Tours that Measure Up

Many of you know I’m not a big fan of group tours. Virtually every tour I’ve taken is a private one, and a single day or half day length at most. Generally, the tours I take are more of the functional type – I don’t really want to try to get to Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius on my own, so I schedule a with a private tour. Let me be clear that this is nothing against tour operators in general, and even the functional type have generally been quite interesting. It’s just that I like to wander and explore on my own. I have, though, been on several tours that really have impressed me, and that I highly recommend to my clients. I’m turning this into a series, my new thing it seems, to my already verbose blogs as short as possible.

Tour #1
Night Time Ghost Tour, Edinburgh, Scotland

Ghost tours can go one of two ways. Cheesy with masked figures “hiding” behind things that you can totally see, who jump out at you and don’t surprise you at all, or super creepy and therefore cool. This was definitely the latter. It was a group tour, but most of it was so dark you couldn’t see anyone else anyways. It was creepy enough with 20 people, so I didn’t mind. We toured Mary King’s close, a street that was paved over and now resides underground. In the 1600s the plague struck, and victims and their families were quarantined and basically left to die in the close. After this we went through the underground tunnels in which body snatchers used to the traverse the city. The tour guides extinguished off all forms of light (flashlights and candles), and we stood there in the absolute pitch black and stunning silence, except for the tour guides providing tales of the passages. Finally, you head to a graveyard where the body snatchers used to dig up bodies. Quite eerie!

There are numerous companies that do ghost tours in Edinburgh, and I’ve talked to people who have used a variety of tour companies. The key is to find a night tour that visits the underground tunnels and Mary King’s Close. This is not a tour for small children – in fact I think there’s an age restriction. We were petrified, I can’t imagine a small child not being scared out of their mind. If you truly have a real fear of the dark and ghosts, unless you just like to terrify yourself, you might want to opt for another ghost tour, say during the day. If you like the thrill though, this is definitely a tour worth taking.

I wish I could provide a picture, but it was so dark I really didn’t get anything worth posting. You’ll just have to go and check it out for yourself!


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