The Bus Trip from Hell


I don’t remember much about Germany. What I do remember is the bus ride. Endless hours sitting on the bus driving from one place to the next for another ten minute stop. And I remember being sick, very, very sick. I caught the bus flu. It started with a head cold, runny nose and headache. Then the coughing started. I coughed and coughed and coughed. Nobody wanted to sit next to me. They all thought I was contagious. I probably was because I had caught it from someone else on the bus. By the end of the two week tour, half the people on the bus were sick.

We would get on the bus at 7:00 am and drive for several hours to our first stop. I would blow my nose and hope I had enough tissue to last until we got there. All I really wanted to do was sleep. I did not want to trek through endless reconstructed buildings listening to stories about the cold war. I did not want to visit a prison camp. My prison was the bus and the disease that had taken control of my body. I took pictures every time we stopped of what I am not sure. I have all these pictures and I can’t tell you where I took them or what they are of.

“Everyone off the bus” the tour guide would yell. You have 10 minutes of “free” time to find a bathroom, get something to eat or drink and take in the sites. I took pictures, bought fresh tissue and used the toilet, if I could find one. Sometimes I found a pharmacy and begged the chemist for something for my cough. I could cough on demand. I could cough anytime, any place. It was not coughing that was hard. I could cough up phlegm, yellow and green phlegm, clear phlegm to show them that I was really sick and not just trying to get some cough syrup with codeine.

My insignificant other, Peter, was as sick as I was. He moaned and whimpered even more than I did but refused to take anything for it. He figured it would go away on its own. Yeah, sure, fat chance of that. I was sure this flu was a distant relative of the plague. One of the other passengers, an Australian lady, saw a doctor in one of the places we stopped. It cost her $150 Euros to be told she was sick. She already knew that. The doctor gave her a prescription for antibiotics and told her to see a doctor when she got home.

When we visited the Eagles Nest, it was cold and windy, I hoped that my germs would freeze to death or be blown away by the wind. No such luck. I was to cough and hack my way back to Canada.

Traveling when you are sick is not any fun. We had booked the tour and were committed to finishing it. I don’t think they would have let us leave if we tried. I hope that I did not spread my disease, a respiratory flu virus according to my doctor, to anyone.

What could we have done to prevent catching the flu? Probably nothing as there is different strains of flu viruses in different parts of the world. All you can do is hope that your immune system can fight them off effectively. Personally I blame my husband, he catches all kinds of strange viruses when we travel and then gives them to me. If I go on my own I stay healthy.

Although Germany was not very memorable for me, I will never forget the trip, not because of my illness but because it was our honeymoon.

D Ellis

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