Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - SOCIAL NETWORK -

An or­gan­ised tour is al­ways good on the friend front. We’re not talk­ing about Club 18-30 here. You want to come home with new friends, not an itchy crotch. These are chang­ing times in the or­gan­ised tour game. It’s no longer enough to travel around a coun­try by coach, try­ing to avoid eye con­tact with poor peo­ple. Now you have to travel around a coun­try by coach try­ing to avoid eye con­tact with poor peo­ple while on your way to a pro­foundly holy site.

You should con­sider Bhutan. This land­locked king­dom be­tween In­dia and China is so hot right now. Wil­liam and Kate (call us the Cam­bridges!) are just back from a royal tour, where they paid a visit to the Tak­t­sang Pal­phug Monastery. This as­ton­ish­ing com­plex in­cludes caves where Bud­dhist monks live and med­i­tate for three years.

It’s an ideal place for you to re­flect on your life, and give thanks that you are not a Bud­dhist monk. (Don’t say this out loud.) If you are look­ing for an Ir­ish per­son here, lis­ten out for some­one whis­per­ing “Je­sus, lads, it doesn’t half make Knock look like Benidorm.”

You might want some­thing other than Bhutan. (For starters, there will be loads of English peo­ple there af­ter the royal visit — let’s just say they like to com­plain.) In which case, the whole Camino craze in Europe is worth a look.

What started out as an an­cient tra­di­tional route across Spain has be­come a verb. You now camino from A to B. There is no short­age of makey-up­pey routes for you to camino across Europe. It’s a nice, cheap way to make fresh friends and learn some­thing new.

For ex­am­ple, there is noth­ing less at­trac­tive than an Ir­ish per­son who has just spent four hours walk­ing in the sun. (“Christ, lads, look at the size of my feet.”)

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