My husband (Gene, in case you didn’t know his name yet) and I recently embarked on a 26 day European (Ireland and Germany) adventure… … … with my father.
Duuuuuuuuuude. I know what you’re thinking. Everyone has the same reaction. It goes from “Ooooh exciting” and “what a nice long vacation” to “oh. how did that go?” in two seconds flat. It seemed like such a great idea when I thought of it, I swear! Lemme ‘splain. I want to see all the things (figuratively/literally). My dad (Padre) has always said he wanted to take me to Oktoberfest (he loved it when he went forty years ago – he was stationed in Bitburg in the Air Force). Padre also really wanted to go to Ireland – and so did I! I thought to myself – what a great bonding trip. Now that I’m an adult, we can enjoy the beverages, see all the things, have a great time and make wonderful, sparkly, rainbow memories! And I’m sure they will look like that in my mind’s eye… eventually…
So, back to the question: “Oh. How did that go?”
My answer has been: “It was a really great trip. We learned A LOT.” And I mean it! It was wonderful. For Gene and I, it was our first trip out of the country. I have never seen buildings this old. I’ve never been anywhere that had so much history! And almost everything was beautiful – even post offices had carved stone archways and cathedral-esque details (ok, not alllll of them, but I swear to you, one on the Rhine DID). And neither of us has been anywhere that speaks a different primary language – so exciting!
While this trip was amazing – maybe even a once in a lifetime trip – it was also the most non-stop time I’ve spent with anyone (EVEN GENE), since I lived with my Roomie in our college dorm. And even then, we went to separate classes and such so it was never really 24/7 time. I’m not sure Roomie could have tolerated me all four years if that had been the case!
So, the first thing I learned: you/I CANNOT live (and by extension, travel like this) with (let’s be honest) most people. 24/7 is too much time to share with pretty much anybody. Maybe even your spouse. Maybe that’s just me… Awkward… Anyway, it’s especially difficult when the three of you share a bathroom. And drink too much. Let’s not revisit that particular memory…
Another thing I learned is that I’m actually more introverted than I originally suspected. You might be wondering how did you figure that out? It came to me in a moment of grandeur, I assure you…. I found myself hiding in a German hotel bathroom, sitting on a cold tile floor, feigning GI distress, just so I could have some time to myself to read my book in (relative) peace and quiet. And I’m not even ashamed! It was a good book!!
Furthermore, I discovered that my zest for traveling (at least with my father) wanes somewhere around day 12-14. Granted, there were some factors of this trip that will NEVER be repeated, and that might help the zest thrive for longer in the future. Anyway, I found myself dreaming of our QUIET house (we have five pets, so quiet here is a relative term), our bed, the aforementioned five pets, and missing my amazing coworkers! It was so (unexpectedly) nice to want to go back to work!!
Lastly, I’m one of those people who NEEDS sleep. As in, if I could get 10hrs/day, I’d be so freakin’ happy! Sharing a room with someone who HAS to have the TV on (even when he can’t understand it), snores, makes other bodily noises, and wakes up at the ass-crack of dawn, blundering around trying to make some instant coffee – with appliances he cannot conquer – was NOT helpful! When we got up at 3am to fly from Dublin to Frankfurt, and subsequently spent our first 5(ish) hours in Germany napping, I realized I had made some mistakes in the planning stages.
As you can imagine, 26 days of traveling (with your husband and your father) creates A LOT of raw information for sharing, so I’ll be splitting the trip into a few parts for ease of access! I think I’ll do a few “things we learned” posts, and then a couple breakdowns of the things we did, the food we ate, and recommendations.
As always, let me know if you have any questions or comments!