Dreams: Travel

24 August 2010

Have you ever felt homesick for a place you've never been?  That's how I felt when I was a sophomore in high school.  It was vaguely ridiculous.  I had a strong interest in the United Kingdom from my freshman year of high school onward.  For some reason, the history of the UK fascinated me & the country side seemed more beautiful than any I had ever seen.  Then at the end of my freshman year my band director announced a trip for some students (and some adults in the community).  Instead of a normal trip to Williamsburg, or even Orlando or New Orleans, we were going to Europe.  It would be a two and a half week trip to Scotland, England, and France.

Img from here. {London}

I was very excited. The trip would take place at the end of my sophomore year.  I ended up buying books and travel guides and reading them through.  All year long I was prepping myself, ready to see a place that I hadn't thought I would see until I was an adult on my own vacations.

Img from here. {Glasgow}

My year ('07) was the last full year to be invited (maybe half went).  Although I was lucky.  Noah's older brother was on the trip and Noah himself had been taking trombone lessons from our director. He ended up being one of four people going on the trip to play that was in a year behind mine.  Couldn't have worked out better right?

I won't forget our plane descending over Glasgow.  We didn't stay in the city for much time at all but it was the first place I set eyes on in Britain. I don't think I can put into words the way I felt at that moment.

Img from here. {Edinburgh Castle}

We stayed in Edinburgh (pronounced Ed-in-bur-uh ; I felt like an ignorant American when I found that out) for the first three days of our trip.  My biggest regret is that we didn't get to spend more time there.  Edinburgh was the place that I really want to visit on my trip; the photos of the Royal Mile and the Castle were stunning.  In our hotel it would be 10:30pm and we would still have light outside - it was incredible.

Now, much of this trip had tremendous issues that I would never repeat. Of course time assuages these memories and I'm left with mostly happy memories. Still, I'll let you know what I wouldn't do again:

  • Travel with 99 other people.  A group of 100 is hard to get on the Tube in the London Underground. 
  • Fit three different countries into a 2 1/2 week trip. We spent more time on buses than sleeping or touring. 
  • Hire terrible bus drivers. We had three separate buses. I was on the third. The first was fine, the second had no A/C, and the third (mine) had a horrid bus driver. He shattered a window, hit countless curbs, had an accident with another vehicle, got lost - causing over two hours of delay, and wouldn't accept phone calls from the other drivers trying to give directions.
  • Go to bed at 11pm to wake up at 2:30 am to drive to Dover, then take a ferry to France only to drive for another five hours to arrive at Paris. 
Of course, the up side of cramming so many sites into one trip is that you do get to see it all.  Stonehenge, Edinburgh, the Royal Mile, the London Eye, the Tower of London, the Eiffel Tower, Stonehenge, Westminster Abbey, Cambridge, and St. Paul's Cathedral.  We also visited many, many more cathedrals.  All the adults were sick of them (and most of the kids) but Noah and I enjoyed every one of them.  They were stunningly worked, absolutely breathtaking.  I explicitly remember Durham Cathedral.  I don't know, maybe we were crazy, but I couldn't get enough.  

Since we were on a musical trip we were fortunate enough to play in some of these places. Amazing Grace never sounded so pure as it did with that full ensemble in Cambridge Cathedral.  (Harry Potter also had a few scenes filmed there - yes, I did pose in those hallways and pretend I went to Hogwarts). 

I really want to go back.  It's been over five years now and all I want to do is fly back over the ocean and be in Britain.  Sometimes I think I would really like to live there after college. That'd be tremendous though.  Everyone I know is here - I wouldn't know how to go about getting a visa or a job, or establishing a place of residency.... But others have done it before me... It makes for a nice dream. 


Café Chick said...

It sounds like a mammoth trip. I have had the travel bug for years but for various reasons haven't managed to travel in the ways that I dreamed when I was younger. However, I have always been determined to take time to explore a place properly; Contiki tours are just not for me. I love your photos!

Lulu and the Locket said...

Awwh you can do it I know you can. I'm an English girl and went to Uni in St Andrews in Scotland. I made one of my best friends there, a beautiful American girl named Marina (this was back in 1998) - she fell in love with the UK and found it hard to go back to the US after 4 years here studying. However she has since come back, found a job, got a visa, fallen in love and married a fine British fellow and is going on 6 years of marriage! She is my little anglophile! You can do it, and if you need any help and advice let me know. I don't know you but I just stumbled upon your blog and your post really moved me - so hello, I'm Lulu by the way! xx

Miss Michael said...

The places you went on this trip are the three places that are at the absolute top of my places to visit, if choosing for myself. I can certainly understand that a 2-week whirlwind trip wouldn't be enough!

Celeste said...

wow what a trip! i never made it to scotland while i studied in england but i'm hoping to make it back sometime!

Kimbirdy said...

traveling around the u.k. was the only real trip i took outside of the u.s. it was fantastic! i loved edinburgh too and st. andrews was another favorite place... actually, anywhere in whales and scotland i loved {the people were SO much nicer than in england}. but i can't imagine trying to see so much in such a short amount of time with 99 other people! you'll have to go back now just you and your boy and take your time. :)

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