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Monday, October 17, 2016

Good morning crew,

Since I didn't plan this little European excursion myself, I didn't know exactly what we were getting into. As it turns out, what we were getting into was a bus, and we didn't get out of it very much.

After we arrived at Frankfurt Airport (and made a surprisingly easy passage through passport control) we met up with our tour guide and a quickly growing crowd of fellow travelers. As it turned out, this tour had just about 45 guests and I was beginning to wonder how they were planning to transport this small army half way around the continent.

When our complement was finally complete the tour guide, a somewhat mature but surprisingly sprightly woman from the Netherlands named Marijke (or Mary as she liked to be called), led us out of the airport in a long file.

Snaking our way beside the rows and rows and cars and taxis picking passengers up and dropping them off, we eventually left the immediate environs of the airport and after crossing a few lanes of traffic, a small field and a runway, we finally reached a satellite parking lot where a row of titanic tour buses were parked.

Our bus was a huge Mercedes-Benz touring coach, and my first impression was that it looked pretty comfy. What I didn't know at the time was that I was going to be trapped on that behemoth for most of two solid weeks.

The tour is designed to pack in as much of historic Europe as possible in 13 days. Western Europe might be compact compared to the wide open spaces of America, but packing in 13 cities in as many days means they have to put in a lot of driving.

The odd side effect of this was that we spent more time on the road than we did being tourists. It was not unusual to get on the bus at 8 in the morning, spend three hours driving to a thousand-year-old historic town or castle where we would spend one hour soaking up the sights and culture (and desperately searching for a bathroom), before getting on the bus again for another 3 hour drive to the next hotel.

On the plus side we did get to see a lot of very nice European truck stops, or motorway restaurants, as the tour guide liked to call them. And one thing I learned the hard way is to always carry plenty of change for the bathrooms.

Laugh it up,

Joe

joe@gophercentral.com

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So you want a day off. Let's take a look at what you are asking for:

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*-------------- Guaranteed to Roll Your Eyes --------------*

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"I see," says the father. "But what are you going to do if you have any children?"

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