09 Aug 2005 Leave a comment
I’ve been blessed to have traveled, almost everywhere I’ve ever wanted to. I’ll get to the Orient, one of these days.
I went to Europe when I was 21. It was something I’d always dreamed about. What made it even more special, I flew first class. I’d never been on a flight that long, and had no idea that I was gonna get so sick, and my feet were gonna swell up like balloons! The flight was great, the food even better. I gotta say I was kinda nervous going up into the lounge and seeing the pilot taking a nap. lol We landed at Gatwick, and took a bus to Heathrow. The drive was gorgeous. It was the end of May and everything was lush green. So beautiful and soothing. I was with a group and we had the whole day in London because of a mix up. I took the ‘tube’ and spent most of my day in Harrods, which was like a shoppers Disneyland! I walked my butt off, and saw as much as I possibly could, and still make it back for the night flight they had us on to Lyon, France.
I was really sick the whole flight, spent time in the bathroom… LOTS of time in the bathroom. When it came time to get ready to land. I went and tried to sit down, buckle up etc. but I was gonna be sick again. We weren’t actually landing, so, I got up and ran to the bathroom (again) thing is this one flight attendant who had been a pain most of the flight, not just to me but to our group…. OK, OK, so we were a fun loving bunch. lol Well she blocked the bathroom door. I told her, I’m gonna be sick!! (as I reached for the door handle) She wouldn’t let me open the door. I said again, I’m gonna be sick! I got the handle and started to open it, and she moved in front of me to block my entrance….. and well, I threw up on her. It wasn’t planned, but hell! I apologize to Air France for the mess, but not to her! She moved and let me continue being sick without any more of her ‘lovely’ company. I didn’t see her as we disembarked, nor was I really looking for her.
We took a bus from Lyon to Nice, but it was night and I can’t say I saw much. In Nice we were going aboard a ship, a cruise from Nice to the Algarve and Lisbon in Portugal, then up past the Rock of Gibraltar and into the English Channel. I spent our day in Nice, mostly enjoying the hotel bed! Oh, and the novelty of having a bidet. lol
I found out that I had left my camera back home. I had a suitcase full of film and no camera. Since money was so tight I couldn’t really buy one either. I had come on a two week vacation, knowing that since the majority of it was on board a cruise ship that I would have all my meals taken care of. For the whole two weeks I had 150.00 dollars. So, since I knew I wouldn’t have any pictures to remind me of this trip. I started collecting other momentous, menus, schedules, postcards, business cards of ‘kind’ gentlemen. lol
The ship was huge, from the P&O line. I had a room to myself, and a little balcony. I was on B deck, A, being the top one. The crew, my stewards, and waiters, were so wonderful! The food was great the whole time. Our group had a brunch with the Captain one day, and at that I found a little bit of heaven on earth, in food form… Curry! lol
Our first stop in Portugal was the Algarve region. I took a small boat ride to land, and a bus up to a little village. I can’t even remember the name of the village. It was really small, and I spent the day walking around, buying a few souvenirs. I picked up an admirer along the way. A young man that decided he was in love with me. lol At least that’s what he kept saying, (was probably the only English he knew) so, at least I wasn’t alone for the whole afternoon. lol When it came time to hop a bus to get back down to the docks, I gently scraped him off my leg and told him I’d had a fun afternoon, and for him to go home! I calmly got on the bus, went and sat down, only to look around and notice, that I didn’t see a familiar face and I was on the wrong damn bus! So, I got off (he was still there) and found the right one, and told him good bye again. lol So much for my dignified exit.
Our next stop was Lisbon. Another young lady was interested in an organized tour that morning, so I went with her. We hit all the major spots of interest. The carriage museum, the cathedral where Vasco da Gama is buried, the Port wine institute, a beautiful indoor garden, tons of statues, the tribute to all the explorers that came out of Portugal, etc. We had the rest of the day to ourselves. Let me say, I’m half Portuguese, and it was a fun experience seeing people who reminded me of my Dad’s side of the family. I was wearing a spaghetti strap sun dress, and quickly found that was not considered modest. I crossed the street behind a huge military truck filled with soldiers, and for a second there I thought I was gonna be pulled in! The comments and behavior were unexpected, my Dads family are very reserved, and proper. Now if it had been in Italy, (my Mom’s side) I would have expected it! lol First thing I did was find a nice little shop and buy a sweater to wear. The day went smoothly after that… well kind of. We got lost! I’ve never been lost any place I’ve traveled, but in the maze of winding streets, we got lost! We walked for what seemed hours, I remember hearing an Opera singer practicing, Piano music, sounds of their everyday lives. We finally found a small store that specialized in tiles and some one who spoke a little bit of English. The young lady that was with me had had enough. Her feet were killing her and we split up. She went back to the ship and I decided I must have a masochistic streak, and I continued exploring. As it was I barely made it back on board, but have a few lovely momentous and memories that were worth it.
The Rock of Gibraltar was awesome. I was puking over the rail as we cruised by. Did I mention, I found out I’m not a good sailor? The night we went thru the English Channel it was really rough, I spent the night in the bathroom, and was soooo happy when we docked!
A bunch of us took a taxi to our hotel, we had tickets to see a play that night, but one of the group leaders got us together, if a few of us wanted to fly home that night, we could, and fly first class. The rest were leaving the next day, coach, but the flight had been overbooked. I volunteered, I’m no dummy!
I flew from Heathrow to Seattle. I remember flying over Greenland, but slept most of the way. I made it home with 9.00 dollars and change in my pocket, pretty darn good! The one thing I did lose, my red lace bra. It disappeared my last day on board ship…..i’m hoping that whichever steward took it, that he kept it as a memento and not because he enjoys wearing it! lol
I love spending a weekend in Seattle. Pikes place market, the small restaurants that have wonderful food, the abundance of talented artists, Chinatown, being on the water, the ferry’s, the guy that would be on my way to breakfast every Sunday morning, forgetting that he had told me his Vietnam story a week ago, just the whole atmosphere. I love exploring a city. One weekend I was staying at the Westin, and was in the elevator going up to my room. It stopped to let some one on. The doors opened and about 5 or more huge black men got on. They were big and really tall! I made some stupid chit chat, I was amazed at their size! lol I’m not a huge sports fan, so I had no idea, but they were the basketball team from Houston, the Rockets. My husband about had a fit when he found out I had met them, and not asked for autographs. Oh well, lol