On the Bus
I have been on bus tours before usually with choirs or other students that I know and we have fundraised for hours to get the tour on the road; lots of history before we even begin.
It was most interesting to be on a bus for 10 days with 34 people I did not know. Our commonness was our language – English. We discovered that a number of the folks had been on other tours that were not full and so had been offered this tour instead. We were a second offering for most of the folks.
9 were from the United States, 11 from Canada – Hello to Brian and Lindsay, who I promised a shout out! – and the remaining group were from Australia. The youngest a sturdy lad of about 8 and I could not even offer a guess at the oldest.
We were not without teenage angst and exuberance, which both annoyed some and infused others. 5 passengers were between the ages of 14 and 19.
It was not raining at Anne Hathaway’s cottage and the tour had arranged a “Group Shot” – you may now play “Where’s Waldo?” with a Where’s Patricia? picture!
We caught a few pictures of the garden, but did not stay long enough for a tour. We also got a picture near Shakespeare’s house of the Jester and of course a few shots of the house itself.
I do not think we got a picture of STOW, which was one of my favorite tea breaks and I loved the post mark so mailed my postcards in this delightful village. I bought a lovely heart evening bag before Camilla could snatch it up! I was so happy the village square was not anywhere near the large chain store – staggeringly huge outside of the perimeter.
Magic vibrations were promised as part of the Abbey at Glastonbury for our Tea Break; I did not pay for the tour or visit the gift shop although a number of our riders did. I was ecstatic to find Dr. Marshall Rosenberg’s book NONVIOLENT COMMUNICATIONS in the bookstore window and Lucy Leu’s Compassionate Communications workbook beside – right next door to the Sorcerer’s Magic Shoppe. I did eavesdrop on the preparations for the Goddess Conference and looked at their beautiful velvet robes for sale, I just know a new Librarian who would have loved a set.
I am hoping my daughter’s pictures of Stonehenge were better than my impressions. This was one of the first stops on our tour. Although majestic and stunning, I felt like I had walked into a massive tourist trap. So many tour buses and cars, so little time. Gift shops in tents. We walked away from the venue and towards the mounds up on a farmer’s field and enjoyed the flowers blooming beside the rutted dirt road; we jumped the puddles and stretched our legs.
I asked the Scotch Expert on the bus, a fine man from Australia named Robert to let me know where and when to have my one drink. At Aviemore in the Scottish Highlands, he said “now”, to an 18 year old Scotch which was smooth as silk and then shared a taste of a 12 year old shot with a kick. Robert and his wife went back to Edinburgh for the Gathering 2009 after the tour.
We had lunch often with Fay and Chuck from Canada. Fay was on her own personal SOUP TOUR for lunches and found some of the best places to enjoy the food. We ventured upstairs to the Old George Inn and read the long standing history and the litany of historic names. I am hoping that Fay will come by for a read and leave a comment so that I might have her email – I am so sorry Fay, I cannot find your business card anywhere.
As much as I enjoyed being waited on by my daughter the navigator-photographer and the tour itself, I appreciated so much having people to eat meals with and share our adventures, stories and finds along the way. We all had made such interesting discoveries and the conversations just punctuated the day to a delightful conclusion.
For 14 full days, I had a new group of friends; it was a “spot on” celebration similar to the blogging community. The diversity was refreshing and reminding to taste the new and be bold.
Have you had a similar experience when you travel? Have you avoided tours and been totally adventurous? Have you been waited on for 14 days? Did you like it?
PS – Most of the Australians had 36 hour plane rides to London, and were going on to Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal before they went home. Chuck and his whole family had done a walking tour/reunion in Ireland before they came on this tour!
Looking forward to hearing your stories: