European Vacation, Part I- The Arrival
I’ve always wanted to write about my travel experiences, problem is though that I don’t travel that much anymore these days! (I could write about my trip to Hell and back, but I haven’t come back yet so keep a look out for that one!)In the past decade I have traveled to places like: Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, New Jersey, New York, and the Bahamas. Exciting, I know.. But this year will be full of travel experiences, and my first destination will be Ireland. I’ve been to Europe, and this upcoming trip is getting me excited because 1. It’s Ireland!! and 2. It reminds me of my last trip to Europe and how I just loved it there!
In October of 2001, I took a trip to London, England to visit a friend that was studying abroad for a semester. I can’t imagine she did much school work that semester because the whole 2 weeks I was there she NEVER went to class!!! As you know, 2001 wasn’t a good year for America. I had a great summer, went to Vegas with friends, was making good money at my job, living on my own with a roommate and then September 11th came, and I feared for my safety traveling abroad just a month later. I lost my good paying job, and a friend I was supposed to travel with backed out (he said his parents made him, we were 24 yrs old!) Anyhow, like I said, I had lost my job, and all the money I had saved was for my trip, but what would any responsible adult do? Go to Europe of course. Even though I knew I was moving back home with the ‘rents as soon as I came back!
Boston’s Logan airport was under heightened security. There were security checks everywhere, and people were being profiled and patted down. I, however, got through with no problem and no questions asked, while I watched almost everyone else being subject to an extra search. I guess I fit the profile of New Englander, and most likely didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction on me. I don’t know…..But the flight was fantastic! There was hardly anyone on the plane! I flew on Virgin Atlantic, and Richard Branson did a nice job with his airliners. Of course you have to walk through first class to get to coach, and on my way I noticed a spiral staircase that led to what I could only imagine to be some really hip lounge with fabulous beverages! When I found out my friend wasn’t coming with me, I wanted to see how much first class would cost, since I was flying alone and the cost was unimaginable. 10,000 dollars for first class!!!! That’s right! I was expecting to see that foot massages, mani’s and pedi’s, and blowjobs were included, but nope..that was just for a seat, and possibly admission to the spiral staircase. I was hoping and praying that since I received the royal treatment at the airport, they would bump me up to first class out of kindness, but that didn’t happen!
Finally, after being jet-lagged and arriving in London at 5am, midnight my time, (with no one to pick me up like they were supposed to! ahem, Julie..) I was in a complete tizzy being spun around by commuters, and run over by luggage carts. I felt like I should have been getting ready for bed, yet I was up at the butt-crack of dawn..confusing!!! I scrambled to find change to use the payphone and call Julie to come pick me up, but then realized the payphones don’t take quarters!! I was smart enough to have some money converted in the U.S. before I left, but didn’t have any change.
After panhandling for some change to use the payphone and waking Julie from her slumber, I tell her not to bother (because I hate waiting and I knew she probably had a gnarly hangover), I will just take a cab. It was a nice surprisingly sunny day and I had the quintessential black cab experience with a little tour along the way from my cabbie who pointed out where Madonna lived, but I couldn’t be excited because the only thing that I could think about was, how much is this going to cost me???
80 pounds and about 45 minutes later, I finally arrive to the dormitory she was residing at in South London. I’m not sure if the “South side” of everywhere is the same, but South London fit the description of the dismal, poverished, unsettling area of every “South side” I’ve been to. I was greeted by my friend and given the tour of her residence hall. Finally, I made it to my accommodations and was excited to see where I was going to sleep. I knew this was going to be the kind of trip where it was sleep whenever, wherever, but her bed was so small (didn’t even look as big as a twin) and the little area of carpet in her room was wet, because for some reason Europeans don’t think it necessary to put up some sort of division between the shower and the floor. All there was, was a little “lip” so when you shower, the water just flows freely everywhere. But I didn’t care, I needed sleep. I pretty much took a catnap, how long can one possibly sleep when in a foreign country with so much to see and do?
The evening was fantastic. Walking along the Thames River, strolling over Tower Bridge (which by the way is a drawbridge, and I had no idea til the damn thing started shaking) and snapping photos of Big Ben, Parliament and Westminster Abby.
I wish I had more photos to share, but after moving 8 times since, many have gotten lost. I had to use a camera, yes a camera that used a roll of film.
Kind of a low key evening, since the following day we were taking off to Amsterdam, Holland, The Netherlands!!!
To be continued…….European vacation, Part II- Amsterdamage!!!