With today’s blog comes my request to you that, when on organised excursions, just make a mental note of those sitting around you so that if the guide were to miss-count you can shout out that someone is missing. Had someone done that for my friend her day may have been very different.
In 2008 I met a wonderful couple whilst cruising, for privacy I shall call them John and Jane, they were much older than me, retired and enjoying life but this was not only their first cruise it was their first time outside of the UK.
Because they were not experienced travellers they made the decision to only leave the ship on excursions they had pre booked, if they had nothing booked then they stayed on board. They stuck to this until our very last port, which was Gibraltar.
As we got closer to Gibraltar, Jane kept mentioning that she really wanted to do the afternoon tea trip to the Rock Hotel, her husband however, was not quite as keen and actually really wanted to head into Gibraltar and buy a camera. We came to an arrangement that if she booked her trip I would take her husband into Gibraltar so he was not on his own and could browse the electronics.
When Gibraltar came we stuck too our plans and off John and I went whilst Jane went on her trip to the hotel. I have only ever done half day port of calls in Gibraltar and today was no different. We made our way towards Market Street which is the main shopping area and is FULL of electronics shops and duty free liquor stores. A half day is more than enough time to get round the shops but it doesn’t allow for sightseeing too so it was one or the other. Once John had made his purchase we started making our way back towards the ship.
We boarded the ship and went up a few decks to where we had agreed to meet Jane but, she was not back yet. We sat and waited……and waited…..and waited some more.
After a while we decided to speak to reception, after all her trip had been due back almost an hour earlier and there was still no sign but, just as we got the thought into our heads there she was.
The story she would proceed to tell us was truly something else!
The coach she was on had stopped at a popular view point on the rock before reaching the hotel, everyone exited the coach to take pictures and so forth and then on they would continue. They continued on however minus one passenger, they left her behind!! She said she turned around after admiring the view and everyone was gone! Luckily for her there was a taxi parked up in the car park and the driver was British so she explained and asked for his help. He agreed, even though she had no money with her, to take her back to the ship. After all he couldn’t just leave her there on her own. Just as they went to set off the driver noticed another coach coming along the road so he waited just to see if it was from our ship. It was. The taxi driver approached one of the guides with Jane and explained the situation, the guides on this particular tour said she could go with them.
The only problem being they were going on some kind of cave exploration tour! Jane was in a nice long floral dress, light and pretty for the summers day we were having, not exactly cave attire! Her story was hilarious though and aside from being abandoned she said she still had a “funny old” day but, was disappointed about her afternoon tea. She said she was “bloody freezing” in sandals and, waddling through caves with a hard hat on after having spent ages doing her hair wasn’t appreciated! She really knows how to tell a good story and always looks on the bright side. We were literally crying with laughter at what she was telling us. When it all settled back down again I told her that aside from the jokes it was not acceptable and she really needed to put in a complaint, someone clearly didn’t do a head count on that coach and to leave behind an elderly lady (to which I was given “the look”) was not something that should be brushed off.
Her experience is not something I have ever heard of since or had heard of before. I think it really was just one of those things but, aside from the panic I wish you could have been there to hear her story, I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard in all my life! This happened in 2008 and we are still friends and talk regularly to this day.