Edinburgh is a city of beauty, history and incredible inspiration. A city, as our tour guide Peter explained, ‘founded on books, lochs and lots of hills.’ Fear not, weary traveler, if you’re worrying that this all sounds a little too trying; with the gifted guides of ‘Edinburgh: A Tale of Two Towns’ at hand, this dramatic landscape is unfolded like a fairy tale.
I have undertaken many walking tours in my time; some were brilliant, many relentless, but this was one of the most charming, downright fun and surprisingly interactive I’ve encountered. Such brilliance is due in no small part to the talent of our leader. Peter, a seasoned professional and Edinburgh native, is clearly passionate about this city; his love and pride for Edinburgh is communicated in every aspect of his tone, his smile and his delightful brogue.
As the title suggests, the tour encompasses the city in two parts: those of Oldtown and Newtown. Peter takes us on a travelling history lesson through from Edinburgh’s volcanic rock foundations to the surmounting modern day metropolis, complemented with drawings and illustrations from Edinburgh’s past. Of particular interest are Peter’s passionate appraisal of the Writer’s Museum (you won’t believe Peter’s ability to name so many of the writers that Edinburgh has raised, sheltered and inspired), as well as the comparisons he draws between the grand gothic architecture of the old city and the modern Georgian buildings of the new. Such geographical observations are also titillatingly interspersed with a little gossip about the famous folk who’ve visited Edinburgh.
Don’t let the two hour plus time frame scare you. Far from a relentless trek through the township, our tour took a moderate pace with plenty of time for photos and stories, and even a bit of audience interaction; at one point I even took on the role of Half Hangit Molly, outside Molly Dickson’s pub acting out the life, death and miracle resurrection of the now famous fish hawker and I was not the only one on the tour to take the stage.
Edinburgh: A Tale of Two Tours’ is a fantastic introduction to this marvelous place. Peter said, ‘The magic of Edinburgh is it is a town that lives in harmony with itself,’ and this tour encapsulates the spirit, humor and majesty of this stirring, magical realm not to mention just a few fish tales to keep you guessing.