Andy & Bev Fraser's Travel World

34 years of our "UnTour" Adventures
Andy & Bev
Our journeys are as close as we can come to a good old fashioned no rushing, relaxed time with good companions. This is our 35th year of doing it our way. Hope you can join us. Andy & Bev
We can all travel backwards
We can always travel back...

Travel will come back. Honest. Can’t really say in what form it’s all going to take, nor when, but it will come back. Far too many economies of most nations depend on a significant amount of travel to keep things ticking over.

We can’t get a handle on it at the moment, nor probably won’t for quite some time to come. With people from both Canada and the U.S. unable to fly to any of the destinations we like without having to self-quarantine at either end, it’s all rather difficult to say except that it will.

But for now…

...went into Abbotsford on a recent weekend (something to do) and visited a wine shop. Reading all the labels and from all the countries we have toured set us off on a ‘nostalgia tour remembering, for example, when we were in Croatia with a good gang who often toured with us. This particular bunch loved to sit around the dinner table with a good bottle of wine, or possibly more, and chat.

One evening, they chatted so much the hotel ran out of wine. Not every bottle, just their particular red. Memorable.

We remembered evenings on the occasional free day when Bev and I would ‘smuggle’ dinner into our hotel. This worked especially well when in France where it is so easy to find delicious and exotic little snacks. We’d visit either the grocery or some specialty shop, then drop into a wine shop (easy to find in France), buy a bottle we could afford making sure we had a corkscrew or It was a screw top (not always easy to find in France in those days), then up to our room and if in our many visits to Nice, out to our hotel balcony overlooking the Med.

The smuggling process is an art form. Since we didn’t want the smaller hotels to think we didn’t like their cuisine, (do not annoy the French when it comes to food!) we hid things. Like a baguette down my jacket sleeve, a bottle of wine in Bev’s old red purse (along with olives and including the main course), cutlery and other wee bits and pieces. And a brush to make sure there were no crumbs lying about in evidence.

Call on the memories...

All of us should (and probably do), open up our special little memory box while waiting for the world, albeit a new world, to open up for us again.

We remember Bev getting up on a moving day morning in the warm and beautiful Loire Valley, looking out the window and saying, “What’s white and falls out of the sky in May?” Snow! Cold, wet, miserable snow. Which was bad enough but even more annoying when we discovered our coach had no heater. Mind you, it could have been more memorable had we followed through on the idea of one our guests who suggested we could take all those head rest things on the back of seats and have a bonfire in the aisle.

Equally memorable was the year we were driving from Edinburgh to Inverness on our Christmas in Durham, Hogmanay in Inverness tour. It was the heaviest snow fall in over a century. Even the sheep looked confused. And cold. This coach did have heat but it couldn’t keep up defrosting the windows. Bev spent most of the travel time going up and down the aisle using her credit cards to scrape the windows so our guests could see all that history being made.

And can anyone who was with us on our Turkey journeys ever forget those countless Alladin like sights and those unbelievable cave hotels in Cappadocia? Or the magical medieval Jemaa el-Fna outdoor market at Marrakech in Morocco, a stunning throw back to an ancient world with snake charmers, dancers up from Mali, drummers, fortune tellers, traders in everything.

The square at Avignon

As some of us sat having lunch in the huge square in front of the 14th century Palais des Papes in Avignon a shaven headed, rough looking guy, about 30, walked into the middle of the square set down the chair he was carrying, rolled up his sleeves revealing a couple of mean looking tattoos, sat down and began to sing.

His clear, powerful tenor voice carried around the square. Not French but Medieval Occitan, the old language of the South of France. A haunting, echoing richness that sang of things we knew nothing about but which entered our souls.

People who had been crossing the square moved to the sides, those of us who had been moaning about the heat, or whatever, grew silent leaving the huge centre of the square to this rough looking character who simply sat on his chair filling the air - and our souls with a language of what had once been. Leaving us at that moment, and as I am now, close to tears.

He finished, folded up his chair, and left.

And for a heart stirring finalé…

That magic moment just after dusk when the massed pipes and drums come marching through the gates of Edinburgh Castle hundreds strong at the world famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo. As Bev puts it, “It’s a box of kleenex night”.

All of us have special memories. Maybe we’ve tucked some of them into corners of our minds, but they are there and maybe at times like we’re all going through, it’s time to bring them out with all the good feelings that go with them.