One day I was offered a chance to try out tour guiding. I was pondering about the idea because it scared the crap out of me but when I listed down all the pros and cons, I realized that I have nothing to lose if I try and it will not turn out to be such a good experience. So I said yes to the offer and then freaked out a little that what the hell did I just decide to do?!? I had one day to prepare my material. One-day preparation during my normal job, because there is no one to replace me so that I could take time off to study. Basically I had a few hours in total to prepare and to do it not just in English but also in German. I feel very comfortable in English, but German was a challenge. I speak German pretty well, but my German level is not as nearly as good as my English. So during these few hours I gave myself also some extra German lessons. And some French, because some days prior to the excursion, I booked some French people on this trip (before I knew I will be the tour guide). These tourists did not really know English or German. The more time passed the more nervous I got. This all resulted in only three hours of sleep and I nearly puked in the morning.
Okay, never mind. If I pass out during tour guiding, it won’t be the end of the word. If I puke on all the tourists, it wont be the end of the world. If I can’t get a word out of my mouth, it wont be the end of the world either. If I lose my group or lose myself somewhere, it wont be the end of the world. After a disastrous tour I can always escape to a new country, right?? And there I was sitting and waiting for our tour bus and getting ready to hide my extreme anxiety. After a while I got loosen up and it turned out to be okay. The ride to the places was nice, because Crete landscape is just awesome and I managed to speak quite well, especially when considering all the preparation time I had been given.
This tour that I was guiding was a trip to Gramvoussa- Balos. Balos is a famous, absolutely stunning lagoon at the west coast of Crete and Gramvoussa is a little island with a venetian castle on top near to the lagoon. This tour took a bus ride to a harbor in a little city called Kissamos where we took off to a ship to enjoy a one hour ride to Gramvoussa at first and then to Balos. When we finally arrived to Gramvoussa the weather man decided that it would be nice to make my tour guiding experience a little more challenging by giving me cloudy and rainy weather. On Gramvoussa it was still pretty okay and most of the people just walked on top of the castle to admire the view. Due to weather conditions the ship was not able to anchor by the lagoon, thus we got an hour longer ship ride until it finally managed to anchor. On Balos it started to rain a little too, but it did not take away the beauty of the place. We noticed goats climbing on top of the mountains and people still went for a swim despite the rain and the wind.
The whole region of Gramvoussa and Balos is a naturally protected area. There are many protected species like monk seals and turtles and many different types of plants from which some you can only find growing just there and no other part of the world. Gramvoussa became also known as a piracy area. In 1825 the venetian fortress on Gramvoussa was captured by 3000 Cretan fighters. Those rebels were sturggling with lack of food and thus were forced to rob passing boats. Now you can see a sunken shipwrek lying near Gramvoussa.
Oooh, what a day I had. Super stressful day, lack of sleep, bad weather and some difficult clients. All in all, I am happy that I took the challenge. Though, things did not go so well, but those things were also out of my control since I am not God and capable of controlling the weather. I thought to myself, that on one side tour guiding job is awesome, you get to see places while you work. Your “office” has amazing views and its not dull. On the other hand, it can be very stressful. You need to be prepared when things go wrong and still be capable providing a great tour and it also depends a lot on your customers. If you get happy people who do not ask for much then what ever you do your tour will be successful. When you get complicated people complaining or demanding things, getting lost or being late, this will make your job a lot harder.
Well, I found out how it feels like to be a tour guide. If you never try it out, you will never know. And Balos and Gramvoussa look awesome.