How did you spend the Christmas holidays?
I spent it in Frankenmuth, Michigan, not far from Flint, a 3 ½ hour drive for us. The town’s architecture resembled a Bavarian village from Germany. A great number of specialty shops like cheese, chocolate, sausage, line the one main street. A river runs through town. It’s a quaint and lovely place.
It was a 3 day bus group trip starting on Tuesday, December 24th. I have never been on a bus trip, especially with a group. I’ve always traveled alone, so I come and go as I please. But it was fun having your days planned to see and do many different things. It did irk me a little to have to be here and there at an exact time, but, as is usual with me, I’m always early.
The goal of the trip for a number of people was to shop. You can imagine all the unique and specialty German items available in Frankenmuth. We went to one store called Bronner’s. The building was large enough to fit 3 football fields, showing off an enormous variety of Christmas ornaments. There must have been a few million. I’m not kidding. You could get anything you wanted on an ornament. They even had a desk where you could get it personalized. I walked around the store in awe. All of us did.
This trip originated with my friend Joan (whom I met while volunteering for the SPCA). She had nothing to do this Christmas and asked me if I’d like to go away, and I said yes. Joan and I are good friends and we go out to eat together and to movies, but we’ve never spent much time together. I love Joan. She’s a wonderful woman with a big heart, but damn it, she didn’t stop talking for 3 days. After the trip, we are still friends, which says a lot.
I met two wonderful women on the trip. One smoked and joined me at the end of the parking lot where the designated smoking area was positioned. We were almost the only 2 in the whole hotel who smoked. There were a couple of others who’d stop by, but Jan and I were always there. What an incredible woman. We had such a fantastic time chatting about every topic under the sun. Unfortunately she lives a little far but hopefully we will remain friends through email.
Maggie was the other woman I became friends with. We found ourselves seated across from each other at lunch and the minute we started talking we had an instant connection because of our common interests like our view of life, euchre, animals and maps. We’re both single so spent much time comparing notes on men. It was so much fun to talk openly like that. I know we’re going to be friends forever.
I returned home on Thursday, December 26th at close to 7 p.m. We had been going since 9 a.m. when we left the hotel for shopping. We left the USA in the afternoon and drove home. Customs was no problem. No one was pulled off the bus and everyone was passed through quickly.
I’m so glad to be home in my recliner with the kittens running around and silence. Wow there was so much noise. I’m an author so a bit of a loner. Being around all those people was definitely another experience.
The kittens were very surprised to see me walk in the door. They seemed a little unsure of me but Sisko of course came up to me and I picked him up and hugged him so tightly. It’s funny how much I missed them. I haven’t been away from them since they were a week old. I know they are happy to have me home.
All in all, it was a wonderful trip organized by the Great Canadian Bus Company. I loved going somewhere I’ve never been and seeing, smelling and hearing new things. It was certainly a unique Christmas experience. Everything was well arranged. I have to recommend Karen who was our tour guide. A lovely, retired woman who does these trips for her enjoyment of travel which showed. No one had any complaints of her.
Our bus driver, Selena, was brilliant. I have never been so comfortable on a bus. And on Christmas Eve night, she took us on a tour of the Christmas lights around Frankenmuth, which displays were amazing. But our local guide directed Selena to a home outside of town. No lights, narrow road, and it was obvious Selena had never been this way. With only that guy’s directions, Selena took us to the best light display any of us had ever seen. It was an incredible experience thanks to her.
Sister Innocent, my murder mystery, is with the editor. I get it back on January 10th at which time I’ll read through it again correcting any errors. Then the book will be formatted. I hope to have it published in February, but I’ll let you know when it’s ready to be purchased.
If any of you would agree to review the novel, I can send you the formatted manuscript in any format you would like.
Have a Happy New Year and may next year be an even greater year than the last.