About

Welcome to our Grand Tour blog!

In April 2020, Mark Patrick and Sarah Walkley are taking off again. This time we are making a tour of New England, starting in Boston and taking in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and several other states before ending in New York to pick up the Queen Mary. We will be away for 6 weeks – 5 in the US and 1 on the transatlantic crossing.

So we thought we would revive this blog that we first set up 5 years ago for our campervan trip around Europe.

But why have we chosen ‘bear-leader’ as the name for our blog?

In the 18th & 19th centuries the Grand Tour of Europe was de rigueur for any young man of distinction (and a few women too). To ensure they visited all the most edifying locations in Europe and not succumb to some of the other activities that the major European cities, particularly Paris had to offer, Grand Tourists were accompanied by an aspiring academic or schoolmaster. The sight of these chaperones leading their reluctant young charge from place to place reminded locals of the travelling performers that dragged bears from town to town putting on shows. Guides on the Grand Tour quickly earned themselves the nickname ‘bear-leader’. It seemed apt somehow…

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