The Quest Express Podcast
An intersection of arts, business & culture

Interviewing innovators, artisans, & entrepreneurs making positive contributions in the most unique & culturally rich cities across the globe.

Meet Eric Melvin, Historian & Author


Eric Melvin is a Scottish historian who graduated with First Class Honours in History and Political Thought from Edinburgh University in 1967.  After a year out in London, he qualified as a secondary teacher of History and Modern Studies at the then Moray House College of Education, gaining a Dip. Ed. in the process and the Staff Prize.  He later gained an M.Ed. from the University of Edinburgh. After retiring from teaching in 2005, he worked for the City of Edinburgh Council as a Headteacher at Currie Community High School. 

Upon taking Community Education classes for The City of Edinburgh in both Scottish History and the History of Edinburgh, he now gives talks to various groups on aspects of the City’s History. (e.g. The Saltire Society, U3A, Probus, and Local History Clubs).  Eric is a trained volunteer guide for The Edinburgh Festival Voluntary Guides Association and regularly takes groups down the Royal Mile and through the New Town. 

Eric has had several books published by John Murray for younger readers on aspects of Scottish History as well as ‘Discovering Scotland’ for Ladybird.  Most recently I have had three books published on Amazon – ‘A Walk Down Edinburgh’s Royal Mile’, ‘A Walk Through Edinburgh’s New Town’, and ‘Mary, Queen of Scots’ written for younger readers and illustrated by Aileen Paterson.  ‘The Edinburgh of John Kay’ was published in 2017 and he has just finished a book about Duncan Napier, (The Fresh Air of the Summer Morning) the founder of the famous Edinburgh Herbalist business in 1860. 

He volunteers at the Oxfam Bookshop at Morningside and has also done some voluntary teaching at Chogoria Girls’ High School in Kenya, most recently in January 2017. 

Eric is married to Lynda, a retired Nursery School Teacher.  They have two sons, John currently lecturing in Heritage Tourism at Hosei University in Tokyo and Graeme, also working in Tokyo as a Business Communications Skills Trainer for American Express. John is married to Shizue Ichikawa from Sakkata, Japan. They are the proud parents of Isla, a first grandchild, born in August 2010, and Rui born in April 2013. 

Speaking & Tours


A Walk Down Edinburgh’s Royal Mile’ 

‘A Walk Through Edinburgh’s New Town’ 

Eric's Website


Every City Has a Personality

Most cities are living breathing organisms with electricity, a personality, and a story.

The culture, values, & traditions of a city evolve throughout its history. Seemingly inconsequential events can shape a city's zeitgeist & traditions forever. How they do business, how they welcome visitors, or what they create.

The truth is, it's the people who write a city's story. And that's what this podcast is all about: listening to the stories of citizens on their own quest to express themselves in the city that supports them.

  In this podcast, we will get to know the cities each guest calls home, listen to their story, and hopefully provide some inspiration to travel and begin your own quest. 

Board The Quest Express with me as we journey across the world together.


Third stop: Edinburgh, Scotland

Auld Reekie

A city draped in the ethereal mists of its past, beckons explorers into a realm where time is but a whisper among ancient stone walls. The haunting silhouette of Edinburgh Castle atop Castle Rock stands as a sentinel to centuries, echoing with the whispers of kings and queens who once tread its corridors. Descend the cobblestone streets of the Royal Mile, where the air is alive with the harmonious hum of bagpipes, weaving a melody that transcends generations.

As twilight descends, the city reveals itself anew, adorned in the soft luminescence of streetlights. Edinburgh becomes a dreamscape where the past and present coalesce, where the ancient and modern share a timeless dance.

"The most beautiful of all the capitals of Europe." - Sir John Betjeman

"Edinburgh is a city of shifting light, of changing skies, of sudden vistas. A city so beautiful it breaks the heart again and again." - Alexander McCall Smith

Second stop: New Orleans, Louisiana

The Captivating Crescent City

Distinct in myriad dimensions—culturally, gastronomically, and historically—New Orleans bewitches and dazzles. The city's heartbeat syncopates with the jazz notes drifting from the French Quarter, where history veils itself in the patina of wrought-iron balconies and the rainbow hues of Creole cottages. Navigating its streets feels like dancing to the syncopated rhythm of a second-line parade, where the scent of gumbo wafts through the air, and the spirit of Mardi Gras is a year-round celebration.

 "New Orleans food is as delicious as the less criminal forms of sin." - Mark Twain

 In the words of Louis Armstrong, the city's beloved son, "There are a lot of places I like, but I like New Orleans better."

First stop: Venice

Off to Venice, Italy. The most serene & sublime city of magic.

Beautiful Serenissima. 

Unique in almost every way: environmentally, architecturally, and historically, Venice enchants and enthralls. She is resilient, enchanting & mysterious. She is the home of many miracles her inhabitants perform out of necessity.  She floats on a lagoon carrying dreams and art, bridges and food, churches and museums, memories of conflict and peace.

Friedrich Nietzsche said about the city;  “When I seek another word for ‘music’, I never find any other word than ‘Venice.”

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