Monday, June 29, 2009

It Gets Better and Better

Someone asked where our trip began, and it made me pause. It was... uh...we were in... London! It felt like such a long time ago, and I could not even say how long we were there. Very slowly, like peeling back layers of fog, I began to recall certain details, like the British Museum and peas, the big park with geese... oh, yes, Hyde Park. I couldn't be certain that these were genuinely my memories and not just guidebook recall. I concluded that I hope to return someday, because we barely scratched the surface, because I really want to give those peas another try and because the first two or three days were completely zapped by Jet Lag!

Jet Lag hit each of us at different times and with varying degrees of unconsciousness, crankiness, slow thinking, disorientation, thick tongues, heavy feet and a general feeling of uhhh. “Uhhh” is a feeling and it means “Please take care of me, until I am reconnected with my brain.” During the first three days we took turns being either semi-capable, or fully jet lag impacted and therefore mostly useless. It can be insidious, deceptive. You can believe that you are semi-capable, but those around you will confirm that you were babbling incoherently or wearing your shorts inside out. I may have dropped to the floor and pounded it with my fists, while flaying my legs and saying “I want to go home! I want to go home!” I don't know. It was last week after all and we under the influence of time travel and high security check point interrogations and sleep deprivation. Did I mention I got a clothes-on, full body security groping in Calgary? That will throw you, let me tell you.

London was lovely, I am pretty sure. I hope to return someday, when I am actually awake.

I am imagining it helps to be in a tour group, especially for the initial few days of a trip to a new destination. It would have made a tremendous difference to have been met at the airport by a smiling, confident guide, then bussed to a hotel. It would have been a relief to hear someone say “We are taking you to these places and we are feeding you at this hour and all you have to do is either stand or sit.”

We got on a plane in the light of day and we never saw the sun set and then when the flights were over it was 24 hours later and we had not slept and we were supposed to pass through customs, figure out public transportation, find our hotel, carry luggage, safeguard four children... four children who may or may not have bitterly resented us, but who certainly doubted our choices... lol.

I say all of this to remind myself... to make me think carefully... if we ever manage to take a second trip of a lifetime we should seriously consider starting in any destination that we don't mind forgetting or perhaps booking a package tour for the beginning, so that someone else does the heavy lifting. Wouldn't that be a brilliant business? Someone could create a three day guided tour of major airport destinations for tourists that otherwise want to be independent. For three days someone would handle all my major thinking and logistical matters, throw in low key sightseeing and generally ease the client through the fog. Brilliant.

Well, the jet lag is gone. And everything keeps getting better and better. We love Bruxelles, we loved Paris and London too. William is taking photos, Alex is planning to return to study, Max ate mussels in Brussels and Maria thinks Belgie children's television is wonderful and I think she could be fluent in Dutch if we stayed any longer. But we are not staying any longer... in fact we need to get packed and outta here! More soon.


Tracy said...

Hi, Natatlie! Catching up with you & your travels and all the excitement... Happy Days :o) ((HUGS))

judy in ky said...

I understand, Natalie. The first day after we landed in Italy, we found our hotel and slept for 24 hours, then woke up starving at a time of day when we could not find any place open to get food.
Then we joined our walking tour group and the rest of the trip was wonderful. They had everything arranged for us and took us to things we never would have found on our own.
I still like independent exploring too, though. We did that in Ireland and loved it!
Your photos and narration got better and better, too. By the time you were in Paris, it was kickin' big time!

Anonymous said...

Hi Natalie - Don't forget to visit Zamboni the cat at


Buster Stronghart said...

Very good reasons for group travel. I am a snob and have not thought of group travel, until I read your comment. I go through all your pains, and until I read you, I hadn;t thought that being in a group would make everything easier for a man of my age. thanks, next rip will be a group trip..


Silliyak said...

Look up Untours when you have a chance. We do a week or two with them in one place then travel a bit on our own. If you're in Barecelona on a saturday there was a market near the port where they were selling antiques, produce and whatever. We bought a brass door knocker. They had old (Beatles) records electronics and god knows what else.

Sms Falas said...

Interesent post

Lady Ruth =) said...

There are very nice pictures here.