Our host, Sam, offers a free (for tips) Harry Potter walking tour. The tour runs every Saturday at 15:05 (3:05pm) meeting at William Chambers on Chambers street. We didn’t get to do the tour with him as it was Tuesday and he was busy preparing for a Tourism convention for Wednesday morning. You can check out his Facbook Page here. And you can take a look at his website here.
It was a 25 minute walk to the center of Edinburgh and we realized we were there once we turned the corner and Edinburgh Castle loomed over our heads. Pro tip: don’t wear a hat. It’s super windy in Edinburgh and at one point my hat was taken right off my head. Eventually I just strapped it to my backpack.
We walked up to the Castle but opted not to go in because of the £17 entry fee. Instead we walked down the Royal Mile, a string of touristy shops selling overpriced things you don’t need.
Though I did take the time to hold an owl and get my pic taken with it. It had a sign saying “Thank you for your donations” and that it costs about £4 a day to look after the owls. He then told me it was £4 to have my photo taken. This is a strange donation.
We walked down to south bridge and headed up to Spoon. Spoon is a cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote some of her beginning chapters for the Harry Potter series.
Next we headed back up the Royal Mile to the City of the Dead Tours. One of the cool things that brings people to Edinburgh is their horribly violent history which has created hundreds of ghost tours to choose from. For £11 each we booked a tour that goes to their underground city.
The tour is quite exciting. Our guide speaks fast but clear and is very witty. Explaining to us that it is not so much a ghost tour as much as it is a history tour.
We walk down a quiet alley and the tour really begins as he opens a door into what looks like a normal building.
In we go. Receiving a lesson on the horrible history of Edinburgh starting with them building a walled community which was cozy when they built it, they decided not to expand and build outside the walls. The underground city was built by people looking for somewhere to live. Poor ventilation, raw sewage running through, and no sunlight. This was a special hell where disease and death weren’t an “if” but a “when”.
We went in to 4 different rooms learning about living conditions, laws passed, and about how the Police refused to go underground making it a safe house for the worst of criminals.
In the final room, our guide spoke about the spirits and ghosts and gave us a history on how he became a guide. He then slowly turned out all of the lights so we could spend a few moments in complete darkness.
Shortly after we walked out another door at the top of the alley we were in.
A quick beer and a bite to eat, we started to head back, this time walking down Princes Street which is less tourist shops and more designer clothing stores.
When we arrived back at Sam’s house, he was busy getting leaflets ready for the convention tomorrow. So being good house guests, we offered to help. Hopefully everything went well for him and we wish Sam the best of luck.