After four solid months of speculation, my mother finally decided on Ireland as the destination for her birthday celebration trip, despite a tour of England appearing to be the odds on favorite, even over the long-talked about Alaskan cruise. When I asked her why she had chosen the Emerald Isle, she told me that she wanted to go somewhere that I hadn’t been to yet. All together now…aww!
When I last saw my mother, pulling out of my driveway early one morning in March as a marathon of visitors entered the final miles, she promised me that she would start researching our adventure. And I had no reason not to believe her. After all, the place had been chosen.
Two weeks later? Nada.
[Temper tantrum time.]
What is it with you people?
I said I will go anywhere with you! Let us go!
Why are we not going?!
Knowing that the summer travel season was upon us, and we really should book our accommodations, I called her up. I casually mentioned that my boss had done Ireland with her husband two years before, and we could follow their itinerary, rent a car and take our time moving around the island, maybe pick a couple of towns to be our main bases.
And it was then that she made the first clear-cut decision since she had picked the destination.
“I think we should do a bus tour,” she said matter-of-factly.
It was like a stab to the heart.
A bus tour?
Sometimes I feel like my sole purpose as a traveler is to giggle about how bus tours rip you off. Or something about herds and sheep and being ripped off.
However, in thinking about my mother, and what was shaping up to be our drastically different traveling styles, a guided tour was actually a pretty reasonable request.
I was also having flashbacks to an earlier mother/daughter driving scenario, where I was merely a bystander in the back of the car. (Or should that be bysitter?) Imagine, if you will, a bride and her mother on their way to the wedding, the bride yelling furiously while trying to navigate the winding roads of Boulder Canyon, and her mother not taking any of it, while the bride’s grandmother and I sat awkwardly in the back seat. (Oma only spoke German, so all we could do was make OMG faces and hope they translated.)
Fearing my mother and I could slip into a similar situation, I decided a guided tour wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
But I’ll be damned if I sit on a big coach bus with a bunch of people taking pictures through the window.
And so the research, my research, began.