I have belonged to a travel mailing list/group called The Travelzine for many years. It’s an excellent resource if you want to find out about practically any location. Someone has probably been there or knows someone that has, and getting first hand recommendations for hotels, restaurants, shopping and everything else to do with traveling is there for the asking. It’s a Yahoo group and here’s how to join.
Anyway, in the last few days there’s been a discussion about low key moments you’ve experienced while traveling and I thought that would be a great blog post. The main thrust of the discussions and memories that people are posting have to do with little unexpected things that happen…not great disasters, not mishaps or adventures, just little things that you always remember for their simplicity. Aside from sunrises and sunsets, here’s a few from my journeys.
Meeting a little four year old girl on a train from Liverpool to Manchester. She was intrigued watching me write in my travel notebook and wanted to write something, too. I let her draw me a picture in the back of it. There’s more about that here.
When you’re on a bus tour, there’s a lot of photo ops set up for the punters. On my first tour, back in 1993, we stopped at the border between Scotland and England and there was the inevitable Piper playing music for us tourists. While I was taking photos of the view, I heard the bagpipes burst out in Hava Nagila. I turned and saw a group of Israeli women from our bus dancing a traditional dance. By the time I got back, they’d finished so I missed that photo op but it sticks in my mind to this day.
Another of my favourite moments happened on the tiny island of Iona, again there’s no photographic evidence. I walked along a lane between a row of houses on one side and their gardens on the other side, facing the sea that separates Iona from the Isle of Mull. It was a cool April morning, a little chilly. As I passed one of the gardens, I saw a group of women sitting on the ground together, wearing warm coats and all huddled over hot mugs of tea, enjoying the early spring sunshine. They even had a tea set on the ground with them rather than just bring the tea or coffee from their own kitchens. They made an occasion of it! I was too shy to ask if i could take their photo but I’ll never forget it.
I remember lying in a hotel room in London, my very first visit. Visiting London was a lifelong dream for me. I was stressed and over tired and really jetlagged. I couldn’t sleep, I’d gone way past that point. Then I heard the sound of what I thought was the bell of Big Ben. Holy Crap!!!! I’m really in London!!!! (It probably wasn’t Big Ben, I was too far away but it might have been St. Paul’s Cathedral as that was too far from the hotel)
The quiet streets of Dublin at night, with the echoes of horse hooves as four of us toured around in one of those horse and buggies.
Sitting in a square behind Bath Abbey in the sun and listening to a work man who was pulling scaffolding apart and singing Beatles’ tunes at the top of his voice. This time, I did get sneaky photographic evidence!
Watching my mom and boyfriend standing on a small strip of beach in Dover on a freezing cold and windy day singing about the Bluebirds over the White Cliffs of Dover, at the top of their voices. (I stayed warm in the bus!)
We were in a B&B near Wells, UK after a long, tiring day driving. We’d been relaxing in our nightwear and headed to bed. I got in first, he turned out the light and I realized that his tshirt design had glow in the dark stuff on it. He didn’t know it had and we both started to giggle and couldn’t stop! I’ll pull up the covers and see the shirt glowing under the duvet and we’d start to laugh all over again!
There are a lot of little moments, funny things that make memories, mini-disasters or frustrations, too. It’s all part of the ups and downs of travel and we wouldn’t have it any other way, would we?
I’d love to hear some of your low key moments!