Tours of Embarassment

It is a common misconception that guided walks around London are just for visiting tourists, that if you live in a place you somehow know everything about it.

I was leading a group in the British Museum the other week. A woman looked at the people with me, grinned broadly and said “Ha! I’m with local, that trumps a guided tour.”
To be fair, her companion did look rather embarrassed. How much he knew about the museum I have no idea.

Obviously, I didn’t have the opportunity to sit down with her to examine her statement; why she thought I wasn’t local for starters, and why she thought it was a competition. Or to find out why she thought it was alright to be rude to perfect strangers, who all looked rather surprised, but it does underline some people’s ambivalence to being on a tour.

So I will understand if you turn up wearing a balaclava, or dark glasses on a dull day. But it’d be a shame to leave all this fun to someone else.


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