Featured Illustration: Audrea Pereira
It is a plague that feisty travellers have dodged for decades; a serious illness that has befallen man in the 21st century. A dispassionate way of travel, watching the drone of a man/woman on headsets and looking through little windows in a metal container.
Personally, tour buses always come close to being prison cells – You’re trapped between stations. You can’t touch that pulsating city.
Imagine my exasperation when, this summer, my family’s annual custom [a trip to Europe] came with tour buses attached: I wanted to flee the holiday.
I despise tour buses and here’s why I propagate they may be the worst conception since the invention of ‘Spray-on hair’:
1. Everything is better on foot
Cafes with blues music, the summer breeze, adorable dogs out on their evening walks, makeshift candy stalls, loud graffiti, the sound of your shoes on the floor, swans having a swim, all while you’re stuck at a red light – there but not quite close enough.
Why would you give all that up for an uncomfortable seat?
2. It vanquishes spontaneity
Give yourself the space to do something different. You’re not cattle and you certainly shouldn’t be led across cities like you are.
Want to stop for a pint of Ringnes at that roadside bar? Well, you can’t. Not while you’re on that dreadful bus.
3. It won’t tell you native stories from the present
It’s the people with interesting, complex stories that make up a city.
When you meet the natives and they tell you the real stories about Bergen and Barcelona, that’s when you really know a place; the commute, the work, the atmosphere, the biting winter, the joy of the sun.
So many things you can’t see or know about on a bus.
4. Why’s no one talking?
More often than not, the person next to you has their headphones on, listening to the same recording countless before them have heard [packed with facts you’re never going to remember].
So, initially a group of six that arrived in Stockholm to soak it in are now neither interacting with each other or with strangers.