This was the lowlight of a lovely trip to Galena my 12 year old daughter and I took this weekend. We arrived early to purchase our tickets for the 3pm narrated sightseeing tour - I should have suspected something when the tickets are clearly printed "NO REFUNDS". Granted - it was the Friday after the 4th of July so I expected crowds. What I did not expect was 170 people crammed onto a board that could fit half that number comfortably (I am not talking about safety - I am sure it was within guideline but I am talking reasonable comfort.) Long middle school cafeteria tables with molded plastic chairs, crammed in tightly. My tween and I got seats near the window, but were soon surrounded by a table of un-parented children who screamed, pounded on the tables, fought with each other and generally acted like most unsupervised children do, before the boat even sailed one minute out of the dock. Every seat on the upper deck was filled so there was no where to escape. The "narration" was a very bored man talking in a microphone that was completely unintelligible over the noise of the engine. The air was perfumed by the smell of diesel. The boat chugged through the industrial looking port of Dubuque, not particularly picturesque, but soon enough there were some nice bluffs and scenery, but still the loud and crowded space made it impossible to enjoy being on the upper deck - we went below to have a drink and a snack, but despite them prohibiting passengers from bringing any food or beverages they were sold out of most snacks and offered water. We were so happy to see the dock, only to discover that the cruise continued past the dock and made another 40 minute circle. The best part of the cruise was the bonding my tween and I had about coming up with ways we could escape the boat and get back to the shore... hijack a jet ski perhaps? We ended up agreeing that it was just an object lesson about travel - sometimes things work out, sometimes they don't. You just have to make the best of it, and then warn others that there is a much better use of $36.25. Like - anything.
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