My friend Lisa and I have been walking every Saturday morning for 16 years. We take silly pictures of ourselves and post them on instagram with witty hashtags like #lisaheatherwalk or #wehaveprobablytalkedaboutyou.
And then Lisa fell and broke her knee cap. Sounds like something that happens on HBO, not to my walking partner.
She is my friday favourite because she is being such a good sport about this injury. She needed surgery to wire her knee cap back together. Two weeks later she learned that one of the wires had broke and they had to repeat the surgery. She has been out of commission for 7 weeks. She is upbeat and accepting and not whining. She’s amazing and her outfit even matches her cast!
We grew up on euchre. A fast game. But bridge. Well, that was something you had to mature into. A strategic form of euchre that involved a lot more counting, and remembering, and counting.
these are some serious, experienced bridge players
I started playing bridge about eight years ago. Among a few hiking friends, we decided that a mental math game might be a way to keep our mind as fit as our physique! One patient soul in the group had been playing since she was 12 or so, and set out to teach four novices how to play bridge.
Do you play the short club? Five card major? Get your kiddies off the street. Strength to the right, weakness to the right. Lead the fourth highest in your longest and strongest.
I don’t pretend to remember what these mean, at least some of the time, or understand the nuance as the cards are skillfully laid down with finessing, ruffing and other things I’ve forgotten…towards the (hopeful) making of the contract. But I love the fact that there will always be something more to learn about this game. I’m not sure I’ll ever be ready to play in public with pros who know. But it’s sure fun to spend an evening, or entire weekend or just happy hour, counting cards and having a mysterious conversation in code to try and get close to a slam.
When you travel with family, you know what you get. It has taken me to places I wouldn’t necessarily have made it on my own. Hiking in Cinque Terre. Riding the gondola in Venice. And eating cheese fondue in Gruyere, Switzerland.
It’s great when you find friends you can travel with too.
I just got back from an annual golf/no golf trip to Naples, Florida. I golf a little, but love the bird watching at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary so much more. And it works with this group.
I travel with another group of friends to cottages to work on our bridge technique and logging more hiking miles.
Here are a few things I’ve learned that make travelling in small groups work so well – with family or friends.
- Talk about what everyone might want to do, before you go. Not to plan every second, but to have a basic idea of what might happen each day.
- Pool the money. On most group trips I do, somebody pays for each expense (groceries, lunch, liquor store, car rental) and we add it all up at the end and divide evenly.
- Know what you need. It’s taken me a long time to realize I need the first few days of my holiday to work on unwinding. I know I don’t want to be really busy, not every day. Figure out what will make your vacation a memorable one for you, and balance it with what the group is doing.
- Keep the group small. Well, that’s just our preference. Multiples of four work well. And every new group of four usually means another rental car (depending on where you are).
And always leave time for impromptu activities…like sunset on the beach.