Edinburgh's surprise mystery bus tours are great, assuming you're not in a hurry – Vladimir McTavish
I was amazed to find out the other day that there is still such a thing as a mystery coach tour.
When I was a child, people of my grandparents’ generation couldn’t get enough them. I had assumed that they had gone out of fashion around the same time as the UK changed over to decimal currency, or people started buying colour televisions.
In the late sixties, my Great Uncle Bob was always heading off on some mystery coach tour or other, which invariably seemed to end up in Aberfoyle. But it appears one can still book a mystery tour to an unknown destination with overnight accommodation thrown in. Off-season, you can actually get a two-day trip for as little as 80 quid, provided that you don’t mind where you end up, of course.
However, there is a much cheaper alternative right here in Edinburgh. Simply jump on a Lothian Bus. There are so many diversions and road closures in the city, you never really know what route you are going to take to your ultimate destination.
With the ongoing tramworks on Leith Walk, the seemingly never-ending re-development of North Bridge plus various temporary events such as Hogmanay and the Fringe, you never can be totally confident that your route will be the same as it was yesterday.
I like this. As someone who stays on the route of the 14 bus, I relish the thrill of not knowing how we are going to get from Ferry Road to Nicholson Street. Sometimes, you find yourself being diverted away from Leith Walk all the way down London Road and then onto Easter Road, sometimes another adventure entirely.
It’s great entertainment if you’re not in a hurry. Furthermore, the trip home can throw up just as many surprises. Recently, I discovered that I can step out of The Stand Comedy club and get a bus on York Place that will take me straight to my front door. Or at least I could yesterday. Tomorrow, who knows?
Edinburgh is a beautiful city and we have the finest bus service in the UK. Of course, we use public transport to get from A to B, but I am quite enjoying going through C and D on the way.