Tales from the "far side" of travel


Many years ago, was on an European cruise.  Our ship was small, 800 passenger capacity.  This cruise had less than 400 aboard.  Many shore excursions were cancelled.  Back then all our prepaid tour passes were given to us on the first day.

Every morning in port, my wife & I would hustle to the tour meeting area to board the bus.  And always beating us there... an older lady with a cane that had 3 stablizer feet.  Well... She took a long time getting on the bus.  Slowly climbing the steps, putting away her cane, backpack, purse.  Then finally sitting down in the first seat on the bus.  Everyone had to wait till she was good and settled. 

Getting off the bus was worse.  She blocked the exit as her cane, purse, backpack was retrieved and she slowly made her way down the steps.

With so few passengers onboard, we would see many of the same people on tours. 

By coincidence, the old cane lady was on 2 more tours with us, always first in line.  I told my wife "This is baloney, I'm getting up real early, gonna be first in line whether shes there or not"

Next stop was Le Havre for a tour of Paris.  Soon as the ship docked and passengers were allowed off... I got directions to the tour bus area, then hustled out there.  In the distance...who did I see??  HER.  The old lady was poking along toward the bus loading area.  I picked up the pace.  As I started to pass her, I turned and said "Good morning."  She didn't say anything.  But picked up her cane slightly and litterly ran to the bus.  Beating me by a couple of feet.  Then she wanted to get chatty.  I was in no mood.  My wife thought it was pretty funny.

After that... I gave up.   But she wasn't on any more tours with us.

un autre jour au paradis


Another trip took us to Great Britain for a cruise of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Midway thru the cruise, we had a tour booked  to Loch Ness.  We got to the meeting area early, and were first on the bus.  We sat in the middle.  Another couple came aboard, walked over to us and said "You're in our seats."  I looked around, nobody but us 4 were onboard.  I told em:  "plenty of open seats."  Well.. the lady told me "We always sit in these seats, please move."  Unmoved by her somewhat snotty comment, I informed them... "Sit somewhere else."  So they sat directly across from us.  The whole drive to Loch Ness they gave us the evil eye.  I couldn't help but laugh.  Soon we arrived at the home of Nessie.  Got up and started to walk off the bus.  The couple jumped up and sat in our seats.  I ignored em. 

After a fun day, we boarded the bus and what did we see.... the 2 Koo Koo heads sitting in our seats.  Big, smug smiles on their silly faces.  We retreated to the back of bus for a picturesque return to port.  

Another day in pàrras

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Morning glory

Makes you winder if people  like this have any friends... 


.... And The BeachBoy got up early .... Guess you did never encounter the old lady with the three prong footer stick actually on board then hey ....

Maybe she was just an aged relative of a crew member 'hitching a ride' ....... but the hitch was 'someplace else' ;-)( ?

You and Your Wife Beach Boy have both lived - and Journied - more miles than most of us.

Its a good life - when you MAKE the life.

Never Stop.





Cruising used to be so fun.  First cruise we did was back in 1989.  We just caught the "tail end" of classic, grand cruising.  Smaller ships.  Full staff for passengers.  Wonderful dining.  Great bingo.

All gone now.  It's all high volume and extra fees for everything these days.  Even want extra fee to choose your cabin.

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Reply to Beachboy

A lot of my time at sea was done flying onto commercial merchant vessels for short stints as a super numery [visitor wife of Officer - subject to company regulations and seaboard protocol] to join a deck officer ....... one saw the world and many people and experiences - on and off board -  and aslo had the freedom  - then ..... but one thinks my own experiences taught me self reliance and accountability and determination - for one also had to build ones life [both at home AND at sea - and for those of us who did - LIfe was LIved ..... Work hard - play hard - reflect and consolidate.


And Yes, its who we grow to become ... and so long as we dont hurt folk along the way then I guess its all about participation.


I am sure you - and your Wife will find many things - including airshows and all manner of adventure for some of us do not explore what is closer to hand ..... until later in life

You know ..... Travel and World adventure - intent and hard work is probably the boomerang for us to really really begin to appreciate what may be closer to home in all manner of things .... but our more global and wider perspective of experience allows us to really SEE what is under our nose in new light if we are lucky.

Blessings and - Yes the older crusie patterns change [just like paddle steamers went and the smaller merchant fleet vessels too ... but we ar also SO lucky to be LIVING IN THE EXCITING TIMES WE ARE - just need a handle to open the perspective [and yes its not too rewarding] - always - BUT CAN BE!

Best Wishes


Reply to Beachboy

YEs, understand this.

I guess life within the Merchant service [either containers, or the oil and gas industry] has changed for the Officers and crew alike ...... There was a real camaraderie - and may I say one excellent standard of living on board too - certaiily if one was fortuenate to be deck side.

And so it would have been for the Officers and Crew of the passenger fleet too.


We have come to an age where everything is minimalised - packaged and the bottom line is accountancy globally balanced [or not] for all product / service nowadays.


God I sound like an old F - - T!


Balance comment : New horizons .... chances to book commercial flights into space for those who can afford .... and I guess so so many new startups in the business of hospitality too - with different visions, especially in these times following COVID .... for, in my experience a lot of the older traders seem to charge over the odds as some sort of recooping losses ..... not really a good business model in my oppinion!


New oportunities - especially where there is innovation and excellent service - with 'value for money' a real positive going forward.

Thinking and Planning ones travel opportunities OOut of the Box:

Still, there IS still freedom but one really has to think and act 'out of the box' at times in order to preserve it!

But creative thought and determined planning is key.


BEst Wishes



Reply to Jayne

You know  I never thought about that.  We didn't encounter the cane lady anywhere onboard the ship, and it was a small cruise ship.  Back in those days, passengers had the option of early or late seatings for dinner.  We always chose late dinner at 8:30.  Most older passengers chose early dinner, 6:30.  The nightly entertainment was also tied to dinner time.  When the ship was at sea for a day, you would meet new people who were on different meal times than you.



In the old days of crusing, we had the same people at dinner each night.  Which was nice.  You really got to know each other after a couple of weeks at sea.  

On one of our Med cruises, we returned to the ship after spending the day at Naples, Italy.  Visited Amalfi, Positano, Revello.  At dinner that night, one of our table mates recounted his adventure buying a fancy watch from a roadside vendor.  He haggled and eventually got an amazing price.  That watch would sell for double back in the states.  I asked, "Did you put it on and wear it back to the ship?"  "No, they wrapped it up very nice."  "So".... I intoned ominously, "you didn't see them put the watch in the box and wrap it up in front of you?"  The answer of course was.. No.  Having been on 37 cruises over the decades,  I've witnessed many scams pulled on unsuspecting travelers.  We had just finished the main course and ordered dessert.  I told the wrist watch dude, "Go get it.  Show us what you bought."  He trundled off to retrieve it.  My wife was glaring at me.  Soon he returned, and proceeded to unwrap the small box.  Opened up to find...... a rock.  I tried hard not to laugh.  This is an old scam.  During wrapping, the switch is made.  If he would have insisted on wearing the watch... they wouldn't of sold it to him.  Buyer beware....

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