In what has become my classic fashion, I’m finally getting around to working out the details of our upcoming UK trip. The one we’re supposed to leave for in 2 weeks. (Better late that never.) And by “work out the details” I don’t mean making dinner reservations and pre-ordering tickets for events — I mean figuring out which cities we’re going to visit and for how long. (Plane tickets and hotel reservations come next.)
I may have dropped the ball a bit on this one.
Nevertheless, plans are being made and I’m getting really excited. I’ve always wanted to visit England, I became rather enthralled with Scotland when I realized how much of the “Harry Potter” movies were filmed there, and Ireland is my family’s homeland (or at least as much of one as we can claim). (We’re skipping Wales on this trip, but there will be another trip in the future.)
I love coming up with a fanciful list of the places I’d like to go and the things I’d like to see. (I always make it an ambitious wish list — I don’t leave anything out, even if it’s far-fetched — because you never know when you’re going to drive RIGHT BY something or have a layover somewhere, and if a place or an activity isn’t even on your radar, you may miss the chance entirely.) But then comes the part I don’t like — the paring down. It’s always tough to face the fact that since I didn’t with the lottery last week (or any week) we’ll eventually have to come back to our regular lives (of living in Vienna — how tragic) and Dan will have to go back to work. In this case, we do have a good long time — 17 days — to work with. It still isn’t going to be enough (not nearly) to do and see all that we’d like to.
But once the wish list is distilled to only its highlights, it’s a pretty darn exciting list. I took our list of dozens of places we’d like to go and shortened it to a few places and a few days in each of England, Scotland and Ireland. One of my favorite things is reflecting on the list and realizing that this isn’t the list that any other person would make. This is my list. (In this case, Dan had no votes or opinions, so I got to call all the shots.) We’ll be spending some time in London, Edinburgh and Dublin (which seem like pretty obvious choices) but we’ll also be visiting the area in England where my mom lived for a year and also Belfast, which isn’t a major tourist destination but is where my grandmother grew up. We’re skipping Bath and Devon and Cambridge but we’re going ride the train that takes the route depicted as the trip to Hogwarts in Harry Potter and hike in the Lake District (which I’ve been fond of since I discovered that it’s where Beatrix Potter lived and took her inspiration for “Peter Rabbit”).
This is a big trip. It’s our longest sightseeing trip so far, and it feels like an ancestral homecoming for me and my boys. We’re excited to be travelling to somewhere that still feels distant to our American sensibilities even though it’s only a few hours by plane, and we’re somewhat bemused by the fact that we’re travelling internationally to go to a country where we can speak the language, yet we aren’t going home . . . and when we return “home” we’ll go back to being at a disadvantage for communication. It’s a little odd.
Now I have to map everything out. I have to figure out how we’re getting from one point to the next and make our reservations and arrangements. It’s been a bit hard getting myself motivated for this trip, because it comes so close on the heels of our very long visit to the US. But now that it’s taking shape, I can’t wait.