Kisses of snow greet us in Munich, Germany together with our guide, Beondi. She graciously explains the rules of the C the World bus.
‘You know the sacred creed, Leave no one behind? Well it’s a myth,’ she explains much to our amusement. There are more guidelines to ensure a pleasant journey but we all remember her favourite, ‘Gratitude’. As our journey continues through magical lands of fairy-tale castles, exquisite churches, snow-capped forests, Strauss waltzes, unicorns and dragons … and the horror of Hitler, our gratitude is heartfelt.
Beondi’s pretty daintiness belies a will of steel as she safeguards us through a labyrinth of metro undergrounds, taxis, foreign currencies, language barriers and cultural customs. ‘Trams have right of way,’ she warns, ‘they won’t stop,’ she jokes. Bicycles too as we wander into the cycle lanes, looking left instead of right at the oncoming traffic.
Beondi proves to be unflappable too, as she deals with drama on the bus: a faulty microphone, a blocked toilet and damage to a parked car. She also hands us ‘Get Lost Tickets’. Our hotel addresses are boldly printed thereon.
C the World is a great mix of ‘old’ and young – the old with the wisdom to know better…and the youth with the spirit to encourage us to forget that we should know better as we join the youngsters for a romp in the snow and strolls along cobbled streets long after midnight.
Later that night in Munich friendships were forged in the Lowenbrau Keller, as bier-steins brimming with aromatic beer were raised in song, Eins, Zwei, Drei, Gsuffa!