Our departure back to the States started with a terminal snafu. Globus had tagged our suitcases for terminal 5. So, we were delivered to terminal 5. Unfortunately, our flight was leaving from terminal 3. Speed bump. Heathrow isn’t big on the signage. We finally stumbled onto the Heathrow Express and trained to terminal 3. Now, safely aboard my flight, it’s time for some plane reflection.
To bus or not to bus
*not having to drive on the right side of the road
*not having to drive on the right side of the car
*sitting up higher to see over the hedgerows
*the arrangements are made and confirmed. Never have to wait in a line for an attraction
*hotel arrivals are snappy with the distribution of keycards and luggage taken to the room
*out of the 10 hotels we stayed… only one stinker and the other one just fine
*our driver Di was perfectly skilled and efficient in many cumbersome situations.
*our tour guide, Stuart James, was exceptional. He is a charming storyteller. Without any script, he gave us four countries of historical and current information. We heard all about past kings, present taxes and how to thatch a roof. He pointed out interesting nuggets about various landmarks. We wouldn’t have known Castle Alnwick was where Harry Potter filmed quidditch matches. That stuff isn’t necessarily in the tour books. On longer jaunts, he’d play the country’s music or a prerecorded poem or story written by a famous local. He even weaved in a word game at one point. And the way back from a local Irish pub, he led singing. It was good craic! Plus, he narrates in his native English accent. I picked up a few of his terms…
- no problem there. no problem there = no worries
- give it a lash or give it a go = give it a try
- keep body and soul together = have a snack
- car booting = going to garage sales
- really demented = crazy ass
- bang on 7 = 7:00
- one and three quarters = 1:45
- 5 past 10 = 10:05
- carry you off = die from
- tinker kids = hoodlums
- bureau of hatches, matches and dispatches = department of births, marriages and deaths
- when you have the urge, sir = cueing the driver to go
- tatties and neeps = potatoes and turnips
- scrum-o = delicious
*being on a tourist bus. My friends and I make fun of busses.
*the bus median age was 60. It didn’t have the springy vibe of my recent excursions.
*being with the same 42 people for fourteen days. Personalities will surface and annoy.
*anyone on his 2nd or more bus tour will forcefully announce the rules on Day 1. The “skip and sit” rule will rotate your daily seat assignment to ensure everyone has a turn in the back.
*no control of the schedule. The itinerary is set. There is some free time especially in the evening but the tight schedule is crammed.
*early schlepping! At the end of every day, you are given two times, i.e.: 7:10/8:10. the first number is when your luggage has to be outside your door. The other number is the time that you are due on the bus. The living-out-of-luggage gets wearisome. The two nights at the same hotel is a cherished oasis. I didn’t mind the early times. I’m an early riser. Still, the early luggage requirement made working out tough.
*an English breakfast is included in each of the accommodation package. They are pretty much the same: scrambled eggs, beans, tomatoes, sausage, bacon (Canadian style), puddings, porridge, fruits, cereals, some pastries. It gets old. How about a waffle or pancake? Maybe cold pizza?
All in all, I’d do a bus tour again! I just need a little recovery time. As a single gal, living with 42 other people – 10 of which were my family- for two weeks on a bus is tight quarters indeed.