3-Ok, now we go to the hotel…

Recently, I’ve been writing about my experiences planning and leading tours. This was brought on by a friend at church asking me how I liked my recent “vacation” in Europe. Don’t get me wrong, traveling in Europe is a blast and I wouldn’t do it if I did not really enjoy myself, but there is a lot of work to it too.

I’ve gathered the group from all the bathrooms and ATMs in the airport and have them on the bus. Finally, we are heading into central Paris. It’s early afternoon by now and the folks are excited to see the countryside, road signs in French, and the little cars. Things go well. I get on the microphone and begin telling the group about Paris’ history and how we are going to explore the city in the next few days. I talk about the hotel in Paris and try to prepare them for something quite different than what we have in the USA.

We hit the ring road around Paris and have timed it just right. There are no traffic jams! In just a few minutes we leave the highway and are in the heart of Paris surrounded by crowded streets, no lanes, horns blowing, and pedestrians everywhere. From behind the bus windows, the folks are struck in awe of the little shops selling fruits and vegetables, the chic clothing boutiques, and the facades of the 17th century buildings lining the streets. It’s just so… Parisian!

Soon we come to our hotel, our home-away-from-home for the next three days. Of course there is nowhere for a big bus to park so the driver just stops, turns on his emergency flashers, gets out, and opens the cargo doors. I remind everyone to take all their stuff and not to leave it on the bus because you’ll never see this bus again, and then I say it two or three more times just for emphasis. We have to dodge traffic while getting everyone’s luggage off the bus. The Parisian drivers hardly seem to care that we are there. Imagine a big bus blocking the road, twenty butts sticking out of the cargo hold trying to find their luggage, and the others standing around waiting for theirs to appear. You’d think the typical defensive drivers of Paris would at least slow down. But no, their solution is to increase speed, blow their horns, and rush to the next traffic light 30 meters up ahead. Whew, what an adventure!

Once everyone has their luggage and we are on the relatively safe refuge of the sidewalk, the bus pulls away. Now to get into the hotel, get everyone checked-in, and into their rooms. Sounds easy, right?

(to be continued)

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About the Author
David McGuffin established David McGuffin's Exploring Europe, Inc. in 2001 to formally offer European tours. Since then, he has taken several thousand satisfied customers on memorable and educational tours to Europe.
  1. Susan Reply

    The key is getting off the bus quickly and loading yourself down like a pack horse and praying to God that the hotel has an elevator because many do not!

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