As you can imagine, when tour guides get together we “never” talk about our clients… Well maybe a little bit once in a while. Here are some anecdotes of my life as a tour guide! I have changed the names and nationalities of my guests.
This time I am going to share a couple of stoties, one almost holy and the other one not so much….
It was a hot summer day a few years ago. I was heading to a hotel to start a 4 days tour with a very mysterious group. The agency that booked me didn’t send me the itinerary until the night before. I had no idea what bus company they had booked, and to stress me a little more, I had no info about the group.
I arrived at the hotel 20 minutes before the departing time so I would have time to have a coffee with the driver and talk about the tour. The driver happened to be my friend Javier, who also had no idea about the group. The agency handed him the itinerary the night before.
As we were having our coffee we saw 2 nuns walking by the hotel, one-minute later another 3 nuns, then 2 nuns came into the cafeteria and asked for hot water. Suddenly we realized that the itinerary we had was all monasteries, basilicas, convents, and Cathedrals… OH BOY! 4 days with 48 nuns, to be exact Argentinean nuns.
To tell you the truth it was amazing, because we were welcomed in convents of secluded nuns where not too many men had been before. We learnt about their art, their praying, their silence. It was a pleasure to find so much joy when they were allowed to break the vow of silence.
It was not all as sweet as the “Sound of music”. There was one little thing.
On the first day, Javier and myself were invited to have lunch with the community at a beautiful convent. As we entered the dining room the sun was bathing the chamber, we all waited standing up for the praying. I may say a little bit too long of a prayer. Then we sat down and yet another prayer was said, this time it was sung. When we finished the singing, the door in front of me opened and two gleeful nuns came and served the appetizer. Once we all had our plate perfectly placed in front of us, one more prayer came… Finally, it was time to start the banquet. This first appetizer was a humble 1 egg omelet and a couple of leaves of lettuce decorating the plate. I must say that by the time we ate the omelet, it was already cold. Anyway, once we finished this starter, the Mother Superior stood up and prayed one more time, this time in Latin. The nun seated by me whispered “wait here until we return”. Suddenly all the congregation stood up and as a military march, they all left the room in silence. That was it, that was our lunch, one tinny omelet and an extra small salad on the side. Come on sisters, I am a 6,1-foot guy! You have to be kidding, where is the beef???
Well Javier (the driver) and myself learnt that Argentinian nuns don’t eat much.
Needless to say that the rest of the days we both brought from home a sandwich.
Just another crazy Night!
Connie is one of those amazing tour members who will stay in my heart forever. I met her on a spring tour in 2012. At that time, she was 81 years old and had more energy than any teenager. She was always the first one ready to go. Her will to learn was a lesson for the rest of the group. At night she would study and take notes about what we were going to visit the next day. I just love her!
One afternoon, we did a very fast check-in at our hotel. We had dinner programmed in less than 30 minutes after our arrival. Everybody, including me, once we had the keys, rushed to our rooms. The moment I got in my room I opened the suitcase, brushed my teeth, put a fresh shirt on and I was back at the lobby in less than 15 minutes. It was then when I found Connie talking with the front desk people.
Although the hotel we were staying in is a non-smoking hotel, the guest who stayed at Connie´s room before her, had smoked in. Unfortunately, the hotel was fully booked, so the only solution we could find was changing rooms with me. I have never run so fast, we had less than ten minutes to repack and change rooms, but we both did it in time and went for dinner.
It was a great dinner, amazing food, incredible wine and the best laughs. After dinner Connie and some other guests returned to the hotel. I personally needed a little walk to slow myself down. By the time I was back in my room it was past midnight, got a quick shower and when I opened my suitcase I realized that my pajama was missing. I forgot it in the other room. Not a big deal, I can sleep one night in my underwear.
The next morning, I was having breakfast at the cafeteria of the hotel, when I saw Connie walking down the stairs. Then my big mouth shouted across the room:
“Hey Connie, I forgot my pajama in your room yesterday night”
That breakfast room went silent. A girl in the corner choked in her coffee. The waitresses froze. I believe that even the background music stopped.
Connie, with a mischievous smile replied in a very loud voice:
“Yes honey, you did forget…”
I could hear people whispering and giggling, I didn’t know what to do or say, I was so embarrassed.
Connie sat by my side and whispered:
“don’t you dare explain this. It is going to be sooooo much fun…”
The rest of the tour we were all making fun about the pajama situation. Every morning Connie would come down for breakfast with a bizarre “lover´s anecdote”
As I said at the beginning, I LOVE CONNIE!