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      August 2011 > Andalucia to Iceland part 2: Volcano Bus

Andalucia to Iceland part 2: Volcano Bus

GaliciaAs we wind down off our mountains, avoiding goats on the road, and set off across the sunflower-ed and sun-baked plains towards Seville, wishing the van had air conditioning, my mind drifts back to the last time I drove north across this end of Europe. That time it wasn’t to Iceland so much as because of Iceland – that was when the volcano blew... Many Inntravel customers had been trapped in various countries with no idea when the next plane would fly, and Inntravel rang me up continuously, saying: “David, can you get us two seats on a bus from Madrid to Paris?” In the end, after lots of unsuccessful attempts at getting bus places, the main Spanish long-distance bus company, ALSA, said to me: “Look, don’t call us any more – we haven’t got any seats on any bus going anywhere for the next three weeks.”

So, I had an idea (which doesn’t happen often) – suppose we, Inntravel, had our own bus ... then we would have all the seats we needed. So I rang a bus company in Ronda to hire a bus, a 53-seater.

“Where d’you want to go?” they asked.
“Hmmm ... Where’s that exactly? ... Hang on, just getting it up on the internet ... Is it near Germany?”
“Well, not really,” I said.
“D’you know how to get there?”
“Yep, no problem,” I said. “Just keep going north and stop when you hit the sea.”
“Then what?”
“Then you put the bus on a boat.”
“What?! Oh, I don’t know about that ... Couldn’t we drop you this side of the water?”
“No, no, the whole point is that these people need to get home – to feel they’ve been delivered from A to B.”
“Hmm ... well. OK, but you direct the driver. You’re in charge. By the way, this is our last bus – everyone’s doing the same thing ...”

The staff back at Inntravel followed our progress by moving a cardboard cut-out of the Volcano Bus over a pinned-up map of Europe. Another bus was moving in from Italy. As we approached Britain, my mobile phone was passed around the bus and a team at Inntravel began to prepare everybody’s onward travel. I think the 51 customers couldn’t believe it as the bus turned into a mobile travel agency and reservations were made on trains and buses and at hotels. We dropped the last Inntravellers at Gatwick Airport and I felt strangely alone as the bus emptied. I tried to persuade the drivers to stay in Britain and go mad in London, with me as their guide. But Andalucians don’t really like being away from home, and besides – I’d forgotten to tell them that we drive on the other side in Britain and they were still in a state of shock. “Better be getting back,” they mumbled.

Posted: 05/08/2011 09:01:47 by | with 2 comments
Filed under: journey, nature, Spain

It would take a lot of convincing to get me in a camper van, too! However, if I ever won the lottery, I would love to take several months (years?) to tour Europe, especially Spain.
24/08/2011 07:55:24

Liz Ferguson
That is not what you immediately think of as an unforgetable holiday
16/08/2011 21:44:24

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