I haven’t been on a tour like this since I was about 22 on a Contiki tour of Europe.
I don’t remember much of that tour. Not because there was drinking involved, more like I have to dig out actual photos, like ones kept in a real life album, to jog the memories.
I’m doing this tour mainly as I’m not great at driving in the US, the last time I was here I was bad enough as a passenger, saying ‘wrong side of the road, this doesn’t feel right, this doesn’t feel right’.
The thing is, it’s a reasonable way of getting around if you’re on your own. There are organised excursions etc, but you don’t have to do them and you can leave the day-to-day arrangements to the tour manager.
Big difference doing an organised trip 15 years after the last one.
First of all, I’m not the oldest. By a long shot. There’s a bloke from Melbourne travelling with his wife who’s, I’m guessing, are well into their 60’s. Out of about 10 people, he’s the only guy. His name is David, and I only know that as his wife, at least I thought she was his wife, but no, she just openly criticises him: ‘David, you’re in the way again’, ‘David, stop helping the porter, that’s what we pay him for’.
For the record, I like David.
After arriving in Philadelphia, he helped me carry my bag from a tram and I made it my business to gush my gratitude, and when Pat told him off for helping staff, I joined in and helped him to help.
Your move, Pat.
The other women are a mix of people I would hang out with in real life and, well, not.
Morgan, absolutely. She’s in her early 30s and is hilarious, the driest sense of humour I’ve experienced in ages.
Then I have my roomie, Katie. She’s quieter than Morgan, but about the same age. She’s the quintessential nice girl. She loves travelling and can pack like a pro, I also found out last night that she loves reality TV. My spirit animal. We promptly stayed up watching a double episode of Teen Mom 2 and ate chocolate chip cookies from the Philly’s Reading Markets (hey, we had walked ALL DAY, I have the blisters and the tear-streaked face to prove it).
I’m so glad this isn’t like those heady days of waking up with a hangover and not appreciating the fact you were on on the famous Spanish Steps 😐
Eternally grateful those days are over.
Now, all I want is a shower, clean sheets and WiFi.
Then there’s Penny. She’s about 58, very hard of hearing, doesn’t realise that the local guides are talking to us as a group, but answers them as if they’re engaging with her personally. She has very grey stubby teeth. Like when she’s talking, all I can see are the weird teeth. I have to really concentrate to see the person and not the teeth. The little grey, Gollum-like teeth.
Then there’s the tour guide, Andy.
He’s had s few tiny hiccups, but you forgive him because he’s so adorable. I was wearing a Star Wars T-shirt on the first day of the tour and he totally nerded out, wanting my opinion on the new versus the old franchise and demonstrated his Light Saber sound effects. With actions. I like him a lot.
Whenever he tells s bad joke or stuffs up a little bit, Morgan and I look at each other with a knowing look and say ‘that’s so Andy’. We’re saying it so often it’s become a bit of a catchphrase, and hey, we’re only the third day in.
- Been to: NYC
- Currently: Philadelphia
- Headed to: Washington DC