The Cruise

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Robbinsdale.

The final part of our trip to France in the spring of this year was an 8-day Viking River Cruise. (I am saving the 2nd leg of the trip for Veterans’ Day.) Imagine our delightful anticipation, having seen all of Viking’s TV ads showing the glorious scenery and culture that is yours while on board this vessel. We were to meet the cruise ship at Avignon in southern Provence – a wonderful place by any measure.

The cruise went like this:

Because of high waters on the Rhone R. (early snow melt on top of ample rains); authorities wouldn’t let cruise ships travel under the bridges, and our cruise ship was unable to GET to us in Avignon. Viking put us up for the first two nights at Hotel Novetel; there was a lot of complaining from previous cruisers about the hotel’s food, a mere shadow of what we would finally experience on Viking. We were able to do our walking tours of Avignon and Arles – we traveled by bus instead of boat to Arles the second day.

We were, on Day 3, bussed to our stranded ship in Vienne, where we got to unpack in our cabins, and started to at least experience the luxury of the cruise ship, even if it was stationary. They did allow us to cruise upriver on Day 5, from Vienne to Lyon – we were ecstatic, but learned the following morning that we were stranded again, this time in Lyon.

Cruising was wonderful for the four hours we got to do it. Food, drink, and life on the boat were fabulous, and we met some great people. We did see almost all the other scheduled sights by bussing from either Vienne or Lyon.

But lots of riding on busses. Hmmmmm.

Tours and sights:   Palace of the Popes in Avignon (plus a lot of wandering on our own, since we were there a day and a half on our own). Arles – Van Gogh territory and a Roman Amphitheater. A winery or two, Vieux (Old) Lyon, and they’re not kidding about the Vieux… 15th century homes, and traboules (detailed in my July 15 post). In Beaune, we got to see the original Hotel Dieu, which I will write about some other time.

When have you spent too long on a bus?

57 thoughts on “The Cruise”

      1. You paid for a river cruise! Hope the boat finally completed its course. Otherwise, they owe you.

        We did the bus thing of Italy last year. It was spectacular in that we saw so much and met many nice people. But the bus ride was nothing like the Danube and Rhine cruises we did in’10 and ’11. Those four hours were a hint of what should have occurred.

        Demand satisfaction!


  1. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    If you ever want to slow the time in your life, a bus is always an effective way to slow time. Next question: Do you want the slower time to be pleasant? With one exception I find most buses to be dreary and cold. The list of too much time on a bus:

    *Band buses in High School. They took us to competitions all over Iowa. David Bogenrief’s chicken imitation was a great distraction.
    *The Greyhound bus between LeMars, Iowa and Pipestone MN–very long 90 miles trip. It stopped at every little town between the two towns.
    *The 4H trip in 1969 to Pennsylvania for an exchange program–all teens, not enough supervision.
    *The Band trip in July, 1971 by bus to LasVegas to march in the Lions Convention on July 4. It was 104* and we wore wool uniforms and stayed in a school gym over night. A week of misery and motion sickness. We marched a mile. The bottom of my shoe melted. Riding on a bus was just no comfort at all.

    Do you really want to hear more?

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Please note several “thank you” posts to Dale after the following reply by him:

      My apologies, Baboons, for leaving you without a new post today. But I see you have made excellent use of the site regardless. Barbara in Robbinsdale has offered something fresh for tomorrow (Friday),and it will post at 5am. Tim has something in the hopper. Those who figured I am simply too busy to keep up with the blog are correct. The days are full to overflowing with details, chores and tasks. I will write when able but I don’t see much chance that I can do six fresh pieces each week, as I did for five years. Thanks to everyone who writes for, and reads, the Trail. I will assist and contribute as we find a way to continue on

      Liked by you and 5 other people

      And then the following replies:

      SEPTEMBER 10, 2015 AT 10:50 PM
      Dale– No apologies necessary.
      Thank you for creating this and fostering it to this point.

      Liked by 1 person
      SEPTEMBER 10, 2015 AT 10:09 PM
      Perhaps we could have a goal of three fresh posts a week with the writers who want to contribute continuing to do so, including you Dale. Is there anyway for us to track if the is a post ready so that we can write something when we know there is a need? We are certainly able to continue our conversations between posts. You could also repost some old, popular posts from the past.

      I appreciate your ability to maintain is all these years.

      Liked by 2 people
      SEPTEMBER 10, 2015 AT 10:22 PM
      What she said. We are creative and flexible. We are really smart and funny. We can do this. This is important for reasons I have yet to discern.

      Liked by 2 people
      SEPTEMBER 10, 2015 AT 11:31 PM
      Just to tantalize, one of my next guest posts will be titled “Peeing in the Gladstone Cemetary”.

      Liked by you and 1 other person

      Time to re-organize ourselves? Dale, what do you want for the future? Or are you too busy to even think about it?

      And I cannot wait to read “Peeing in the Gladstone Cemetery”!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Oh, yes, band buses…Winnipeg and Chicago from Cloquet. Dirty jokes, camp songs, romance magazines…and lots of naughty behavior in the hotels, especially the Conrad Hilton in Chicago.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Morning–
    I have ridden ‘Greyhoud’ a few times and it was like Jacque. Every little podunk town between here and there. Course I was about 14 at the time so every place seemed like ‘Podunk’.

    The school bus count? I actually have fairly fond memories of the school bus. Good drivers and I was the last one off most of the time. Sometimes the driver would take me all the way to the end of our long farm driveway and let me off at the door instead of clear out on the highway like they were supposed too.

    ‘Milton’ was the old bus driver in the neighborhood. Milton drove bus for years. Pam was one of my drivers; she and her husband still live in the neighborhood and I see her at elections.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I want to contribute to today’s discussion, but I’ve never taken a bus trip. My erstwife and I rode buses in London and Edinburgh. Those were delightful.

    Three years ago two of my friends paid for me to fly to Washington DC, where they live, for a reunion of college buddies. Ralph and Dave were in my dorm at Grinnell. One morning we took a bus tour of historic Washington, sitting in the top deck of an open air double decker bus. I was spooked by the tree limbs that narrowly missed my head. Then I got unhappy with myself for being such a wuss. These buses ran every day, I told myself, so the trees couldn’t be a problem. That’s when a thick branch whacked my head so hard I saw stars and came just short of passing out. We were in one of the first buses to run that route that year, it turned out. If that branch had been a tad thicker or our speed a tad faster, I could have sued somebody, but I was too dazed to exploit the incident at the time.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Longest bus ride so far has been the one from South Minneapolis to the 3M campus, when Kuro was in the shop while I was temping out there. Not only did it take forever (I’m remembering 90 minutes, which may or may not be accurate), but there was a half-mile walk to my building after that, in the late-autumn chill which triggered my asthma. Fortunately I was able to squirm out of that job, which besides awful commutes featured the coworker from h&ll and a shocking lack of complementary coffee–had I known there was no free coffee I wouldn’t even have interviewed. If I can’t have a union I should at least have free coffee!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. 3M temp work has a reputation as the indentured servitude of the 21st century. They are notorious because they use and abuse the temps then fire them just because. No coffee makes it that much worse.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. One memorable bus ride in NYC from the east 80s to 30 something street. An older man picked a fight with a teenager which ended up in fisticuffs and the bus being stopped while the police came on board. Or were the participants just kicked off. a bit hazy…no, the rest of the passengers had to change buses while the police handled it? Oh dear, memory loss or re-invention.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do have LOTS of long plane rides, but I’m kind of a Miss Mary Sunshine about it. Early in my travel career, a client and I decided to each read Hawaii and in it, James Michener describes the horrific six-week journey from Massachusetts to Maui by ship. Made me appreciate that no matter how long a 10-hour flight seems at the time, it’s kind of a miracle to step off the plane in a whole `nother part of the world!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. My only long bus trips were as a teenager, going to Biloxi one year and Arizona the next as part of a work camp. But these didn’t seem long to me as I was surrounded by my friends and it was an adventure.

    I love the Park `n Ride buses that the State Fair runs. Especially at the end of a 10-11 hour day at the fair, being deposited right where you parked your car is wonderful!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Too long a bus ride was the 1984 tour of Ireland trying to cover too much territory and not enough stops in between for exploring. I asked one of the women on the tour who had been on other tours how it compared. She said, “I’ve been on ones with better rhythm.”
    On the other hand, the bus became a community of its own which was rich with characters, intellect and humor. (Name dropping alert: including (My Dinner with) Andre Gregory’s daughter Maria and John Densmore, the drummer formerly with the Doors…)

    Liked by 2 people

  8. The bus ride to the People’s Climate March in New York city last year for people who participated from Minnesota was nonstop going there and coming back. On that trip I had a big problem with trying to get some sleep in bus seats that had no comfortable sleeping position. I rode along side a guy who found a way to sleep on the floor under the seats. That worked fairly well for him.

    I had the use of two side by side seats while the guy sitting next to me slept on the floor and still did not have enough room to spread out and sleep. Also, there were some problems because several of the six buses used to transport people making the trip had mechanical problems. Fortunately, I wasn’t on one of the buses that broke down. The difficult traveling conditions were more than off set by the good time I had during the trip socializing with a very interesting group of people who sat near me on the bus.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. OT. Rock Bend tomorrow – I’ve had an offer that is hard to refuse. If I don’t do Rock Bend tomorrow will I be letting anybody down? I don’t remember seeing anybody else (except you, Krista) who is going tomorrow….


  10. I’ll mention an unusual airplane trip here just for historical interest. In the 1960s air travel was relatively expensive, something mostly done by businessmen. At the time people dressed up for air travel, like dressing up to go to church. Airline stewards were eye candy. Flying was an entirely different experience from the sweaty, degrading sort of experience we have today.

    And yet if you were poor and lucky, there was a cheap way to fly. It was called “flying cargo.” I was too poor to pay for tickets to New York to attend a conference, so I snagged a flying cargo seat. Flying cargo meant you sat in one of the two or three unpadded wooden seats they had on airplanes filled with canvas bags of “air mail” letters. I think I was the only passenger on the flight to and from New York. Just me and a huge pile of mail. And no coquettish steward to serve me cocktails.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Robin, when she was young, traveled on a military transport plane that was similarly Spartan. An engine caught fire and they had to put down in India.but that’s her story and I only know the bare outlines. She also traveled on the Trans-Siberian Railway when she was just out of high school.


  11. Sandy and I are babysitting this from yesterday to Sun. Brought only the iPad. But I will try to rough out some ideas for short posts to write when I get back to a computer.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. On a college band trip to Seattle, I managed to find a needle and thread and I sewed a sleeping band member to the cloth seat. It was tricky work, but he was immobilised when he woke up and had to pick out the stiches before he could stand up.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Of course we also have the mix bus on audio mixers:

    And gives us:

    noun, verb (used with object), verb (used without object)

    1560-70; perhaps blend of obsolete bass kiss and obsolete cuss kiss (cognate with German Kuss; replacing Middle English, Old English coss (cognate with Old Norse koss))


  14. On an educational trip to Germany in 1970, we took a 4 day excursion to Berlin. Included was a bus tour of East Berlin. Crossing into East Berlin through Checkpoint Charlie was pretty easy. Coming back was another story. We had been forewarned by our hosts not to joke around or take photos from the windows while waiting for our passports to be checked – evidently a bus of US college students had been detained for several hours because they had been “rowdy”. We were dutifully well behaved and only had to wait 30 minutes before crossing back to West Berlin.
    I have been on 4 bus tours with 7/8 grade choirs (Chicago, Black Hills twice, St. Louis) – not my idea of a vacation and thankfully no chaperone duties. Good books saved the day.
    As to long plane rides, I have done quite a few 12 to 16 hour flights. Absolutely the worst part of every trip – harder and harder to do as I get older and too many times arriving home sick. But the destinations have made the ordeal worthwhile.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Longest train ride was on the Orient Express between Zurich, Venice and Athens or Belgrade (we changed trains a couple times) in the 1960s)..changed a couple times. I had on panty hose that itched and no opportunity to get rid of them. Belgrade train station was damp and dark and depressing, crossed the border to Greece and the sun came out. Long waits for passport checks. The highlight was a group of Turkish workers going home from Germany playing Turkish music the whole time we shared a compartment.
    I used to take the train from Duluth to Denver when I was in college. One memorable trip included the companionship of a guy who was going home to Iowa after being in the Sandstone prison.
    I love digging around in these old memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We were just talking about the Orient Express here this morning – some about the train and some of us about the movie – specifically how if a person here showed up in an alley some dark night there would be too many suspects!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I travelled by bus from Saltillo, Mexico to Mexico City. I was in Grade 11 and had been at a summer language school in Saltillo for about three weeks. We travelled at night. The trip was sponsored by the school so we were chaperoned. I woke at dawn, the only person awake, as we drove through a beautiful but barren desert, purple, with mountains in the distance. I was heavily into Carlos Castaneda’s books at the time, and it was an eerie experience. I must confess I received my first “bus” ala Ben on that bus ride from a nice young man, a fellow student, from Arkansas. I haven’t thought about that in years!

    Liked by 4 people

  17. Took a bus tour of St. Paul a couple of months ago. It started at the Minnesota Transportation Museum at the Jackson Street Roundhouse. The bus was a relic from the 50’s. We saw some historic sites, including the mostly-obscured streetcar tunnel entrance on Selby Avenue, Union Depot, and the Great Northern Railway building. Stopped at Tin Whiskers for a beer and Great Waters Brewing for dinner. Very fun tour.

    Liked by 1 person

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