I’m baaack, and I’m here to bore you with all the trivial details of my trip to Busch Gardens! (For those of you who are slow on the uptake, I went to Busch Gardens.)
So, V (my spousal unit) and S (a friend of ours) carpooled down to Busch Gardens. And, for your information, I always go down to places, never up or over, because I am at the top of the world. Yes, it is nice up here.
In any case, it should have been about 2.5 hours of driving. However, we hit some very bad traffic early in the drive. Plus, we stopped for dinner, which took more than an hour. I’m sure you don’t care, but I will mention anyway that it was an IHOP, and I ordered my favorite IHOP dish, which is steak tips. However, the steak tips I received were very much unlike the steak tips I get at my usual IHOP. They were good, yes, but they seemed like a totally different dish.
We finally arrived at the hotel in the early evening. A man named J2 (a friend of S’s) was waiting for us. He is J2 because, of course, I am J, and the only “plain” J allowed in this here blog. He struck me as very charming and polite when he greeted us.
Our hotel was the Country Inn & Suites by Carlson located on 7135 Pocahontas Trail in Williamsburg, VA. Overall, I would recommend this hotel. It was relatively inexpensive, but quite good for its price category. The staff was friendly. The room was clean. The beds were reasonably comfortable. There were plush pillows on the bed, and extras on a shelf if we wanted more. The room itself was reasonably spacious, and attractive. I particularly liked how there was an extra sink outside the bathroom (as well as the one inside). They provided the usual soap bars and small shampoo and conditioner bottles – they were a bit stingy with only providing one shampoo bottle, but I’m sure they would have brought more if we’d asked. They cheerfully brought us more tissues when we ran out. They also provided a small bottle of hand lotion, which was very nice. They chose a nice brand.
Also, V and I forgot to bring toothpaste, and they gave us some small single use Colgate toothpaste packets, plus free mouthwash sample-size bottles, free of charge. They also gave us a free toothbrush.
The nicest and most unusual thing about this hotel is that they have a cookie jar at the reception desk, and you can swing by and have some cookies any time you like. It was fully stocked every time I saw it. And, yes, the cookies were good.
Well, V and I settled into our hotel room for the night. We got some free entertainment in the form of a man out in the hallway yelling! He was quite furious and yelled for a good long while. Eventually, he calmed down, or at least ran out of lung power, and ended our evening drama. After that, the hotel was quiet.
We played a quick game of opening the Bible to a random passage. We got Ezekiel 1:6, which reads: And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. Yep, we felt suitably edified. No, we never seek context when we play this game – it’s much more fun this way. If you want context with your verse, that’s your problem and you’ll have to look it up yourself.
We also discussed the story of Noah (the guy with the Ark), and we decided that it was actually a prime candidate for a television series of the weekly soap variety. We thought we should call it Desperate Ark Wives.
I slept reasonably well, despite the fact that my nose kept running half the night. I quit chasing it and let it exhaust itself – no, wait, that’s not right. I mean, the hotel’s tissues were scratchy, and my already-abused nose was hurting by morning, even though I kept plying it with ointment. Yes, I had a cold or some such. I did finally get some good sleep, though, when I ran out of snot. (Hey, you know the rules of this blog – boring details are mandatory!)
The hotel had a free breakfast the next morning. My initial impression of the breakfast was very good: there was a lot of different food available to choose from, and it all looked good. I was soon disabused of that notion, however. There was something wrong with the milk, the muffins, and, well, most of the other food. Luckily, there was both fresh and canned fruit, and the waffle maker worked beautifully. (Also, though I did not discover this until the next day, the potatoes were fabulous.) I managed to find plenty to eat.
Finally, we went to Busch Gardens. If you don’t know, Busch Gardens is an amusement park in Williamsburg. It features the conceit that it is composed of sections that are modelled after several European countries – specifically, England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, Italy, France, and New France. It also currently has a section called Oktoberfest, which I imagine changes with the seasons.
(There are also two kiddie-centric sections, one called Land of the Dragons and the other is Sesame Street. Neither of these are world-related, though Sesame Street almost makes sense in context, and Dragon Land was magical. Also out-of-theme but greatly appreciated, they had an animal corridor.)
Let me take a moment and muse on the past and present, just to make certain you’re totally bored with my blather: Before this trip, my last trip to Busch Gardens was when I was a spry teenager. In those days, Busch Gardens was actually owned by the beer company of that name. Today, it is owned by Seaworld. In those days, there were very few rides, and most of the entertainment was live shows and wandering cast members. Most of the available shows were cultural in some way, related to the country the section is named after. At least, this is how I remember it. Today, there are more amusement park rides, especially several impressive roller coasters. There are only a handful of live shows now, and none of them struck me as culturally relevant. Of course, as S pointed out, they are out of the “regular” season and they are doing a Halloween theme now, and there may be more cultural shows during the regular season. That’s fair. With the exception of the animal shows, all the shows were Halloween-related.
So, the day started well. The weather was gorgeous. It wasn’t cold at all, and I was quite comfortable in short sleeves. I feared I might want a sweatshirt or light jacket when evening came, but I figured I would simply buy one at one of the many stores when the need arose. The other members of my party came prepared with jackets, and the joke was on them because they had to wear or carry them all day.
S and J2 had pre-purchased tickets, whereas V and I had not. They therefore went directly into the park, while V and I went looking for the place to buy tickets. We didn’t actually find the correct place, but we did find a booth that was officially for group ticket sales, and they nicely offered to sell us our tickets even though we weren’t technically in the correct spot. Once we had our tickets, we got to go through the gates into the park, too.
As with almost everywhere these days, they now have a security checkpoint where they rifle through your belongings before you come in. However, people who are not carrying any purses, tote bags, backpacks, or other random stuff-containers can walk past this line. I qualified. There was a smiling guard who waved genially at me as I walked past him. I was a bit surprised; I thought he’d have asked me to empty out my (rather large) pocket, but no, I just walked by him and waved back. As it happens, my pocket contained lip balm and a lip salve, my hotel room card key, some lens cleaning wipes, and a boatload of tissues – nothing that would be consider a security risk by any sane individual, though I suppose a spry MacGyver-esque brain could use the lip salve to lubricate some insidiously ingenious contraption or just a rusty lock. Still, as I waltzed past, I thought that I could easily have hidden a knife and all sorts of small but evil things in my pocket and they’d never have noticed. Oh, well, I’m certainly not complaining. I was actually pleased that they were so nice.
Meanwhile, V had to go through the line of people with stuff. I got to silently gloat, but it didn’t last very long. Apparently, they aren’t really too careful about poking through the bags, because V was only a minute or so behind me.
Once we walked through those gates, we were in jolly England. We acquired some maps and tried to plan our day.
S was anxious to get to a ride called Apollo’s Chariot, located in Italy – don’t ask why something Greek-sounding is in Italy, because we don’t know. So we headed that way with purpose, but we got distracted. It turns out that at least one of their water rides was open, the one called Escape from Pompeii. S thought it would be great fun. I was a bit dubious, thinking that if we got wet first thing we’d probably spend the whole day wet. Everyone else seemed game, though, so I said I’d do it. After all, I do love the water rides. Besides, S insisted that nobody ever got really wet on those rides. We walked past a couple of guys who were soaked to the bone, and I said, “Oh, no, we won’t get wet at all.” We got on the ride anyway, though. It was pretty cool – there’s a short cruise through a Pompeii that’s falling apart (with things nearly falling on you, of course) and burning down. They used real fire, and it was quite toasty warm in there, actually. Then, of course, comes the drop, as if you’re rafting down a waterfall. Will it shock anyone if I mention that I was totally and completely soaked? No, I didn’t think it would. When we got off the ride, I helpfully informed S that we didn’t get wet at all. I suppose you can probably guess that S was also wet.
However, despite my misgivings in advance, we actually dried off very quickly. I think the time frame was in minutes. We were certainly dry by the time we reached the next ride.
This next item is a swinging pirate ship. This is a special ride to me. When I was last at Busch Gardens, this ride was there then, too. On that particular day long ago, in the late afternoon, there was no line for this ride. I enjoyed the ride so much that I just kept riding it over and over. I rode it 20 times that day. Now, the first 16 times were great. By the 17th time, I started feeling just a bit queasy, but I wasn’t smart enough to stop. The 20th time was one time too many, and I got a bit sick. The strange thing is, that didn’t dull my love for this ride one little bit (though it did make me stop riding it for that day). So, we came to this ride, and I remembered that day clearly, and I just couldn’t wait to ride it again. You’d think I might be more cautious, but, well, no. Besides, it was great at first, remember? I had told S the story of this ride earlier; so S already knew my history. The line was short like before, and yes, I still love it. Still, we left it at just one ride this time.
Next, we finally made it to Apollo’s chariot. It looked like fun, but there was a catch. There was a “practice seat” outside, and a warning that “larger” passengers should test themselves before getting on; if the safety bar won’t latch, then you can’t ride. I tested myself and, sure enough, I’m too fat. I don’t actually think of myself as fat; I still see myself as the wee thing I was at 17, even though I know that’s no longer an accurate picture. In any case, it came as a bit of a shock that I didn’t fit. I shrugged and said, “That’s the penalty for being fat.” Still, I felt a little resentment. I am certainly overweight, but I am not obese. Still, I felt like the park management was putting me down. It wasn’t about losing out on the ride; it was about the implied judgement I felt. I felt there was no good reason for it. Maybe I’m wrong; I’m certainly no engineer. Still, I think they could easily have designed the seats to be more accommodating if they wanted to – and, yes, without penalizing skinny people. Oh, well; I didn’t want to have a bad day, so I pushed those thoughts out of my mind. Besides, it was V’s birthday, so, even if I had felt like wallowing, it would have been super-selfish of me to jeopardize V’s happiness over one silly little thing.
However, as the day wore on, and we went on more rides, I became increasingly aware of how skinny-oriented the park was. The turnstyles for every single ride were very narrow. I had to turn sideways to fit through them. There is certainly no good reason for THAT; a turnstyle could easily be made for a wider pair of hips. I wasn’t the only person who had that issue; people skinnier than me were also turning to the side to get through, including all three of my companions. It was senseless. I felt as if some management guy was trying to shame me over my weight every single time, and it really started to grate on me – pun intended.
I didn’t have to turn to the side when I was a teenager. I imagine the turnstyles were just as narrow then, too, but I was also narrower. It never even struck me as a thing then. I’m sure there’s the seed for a long blog post on skinny privilege or some such in there, which would be suitably boring for this blog. I may write it one day.
In any case, I am thrilled to report that we kept up a constant pace, only pausing the walking and standing when we were on a ride, and yet I made it to lunch without slowing down or feeling any pain. Those of you who know my backstory will know that this is amazing. I made a conscious decision not to bring a wheelchair or even a cane, or to use a wheelchair or scooter provided by the park. I might have chosen differently if I had realized how energetic S still is, but it turned out that it wasn’t a problem at all. This means that my recovery has been even better than I realized.
After lunch, I had a difficult time getting re-started. I had been fine while continuously on the go, but once I’d sat and rested, my body wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to get back up and do more. So, V and I lingered over the table much longer than we needed to. This was not burdensome to S and J2 because they had suggested we split up for the afternoon, anyway. So, we lingered, we rested, and eventually, we rolled out.
While I’m on the subject, I am even more pleased to report that, after walking off the stiffness from the lunch rest, I felt good again. I am further thrilled to report that my feet started hurting long before my back did! Now, that is truly incredible. My feet hurting simply means I’m not so used to being on my feet so much – I lead a fairly sedentary lifestyle these days, you know. But my back and hips didn’t start seriously bothering me until nearly dark! This means that my body is really recovering! Obviously, I’m not 100% like before, and I never will be, but I am a functional human being once again! I can’t stress enough how happy that realization made me.
Anyway, as for lunch itself, we ate in Ireland. I had pushed for that, because I’d checked out the menus in advance and I’d started drooling when I read that Grogan’s Grill served pork loin with red onion marmalade. Naturally, I ordered that. It came with a baked potato and some nasty cabbage. I also ordered a side of fries. Both V and S ordered the Irish stew. Now, let me tell you: the pork loin was melt-in-your-mouth delicious, and the baked potato was one of the best-tasting baked potatoes I’ve ever had. (I didn’t even taste the cabbage myself, as I hate cabbage, but V helpfully tasted it for me and declared it bad.) The french fries were absolutely, unquestionably the best french fries I’ve had from a restaurant in my life. I did okay with my choice. However, I got to taste V’s stew, and I have to say that it was so delicious that it put my meal to shame. Both V and S agree that the stew was fantastic. S was even talking about possibly learning to make soda bread because it was that good. (Yes, the stew was served on a soda bread roll.) This is impressive because S is not what you call an avid cook. (Neither are any of the rest of us, mind you.)
In any case, I put some serious consideration into going back for seconds and ordering the stew, or at least having a second baked potato. I decided against it, however. V promised me that there would be dinner later. (Cue ominous music… but we will create a little lame suspense by not telling you that part until later.)
We had found the clydesdales (horses) and the blackface sheep before lunch, and stopped and watched them for a minute. This was probably at least part of the reason S suggested we split up after lunch; S recognized that V and I probably wanted to go down animal lane, while S was interested in doing more rides or something.
Well, yes, that’s pretty much what V and I did. We strolled down the animal lane, where we found bald eagles, wolves, an owl, a wallaroo, and an aviary containing lorikeets, kookaburras, and other birds.
At 3:00, there was a show titled “Antics of Pets” or something along those lines. We weren’t sure from the description exactly what the show was about, but we were pretty sure it involved live animals. My feet were just beginning to hurt, so the timing was great for me; more importantly, though, I was sure we would be charmed. I was not disappointed! They strung together a thin story in order to show off various tricks that various animals had learned. The show included a lot of dogs, one or two rats (only one rat at a time, and they’re small, so I couldn’t tell if it was the same rat or different ones), some cats, a few potbellied pigs, and some birds. We saw a lot of cuteness. Some of the tricks were funny, such as when a dog slipped his leash, ate the actress’s snack, and slipped back into the leash before she “noticed” he was off. Other tricks were just simply amazing, such as the cat who crossed a line of rope upside-down or the dog who learned how to jump rope. Most of them were just adorable. I highly recommend this show to anyone who likes animals.
The show actually let out with just barely enough time to make the predators show at 3:30, but we opted instead for a safari to find the bathroom. We thought we’d catch the 5:00 predators show, but then we didn’t do that, either. In any case, I was quite surprised that they fit so much into such a short show.
Right across from the bathroom we found was an ice cream stand, and V felt like having some birthday ice cream. That was good by me, mostly because we sat. I admit that I was a bit disappointed in the sense that I had been thinking about having some popcorn or a pretzel, but it’s very hard to complain about being forced to eat ice cream I had a chocolate brownie sundae with walnuts, and it was yummy. V had a rocky road brownie sundae with walnuts. There was so much ice cream that neither one of us could actually finish!
After the sundae, we studied the map, and realized that we had very little time left before the “river” cruises closed. We thought that looked nice when we passed it earlier, so we decided to head back that way next. We were very appreciative that the river cruises were right next to one of the skyride stops, while we were very close to another skyride stop. This meant that we didn’t need to do a lot of walking to get there, which was a good thing for me. After the rest, I was once again stiff. Also, despite the rest, my feet still hurt (though less than before). I was also beginning to feel a bit of tiredness in my back and tightness in my hips; it was not yet pain, but I knew that I was very close to pushing myself to where I was going to experience pain. Anyway, we followed our plan, and, luckily, the line for the skyride was short, and the cruise was boarding just as we arrived. The cruise was relaxing and beautiful. I felt refreshed.
Afterward, we wanted to ride the train. S texted us that they had just gotten on the train about the time we were heading to the cruise, so we knew we weren’t going to do the train together. We were sure they’d already finished their train ride by the time we finished our cruise. Still, we really wanted to go ride the train, so we did. I loved the train ride! It was so much fun.
But I get ahead of myself. Immediately after the cruise, we discussed how best to get TO the train. Our original plan had been to return to the skyline station right by the cruise rides and take the skyline to the next stop, which was conveniently very near one of the train stations. However, as we exited the cruise, we noticed what looked like an inviting bridge going in the direction we wanted to go. We thought it would be a nice walk, and I was feeling pretty good – the tired feeling had gone away from my back, somehow, and my feet were almost fully recovered. So, we strolled across the lovely bridge, and down a short walk. But soon, we encountered the stairway from hell! The stairs went up, and up, and up, and up… Walking is one thing, but climbing so many stairs was hard on me. On the plus side, I am pleased to announce that my knee held up to the abuse! On the minus side, I was having some serious trouble before I reached the top.
Well, anyway, making light of the situation and exaggerating my distress quite a bit, I grabbed onto the handrail and told V to go on without me. The wonderful thing about this moment was that there was a lady a few steps ahead of me (she had passed me), who turned around and, seriously concerned, asked if I needed help. The most amazing thing about this woman was that she was carrying an infant, and yet was still willing to offer help to a stranger. Of course, I flashed her a smile and thanked her, and she gave me a small smile back and kept climbing – I hope I successfully communicated that I was being silly, and didn’t need help, but really appreciated the offer. But, in any case, that moment made me feel better about humanity. There really is good in this world, folks, and the small things make all the difference.
I dragged myself up the last few stairs and puffed on to the train. I would have preferred to sit on a bench and rest at the top, but the train was close. We arrived just as the train was pulling out of the station, so we had to wait. That was good; I got to sit on a bench and collect myself, so that I was fully able to enjoy the train ride.
We opted to do the full circuit; that is, instead of using the train as a means to get from one place to another on the map, we just stayed on the train until we returned to the station we started from. It was worth doing. Not only was the ride itself fun, but the landscape is worth seeing!
I should mention that our conductor instructed us to keep hands and feet inside the train, but said nothing about our heads for the first two segments. The third segment, however, he amended his speech to include heads. I made a wry comment about that, but of course I kept my head inside the train. I wonder if someone else didn’t. (I certainly find it unlikely that the conductor heard my comment – I was nowhere near his hearing range.)
After we got off the train, we sat on a bench outside a barn-like building and called S. S came to us. Right behind us, between us and the barn, was a really cute stuffed horse with a tartan-like saddle (and a bunch of other things). S spotted it first. I commented on how wonderful and cute it was. V walked over and bought it.
While V was purchasing the horse from one of the two merchants, the other merchant was telling me that it was the last one left and suggesting that I buy it if I wanted it. Then, he turned around, realized V had bought it, and said that he had literally just sold the last one. I thought that was funny.
We also found out, through that same merchant/employee, that the thing that looked like a barn actually is a barn, and it houses animals we can interact with. It had housed horses until 5, and was closed at that moment, but would reopen later in the evening with owls and other “Halloween-y” critters.
S really wanted to ride the Loch Ness Monster, and I really wanted to do that, too. V and J2 didn’t feel up to it, though. Meanwhile, since V had just bought the horse, I suggested putting it back in the car so it wouldn’t get lost. They decided to do that while we rode the monster. As it turns out, the line for the monster was so long that they managed to go to the car and back, buy me more water, and still had lots of time to twiddle their thumbs. The ride was totally worth the wait, though. I had a moment of fear that they weren’t going to let me ride when my bar didn’t latch, but I pulled it again and it latched. I was afraid my chest was going to be deemed too big, but it wasn’t. Whew. Anyway, the monster is unique among all the roller coasters I personally have ever ridden in that it has a long section where you are in total darkness. You careen through who-knows-what at breakneck speeds, and you cannot see a thing. It’s really an amazing experience.
Anyway, at this point, J2 was having a headache. J2 is apparently “used to” eating at certain times, and not eating on time is hard. So, J2 suggested that we eat at a sub shop in Germany, because subs are somehow “easy on the stomach” and therefore the best food right now. Now, I would argue strongly with that concept. I typically find subs unappetizing at best and gross at worst. They are glorified sandwiches in funny bread with grease, cheese, and rat filth thrown on top. Okay, I’m certainly not saying that there couldn’t possibly be a sub that I might want to eat – I know better than to issue a statement like that because somebody might take it as a challenge and start shoving subs in my face until I like one. Still, this is not my idea of good eating. However, J2 was obviously in a pissy mood, and I actually wasn’t feeling especially hungry. I mean, at that moment, if you’d put something in front of me, I could have eaten it, certainly; however, I did not feel the need or desire to go looking for something to eat. I’d had plenty already. So, I figured, whatever; I’m sure a sub shop will have fries or something like that, and that will be fine. V seemed to think that a sub shop would be fine, or perhaps V just didn’t want to argue, either. S, on the other hand, was quite clear about not being hungry at all, and would instead like to ride the Verbolten. Somehow, S got the idea that nobody else wanted to ride the Verbolten at all – well, okay, for V and J2, that was true; I would have liked to ride the Verbolten in theory, but in practice, the ridiculous line we’d seen every time we passed it was a turn-off. Besides, I was starting to get tired and I needed to sit and rest. We agreed that S would go ride the Verbolten and the rest of us would go eat. Except, that’s not what happened.
Meanwhile, S also wanted to go buy a special strange “Halloween-esque” drink that went on sale after 6pm: jello shots in a syringe. S apparently thought this method of delivery incredibly novel and interesting. “It’s fun,” S said. I guess I’m old. To me, the syringe is a tool you use to help sick patients get better; nothing especially fun or novel about it. Of course, I’ve dealt with more than my share of sick furry patients. Sure, I could see it as a fun prop if you were playing doctor or nurse (or sexy nurse, for that matter), or as a silly prop for some doctor banter. I can imagine a fun exchange where pretend-patient throws a hand over-dramatically on the forehead and cries, “Oh, doctor, I’ve got a terrible case of the dull-drums and I can’t get my party on!” and the doctor replies, “I prescribe a jello shot!” … but I didn’t get the impression that S was thinking even remotely along those lines. It seemed to be just a novelty alternative to a drinking glass for S. I desperately tried to get in touch with my younger self to try to figure out if I would have been amused by this at some point in the past. I couldn’t, though – younger me wasn’t talking to older me that day. You know, it really sucks when I won’t talk to myself. I probably stink, too.
In any case, we made our way to the jello shots through a darkening park. Busch Gardens was officially haunted after 6pm. This means that a bunch of employees dressed up as things that go bump in the night (mostly zombies and werewolves) and ran around the park trying to scare people. I had been looking forward to that; it sounded fun. When we were on the skyride, we started hearing some random screams from below, so we knew it had started. However, my actual experience was lame. One ghost yelled “BOO” from a corner as we walked past, but I barely even registered his presence. A few werewolves growled at me as we passed each other, but I just growled back and they kept walking. I wonder if I was somehow sending “don’t bother me” signals that they were picking up on, or if they really were that lame. Oh, well.
On the plus side, the night decor was amazing. There was mist, and colored lights, and many of the Halloween decorations (especially those which were pumpkin-shaped) lit up.
In any case, after S got that jello shot, I found a bench and collapsed. I’d have liked to just sit there, in the air – the weather was lovely and the temperature was still excellent, even though I had only short sleeves on – and watch people mill around and have a nice time. But J2 was hungry. They practically had to make me stand; I was starting to hurt and I wasn’t rested. We went inside the nearest building, which had food. I am not sure if this was the presumed sub shop that J2 was aiming for, or if J2 simply opted to be practical and eat at the nearest place. In any case, the good news was, it wasn’t a sub shop after all. The bad news was, I didn’t see anything on the menu I really wanted. I went ahead and ordered their ribs, on the theory that I usually like baby back ribs and that I would probably discover I was hungry when I was looking at food on my plate. As soon as the food was on my tray, I realized I’d made a mistake and I didn’t want it. As I progressed through the line, I discovered that there were hot dogs in the “kiddie menu” section. I could have just been tired and unobservant, but I swear I did not see that information on the wall. If I had known, I’d have opted for the hot dog and called it a day. Sigh.
After we paid, I found the walk around the tables while carrying a loaded tray torturous. I could feel my arms shaking and I just prayed I didn’t drop my tray before we found a seat. On one hand, I am thrilled that this sort of infirmity didn’t start up until well after 7pm in the evening – given how early we started our day, that’s a very long time where I was functioning as a healthy human being! On the other hand, that sort of thing is embarrassing to me, and precisely the reason I do a lot less socializing than I used to. I don’t like people to see me that way. (So, if you haven’t been driving catatonic yet, you might wonder why I’m writing about it. That’s a good question. I praise your question and fail to answer it.)
The tables at this establishment had benches, without backs. A back would have been nice, but I didn’t care. I was just grateful to sit. I picked at my meal and ate as much as I could manage. It didn’t taste good at all. The ribs were poorly done, the potatoes were slathered in some sauce that tasted off, and so forth. Now, to be fair, some of my poor assessment may be on me – I wasn’t especially hungry but I was tired and hurting. Even so, when I return to Busch Gardens, I will not be eating there again. In fact, assuming I’m given the choice (and not driven by peer pressure), I’d eat in Ireland again. But anyway, I picked at the food, and wound up eating slightly over half.
I hated that I had to throw the remainder away! I could be mistaken – I certainly didn’t have the energy to investigate – but I believe there was no way for me to take my food home for later. I think that would have been a nice thing for Busch Gardens to enable. Restaurants have boxes or bags for carryout; why didn’t they? Grrrrr.
(Yes, I know I said I didn’t like it. My dogs aren’t as picky as I am, and the food wouldn’t have been wasted.)
While I was eating, a show happened on the stage (that was nice). It was a vampire-themed musical revue. The singing and dancing were fabulous. The costumes were quite good. I really enjoyed the entertainment.
When we left, we started heading out of the park. My rest hadn’t repaired me, and I was actually in more pain than when I sat down at the table. Every step made it worse. Luckily for me, the first few legs of the journey to the car were blissfully short, and I kept finding a bench to rest. S and/or J2 kept finding stuff to do, I think. And, frankly, I was quite happy sitting on a bench, enjoying the air, watching the activity around me. The spook army had grown, and the place was now crawling with werewolves (mostly) and other spooks. They were still lame in their rare efforts to scare me, but the sheer number of them walking around was fun. I would gladly have sat there until the park closed – or for the rest of eternity, for that matter.
The final leg of the journey had to happen, though. J2 was pretty insistent on wanting to go home. (I think S would have stayed to the end otherwise, actually.) I felt like I was on fire from the middle of my back to the soles of my feet and every inch in between, with special guest nails in my knees. I begged my companions to go on and leave me behind, and this time I was only half kidding. S linked arms with me and walked with me, and that helped enormously. V took up the hint and linked arms with me, too. J2 even offered to go get the car and drive to the barrier to pick me up, which was thoughtful and sweet, but I stuck it out all the way to the car.
Sinking into the car was a blessed relief, even if I did bonk my head on the way in. It was a worthwhile trade.
Back at the hotel room, I lay flat on the bed, and swore I was never going to move ever again in my entire life.
(Of course I lied, as you might have guessed based on the fact that I’m home now. V did not strap the bed to the car to take me home.)
This concludes this travel narrative. I’m sure you’re dying to know all about breakfast the next morning and the trip home, but you will have to wonder, because here I fall silent. I will only say that I noticed potatoes on the spread that I didn’t notice the day before, and they were delicious. Everything else is up to your imagination.