thing about it is its history. I love the old gothic buildings; the wynds and closes; and the stories that go along with all of them. As an American, I’m always fascinated by old European cities for this reason – we simply don’t have places like this in Ohio!
(4) Where did you take your photo?
I took this photo at The Keilidh, less than 2 hours before the big midnight moment on NYE. I took a ton of photos that night, but I really like this one for a few reasons. First of all, it’s colorful, and anyone who knows me knows how much I love colorful photos. And secondly, I think it captures the true essence of Hogmanay – people gathering together to listen to good music and have a good time. I’m not sure a giant ceilidh dance would be so popular anywhere else in the world, but I’m sure glad it exists in Scotland.
(5) What’s your best Hogmanay moment?
It’s impossible to pick just one! Therefore, I’ll give you three:
1. Taking part in the Torchlight Procession. It was such a beautiful thing to witness and be a part of, even if I was worried about catching on fire a few times.
2. The singing of “Auld Lang Syne” at midnight on New Year’s Eve. The midnight fireworks above Edinburgh Castle were certainly a sight to behold, but I think it was the bit just afterward that I’ll really remember – the part where everybody in the city linked arms and sang this old Scottish song to welcome the New Year.
3. Joining in the Loony Dook on New Year’s Day! Call me a nutter if you’d like, but jumping into the freezing Firth of Forth on the first day of the new year sounded like so much fun to me. Which is why I convinced two of the other #Blogmanay bloggers to join me!
(6) If you could recommend one place in Scotland, what would it be, and why?
Can “all of it” be an answer? No? Well then I’d definitely say the Isle of Skye. I was up there this summer and was blown away by how gorgeous it is.
(7) Any Hogmanay insider tip or something new you’ve learned and that you’d like to share with our followers?
The Hogmanay Street Party may officially end at 1 a.m., but that doesn’t mean your night has to! I discovered that there are tons of after-parties that go on all over Edinburgh. Some of the #Blogmanay bloggers headed over to the Voodoo Rooms for a Vegas/20s-themed party following the Bells, which ended up being tons of fun.
(8) Describe your #Blogmanay experience in one word.
(9) 2013 is the Year of Natural Scotland and we’re encouraging people get adventurous in Scotland’s nature! On your blog you say you enjoy bungee jumping – in Scotland you can do that too, right from a bridge over the beautiful River Garry in Perthshire! Can we tempt you to come visit?
I do indeed have a bit of an adventurous streak in me (see the part about me doing the Loony Dook above!), and have been bungy jumping 3 times in my life so far. So YES, you can absolutely tempt me back to Scotland with the promise of jumping off a bridge!
Though, if I’m being honest, I don’t need much tempting to return to Scotland… it’s a wonderful country, and I’m sure I’ll be back again in the near future!
(10) Thank you Amanda! Haste ye back!
Thank YOU so much for helping me to be a part of #Blogmanay!
Image credit: Amanda Williams / Edinburgh Hogmanay’s Keilidh