The usual tours and show are all part of travel and do reflect on your experiences Going on tours do help you see things that as a tourist you would not actually see when you are on your own. The locals might even be surprised by what you have found as many might not have thought to travel to certain locations. From Contiki to Lord of The Rings and back to Spamalot.
When planning to travel overseas I do look at what type of tours I can do in that particular location. Sometimes I may even end up on a tour that I have been on before especially to see if it has changed. Not all tours are the same and could be out of your comfort zone as well. Some tours you may find they are not really suitable to what you actually are after as they may not allow you more freedom to move around. One tour that I thought would be really good was the Contiki tour of London. You hear about Contiki tours being a rite of passage for many young tourists. You do get to stay in a hotel as well and might have to share with another. The London tour did include a 3 day London tube ticket and a bus tour to Windsor and Stonehenge as well. These made me happy until I wanted to go off the reservation so to speak. I wanted to catch the tube to Highgate cemetery and found my pass was only good for inner London and the lady didn’t know where that was. I didn’t really hold that against her at all as they are only catering for the people who want to see the inner city stuff like pubs and Madam Tussads. The tour of the city was fun especially when I did try to follow the Da Vinci Code and you find the Temple church after getting lost. I got lost several times inside the hotel too as I kept going the wrong way. I did learn Contiki was not for me as I like wandering around and did find plenty of places to visit in several trips to London that are not on the usual tour maps like my little search for the Black Plague or even Sweeny Todd.
I do tend to go after the unusual and take my time. In any city I might tour something many tourists don’t usually visit. I could be seen as a pilgrim or something like that. I did find where the Punch and Judy shows were, Attend the Lord Mayors parade where afterwards you end up with The Strand being vacant of vehicles while the cleaners do their work. If ever in London that is one parade you should visit and try looking at what sights you can see between St Pauls and Trafalgar Square. There are plenty including the Old Baily. In my opinion it was only one group that were hanging around that did dampen things. It was the Occupy London people, though they did have the best seats in the area and could have been why they were actually camping there. I did find Captain William Bligh’s grave as well after figuring out how to get past the second half of the tour, though I ended up wandering past Big Ben.
Other tours I went on do include many of the Lord of The Ring tours in New Zealand as that place gets Middle Earth crazy when the movies begin or are about to. Several of the tours were actually really good especially when there are only three people on the whole day including the driver. Lets say some people your mother tells you to stay away from and they would have to be fans of the movies. Don’t worry I include myself in that category. The smaller tours are the more fun as you get people who do have the knowledge of the movies and books. Fans are the type of people who you want to be stuck with for a day. Another tour in Christchurch was even more fun as for some reason they never charged my bank account. I did give them all the details at the time even though there was some problems with the system. It never bothered me at all, regardless it was an excellent day. Another tour I did I even acted like a goose as we were in Arrowtown, where several scenes were shot one where Arwen washed the horses down the river. I had pictures taken of me at the location looking as though I was Gangnam dancing. If only I had coconuts as well for those fans.
Some tours do take you to locations that you do want to come back to at a later time just to explore. One of these was a tour group for Larnark Castle and the tour guide stopped on the way at the Northern Cemetery in Dunedin. The Christchurch Red Zone tour had me wandering the places we had passed and I ended up looking at just about all the space fillers in the city and the Lord or the Rings tour through Queenstown had me return the next day to Arrowtown to explore the area and even try my hand at gold panning. Rock, rock, shiny rock and another rock. It was pretty funny when the museum person was going over the town map of places to see and I had actually been to many of the locations before they had opened plus the bus driver had been nice enough to wait for me as I was being transferred to another one that took me to the town.
Shows must go on and they themselves can be very interesting. I did go see Spamalot while I was in London near Wimbledon and thought it was neat catching the tube right to the station and not having too much in the way of problems. I was thankful the show was in English. The next two I went to were not. One was in Berlin, where I do not actually speak a word of German and went to a show called Tanz De Vampire. I know some people who recommended it to me on Facebook and I enjoyed it even if I didn’t understand the language. The biggest problem I had was wondering which toilets I use as they had words I was not familiar with and no picture. I got the picture when ladies exited them, so knew where to go. In Paris I had found another vampire theatre show that was really popular and again I don’t speak French and the usher handed me 3D glasses and said something after I had jumped over the seats as I had walked down the wrong row behind her. The 3D glasses found a use as some of the show was in 3D on a screen. The other show I did see in Paris was the Moulin Rouge and that was spectacular especially when Champaign is included. It didn’t mean I didn’t get lost in the dark on the way back to my hostel as I came out of one exit and never had a map either. In any of the cities I wandered at night I never had problems with other people not that it wont happen.