David’s note – If you are just tuning in, let me get you up to speed here. Back in December, I decided to write about the first big group tour to Europe that I had a part in planning. The year is 1997 and we’re in Colmar, France.
June 9, 1997
Finally, we arrived in Colmar by 9:00 p.m. It was a long day with the trucker’s strike, the stop in Chartres, and then the long drive across the plains of central France. The staff was waiting dinner on us when we got to the hotel. The tables were set with water and the starter, all that was left for us to do was sit down and be served. The menu consisted of an onion tart, egg noodles and baked chicken, and an unsweetened and utterly bitter yogurt for desert. All was good except for the desert! We tried some Alsacian wine (a Riesling and a Gerwurtztraminer) and it was quite dry. I really did not care for it even though I had 50 ml of each.
Lots of little things had been going on over the last few days; you know how it can be traveling with a group of kids. Being in a foreign environment just seemed to complicate matters. Budding romantics, who would normally have nothing to do with each other, had suddenly decided to answer the mating call. Then, there were the girls who were mad at each other because they were hanging out with others than their little click. Also, there was the normal stuff that pops up on any tour like not following instructions, being late for a rendezvous, poor table manners, not paying attention to the tour guide, and other such stuff.
I had had enough, so I called for a group pow-wow in the back parking lot at 10:00 p.m. Our rooms were on the first floor so when the appointed time for the “big chat” came, I noticed everyone climbing out their hotel room windows. Ughhh…another thing to add to my list of don’t do’s! I had the chat, we all agreed to improve, and now it was time for bed. It was about that time we discovered there had been a bum sleeping in his make-sift home of cardboard near the dumpster. This freaked most of the girls out, especially when they realized their windows had been wide open for anyone, including the bum, to crawl in and steal their stuff. As it turned out nothing was missing, but the bum had been holed-up in one of the vacant hotel rooms until we arrived and started making such a stir.
Reflections: That ” unsweet and utterly bitter yogurt” I now know to be a French speciality. Little did we know at the time you were supposed to add sugar and berries to make a delightful dessert!