My parents arrived in Dublin early on a June Thursday morning. I had to work, so my sister, who had come back to Ireland with me a week earlier, met them at the hotel. At noon we met for lunch, and I got my first good look at my parents since arriving in Europe.
Daddy was hardly able to keep his eyes open as he begged me to let him sleep. We were in the middle of Eddie Rockets; of course I couldn’t let him sleep. It was payback for all the long road trips and not letting us sleep then. Mother’s hair stood up on end as I could tell she tried to rapidly prepare herself for the city. They were saying some of the weirdest things, and it was all I could do not to laugh at them.
From the get go, I could tell this was going to be an interesting trip – one similar to that of the Griswold family vacations.
The first two days in Dublin were spent answering questions from my parents. “That’s just the fashion, Dad,” or “Yes, Mama, I know that the light is red, but you can cross. Just keep up,” were flying out of my mouth left and right. Some of the things they said were rather shocking, but I guess I remember my first time in Europe and was quite baffled as well.
Friday, Daddy, Mama, and Payton hopped on a Dublin bus tour and wandered through the city. From what they told me, they never got lost and enjoyed everything they saw. By the second night, they had become rather accustom to European fashion and followed me more quickly across the streets. Dublin was finding a place in their hearts, and I’m proud to say they loved it.
The Ryanair flight to London was just another flight to me. I am accustom to the small seats and bright yellow and blue colors everywhere. My family on the other hand weren’t so used to it. My sister told my parents horror stories about Ryanair. Mama was less than pleased to be riding an airline that “comes in a little fast” on the landing, but she made it through ok.
Once we touched ground in England, it was my job to navigate the four of us to Camden where the hotel was. We got our money swapped over, bought train tickets from Gatwick to Victoria Station and located the toilet. Once everyone was ready to go, passports accounted for, backpacks on our shoulders, and relieved, I shoveled us towards the train to the city.
I was trying to move at a fast enough pace to keep up with London’s speedy lifestyle, but my family, who doesn’t travel as hard as I do, just couldn’t keep up. That proved to be a problem.
Once we arrived in Victoria Station, I had to find the ticket desk. I’ll be the first to admit that I am technologically challenged and cannot work machines. Leading an aggravated bunch of people behind me, we went to the ticket desk to buy our subway cards and make sure I understood the system. The guy behind the window looked at the bunch of us like we were flies on a sticky summer night, but he gave us our cards and we were on our way.
Now, if you have never ridden the London Underground, then you should know that it is a mad house. Tunnels dart off in 527 different directions; loud trains zoom past, and humans scatter in every nook and cranny likes lost ants. It was no wonder that my dad missed my mom, sister, and I turning a sharp left to board the Northern Line towards Camden.
Arriving on the platform, we quickly realized Daddy was not with us. Mother’s eyes grew wide and I sprinted back to the midsection of the underground. A new wave of people came off the escalator blocking all points of view. I could not see my dad. Next thing I knew I heard someone calling my mom’s from the right. I looked over and my dad was hollering at my mama. A quick retrace of our steps and a small freak out later, the four of us were reunited. Daddy was frustrated with me that I had “left” him, but in my defense, Mama and Payton had told me he was with us! Either way, from then on someone usually had a tight grip on my book bag as we waded through hoards of people.
Once we were safely in our hotel and out of the throngs of tattoos, dreadlocks, and warlocks, my parents were able to kick back and relax for a second. Mama about collapsed on the bed and Daddy rubbed his head. I chuckled and said, “Welcome to London!” They all praised me for my map skills and ability to navigate my way through the massive city. All in a day’s work it is, but I think they came to respect the love of travel I have and know that it’s not as easy as it looks.
That night, Payton and I left our parents in the hotel room and headed out to the local watering hole. She and I wanted to watch the Italy vs England World Cup match in a pub. With our Kopparbergs in tow, she and I found a corner table and watched the match. The English were singing and cheering and the Italians were just as rowdy.
Look for Part 2 tomorrow!!