The beauty of living in Switzerland is being in close proximity to quite some nice countries. One of the most important things for us to do when we reach a city is to find a free city tour that we can join. This we do on the first day of the trip as this helps us to then navigate the city afterward. This goes without saying but there are different kinds of tour guides, each with their own style which keeps things interesting. Here are four kinds that I have come across:
You finally arrive in the city you have been planning on visiting for a long time, happy as can be, spring in your step and all you want to do is just drop off your luggage and start exploring. You find your tour guide, holding up his umbrella and welcomes you with open arms. You start the tour, he has a lot of stories to tell and is very excited. At some point you start wondering if the guide is really from the city himself since he is clearly way more excited about being there than you are. He is funny, he makes you all laugh but also cracks that occasional joke that no-one laughs at. Yeah I have been there, and though I love a happy guide, I get overwhelmed between handling my excitement as well as the guides haha!
Everyone has to start from somewhere and that is totally ok! I have to be blunt though, there is just something so frustrating about a guide that is not too well articulated or sure of themselves. Sometimes you arrive at the meeting point and there are two guides and one is usually more active than the other. They tell you the group will be split in half since there are too many people. I am one of those that immediately starts moving towards the more active guide and hopes from deep inside that i get chosen for their group, silly I know but I like a guide with all the drama and explanations.
Overwhelmed by the beauty and wants to show you everything guide
Then there is that guide that is genuinely overwhelmed by the beauty of the city and turns a 2-hour tour into a 4-hour session and after that asks who would like to continue. While you would like to go on and discover more of the city, you are either hot, cold, hungry or exhausted but no-one in the group dares to walk away and everyone pretends to be still very interested, much to the guide’s delight. Have you been there? I have, more than once!
When you see this kind of guide you know that a bunch of guys will be asking “smart” questions the entire time just so they can get her attention. You see her and think wow, I really have let myself go. She is confident, well dressed, young and looks like she is winning at life. You take her serious until she takes a few steps back to show the group a great monument, topples over chairs and literally rolls over head first. Yes this really happened! Of course you only laugh once its verified that she isn’t hurt or that’s what you should do anyway.
With every free walking tour there is that million dollar ending where the guide then asks for money and people get awkward as they try to decide whether the last 3hours were worth 2, 5 or 10 Euros. They then go on to the “Please review the walk on our website and if you liked it, my name is Brian but if not my name is Diana” I laugh every time, the joys! I would be lost without tour guides.