If you booked a flight to Amsterdam, with KLM, there was a bonus flight to anywhere in Europe. I chose the U.K., and a bus-trip, (U.K. and Ireland). Not a seasoned traveller, I walked out of Heathrow and caught a bus, in the direction of the economy-hotel, to start the economy tour, the next day.
Somewhere, in London, the bus driver indicated this was as close to the hotel as I could get and my heavy luggage and I were on the footpath, somewhere.
I don’t know how I found the hotel but I did. On T.V., was news of the annual march, in Northern Ireland.
Next morning I joined a great group of diverse fellow economy-class passengers.
Once we were out of London, the guide introduced me to an elderly New Zealander. We would share hotel rooms.
I had not realised the implications of twin-share.
From London through to halfway in Ireland, I dreaded the nights. His snorts, snoring and various other sounds (which I now make) kept me awake.
Somewhere in Ireland, I got up during the night; took my blanket and pillow into the bathroom; settled in the bath-tub, sort-of; woke when he knocked on the door, next morning, wondering why the door was locked.
Distraught I sought out the guide and discovered that, for a reasonable amount, I could have single rooms through the rest of Ireland, Scotland and down the middle of England.
My now former room-mate needed company and whenever we were sent on yet another ‘photo opportunity’, of, usually, roughly two hours, I quickly disappeared and while, once again, wandering through another castle, others joked about ‘my friend’ looking for me.
Apart from those first nights, I loved the trip. I believe our ‘economy’ group was far more interesting and ‘fun’, than the tour that was shadowing us, made up of retirees.
At most stops the guide would point out that, being on the economy tour, we would, of course, be a little way out of town. The retirees, in the centres.
My email-friend, in Reading, had explained that I should watch for a tall chimney stack not far out of London. That’s where she would be, near-by, working as a teacher. Being the beginning of the journey, the guide did not have the time to tell me, when we would be passing that spot. I started to not like him.
I particularly started to notice, after we had gone across the sea to Ireland, that everything he said about the roads and conditions there was not as nice as I would like it to be.
I loved Ireland, from the beginning. I liked the way that we were taken into a large room the first night, for a bit of a sing-along. It made me think of what a colleague had often said: When you’re in Ireland, you’re home!
I have 500 words. I shall stop.
I would do the same trip again. Stay in single rooms. At least not share with elderly men.