The Top 3 European Military Tattoos

Posted by admin | Posted in Scotland | Posted on 15-06-2011

A tattoo in this context does not refer to the artwork on a sailor or biker’s arm; however you are likely to find sailors from navy bands at a military tattoo (a military drum performance or army display). The origin of the military tattoo is thought to have come from the 80 year war that the Netherlands fought against their Spanish occupiers for their independence in the 16th and 17th centuries. In order for the officers to get their soldiers to call it a night and leave the taverns to return to their barracks, drummers were sent out into the streets with a commander who would tell the tavern keepers to, “Doe den tap toe!” (Close the tap on the beer-barrel). Over time, this was shortened and adopted to the word “tattoo” in English-speaking countries such as Scotland.

Basel Military Tattoo, Switzerland

The Basel military Tattoo is presented to literally thousands of people over the course of two weeks in July, when the weather is warm and the sun sets later in the evening. Performers from all over the world are invited to entertain crowds with the historic barracks of Basel behind them. Highlights include the fantastic drill team from Norway. In 2010, pipe-bands from as far away as the Cape Town Highlander Regiment from South Africa were offered the chance to perform at this incredible tattoo.

Due to its popularity, tickets for this particular tattoo are often sold out very quickly and range in price from € 43.00 to € 114.00. July is a spectacular time to visit Switzerland, due to its fine weather and the lure of a swim in the Rhine. The tattoo is an added bonus and is a great spectacle.

Berlin Military Tattoo, Germany

The German word for tattoo is “zapfenstreich”, and 2011 is to be the inaugural year of the Berlin Tattoo. Tickets ranging from € 29.00 to € 74.00 went on sale in April, and were quickly snapped up. The tattoo, which is set to take place in Berlin’s O2 Arena in November, is to be different from the usual tattoo format in the sense that it will be an indoors venue. Some of the best military bands from around the world will delight audiences with magical performances over a period of three days.

Although Germany will be a bit colder in November than Basel in July, the Berlin Tattoo should become a firm favourite for travellers to see should they be in Berlin at the right time.

Edinburgh Military Tattoo, Scotland

No tattoo list would be complete without the Edinburgh Tattoo featuring in it. With so much to see and do in Edinburgh already, the tattoo is the “créme de la créme” of the tattoo circuit and is most definitely the firm leader. Taking place over a period of four weeks each August with the famous Edinburgh cast as the backdrop to the show, this tattoo is often sold out months in advance with tickets ranging from as little as £23.00 to more lavish seats at £55.00. The Edinburgh Tattoo is a definite must-see in every single traveller’s life-time.

CitizenM Glasgow Hotel Review

Posted by admin | Posted in Review, Scotland | Posted on 17-08-2010

I grew up in Glasgow and have visited a good number of European cities in my time, but I can safely say that Glasgow is one of the coolest ones. So I was really excited to be given the change to try out Glasgow’s newest ‘uber cool’ budget boutique hotel at the weekend prior to the official opening.

The hotel I am talking about is called CitizenM – a Dutch company with two hotels in Amsterdam so this is their first venture with the brand outside the Netherlands.

The hotel is located at the corner of Renfield street and Renfrew street, next to the theatre Royal (see below) which is right in the heart of the city and extremely central.

The communal hotel area has been designed to feel almost like a house (a big house) with different areas to relax and chill out in. There is plenty to read and there are TV’s dotted around the whole communal area, so you can really chill out without feeling like you are in a hotel lobby!

The hotel uses a computerised self check in service – it wasn’t fully functional when I was there – but the process should mean that you can check in and be in your room very quickly.

The rooms are pod rooms – but roomy luxury pot rooms at that. The finish in the rooms is of an extremely high standard and all luxury brands.

The rooms are pimped with so many gadgets I was kept amused the whole time I was in it, infact to the point that I didn’t leave the room. You can control the Lighting, TV, Music, Temperature, Blinds and Black out Curtain from the remote control next to your bed. Plus there is free Wifi too.

You can change the colour/lighting of the room to any colour you like (see below)

The bed is also a huge 2 meters by 2 meters so you can sleep anyway around it you want. And there is really good sound proofing and the black out curtain means that you get a really good nights sleep.

The room doesn’t have a bathroom as such, it is a glass pod with the toilet and shower combined. The shower is a rain shower and hand shower and has its own delicious shower gels to use. Outside is your wash basin, there is a full length mirror, space to hang clothes and plenty of plugs (one of my bones of contention in many hotel rooms).

The entertainment system comprises of literally hundreds of channels – more than you get on Sky TV and from all around the world too. The movies are all free to watch and there are plenty of different music channels you can listen to to suit your mood.

I never tried any of the food – there is no restaurant as such, but there is a bar in the communal area where you can buy food – and you can buy food for breakfast or food and drinks to take up to your room.

Checking out was painless and done and dusted in about two minutes, I also really liked when you leave you can reuse your room key as a funky luggage tag for your next trip away.


If there were any negatives I would say the only things are:
1. There is no Ipod connector so you cannot play your music through the stereo system.
2. You need to know your room mate very well – the toilet/shower is a glass cubical in the room. I never saw the twin rooms so cannot comment on those.

Prices for a room are exceptionally reasonable ranging from £49 – £79 which beats any premier inn or other cheap hotel chain in the city hands down.

In all this is one super funky hotel and a definite asset to the city – if you’re heading to Glasgow for any reason check in at CiticenM

60 Renfrew Street, Glasgow G2 3BW

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