Planes, Ships and Automobiles – Changes in Latitude

My family has taken many vacations over the years, most of which involved long car rides to our destination.  Most of our time was spent reading road maps, sitting in traffic, searching for parking and waiting in rental car lines.  However, one year we decided to try something new.  We sailed on a Disney Cruise and left the ship responsible to take us to our destinations.  We would relax aboard the great big ship and be pedestrians for the week (and shed the pounds we would gain from having access to food 24 hours a day).  We were ready for our relaxing non-transportation vacation, or so I thought.

Photo Credit: disneyparks.disney.go.com

Photo Credit: disneyparks.disney.go.com

On the day of the departure, we loaded into our mini van and drove 90 minutes to the airport in Allentown, Pa.  Soon we were airborne as our plane took off for Orlando, Florida.  And no sooner than when we landed, we were driving along in our rented car to Cape Canaveral to board the ship.

For those keeping track – car, plane, car and ship.

Our first stop on our cruise docked us at Key West,  where we walked, walked and walked.  Day two was spent at sea, so our mode of transportation was a comfortable lounge chair aboard the outdoor deck.  On Day three, we arrived at Grand Cayman where we boarded a smaller boat which delivered us to the pier and waiting taxi that was beach bound.

Who is checking?  Car, plane, car, ship, walk, smaller boat, and taxi.

Our next stop in Cozumel involved taking a shuttle bus to a location where we would swim with dolphins.  What a memory!  As our cruise neared its end, we played on the beaches of Castaway Cay and we kayaked.

In one week we – Car, plane, car, ship, walk, smaller boat,  taxi, shuttle bus, swam and kayaked.

Who ever said cruising was relaxing?

But rest assured, we are planning our next transportation mode rich cruise.

Bon Voyage!

 

The Emerald Isle – Changes In Latitude

Polite and friendly people. Warm and delicious brown bread.  Green for more than the eye can see.  Guinness on tap everywhere and anywhere you go.

Where are we?

Ireland, of course – the Emerald Isle.

As the plane descended from the clouds, the morning was bright and beautiful.  And at the expense of sounding cliché, outside our window the greenest fields and lush rolling hills greeted us.

ireland2This was my first trip oversees in many years and the first in which I was leaving my children behind in the care of my parents.  Trying to suppress my anxiety of leaving them, I vowed to make the most of my time in the beautiful city of Dublin.

And what a city it is!

During our week stay, we visited the “must see” sites Dublin primarily by foot and bus……

…St. Patrick’s Cathedral (which unlike the cathedral in New York City is Anglican).

ireland…Trinity College and the splendor of its breath-taking library.

..the Guinness Factory and the tour up to the Sky Bar for a free pint of Guinness – there is a full meal in every pour!ireland3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But of all the tourist sites we visited, by far my favorite was taking the Literary Pub Crawl.  What is better than being immersed in Irish literary history while enjoying a pint at each stop along the tour.  On the night of our walking tour, a light rain fell and we met Yeats, O’Casey, Joyce and Swift along the way on this tour.

And like all good trips, the night before we left, our tour bus made its way up the winding hills and delivered us at the door step of The Merry Ploughboys Pub where we dined, danced and sang as if we were just another fellow family member.

 

 

Mind the Gap – Changes in Latitude

As a mother of two active school-age children living in the New Jersey suburbs, our family vehicle is very much a part of our family.  We drive almost everywhere with children and gear and friends in tow.  Add office life and social commitments – it’s safe to say our lives as professionals and parents and chauffeurs are full.  So you can imagine my absolute delight and glee when my husband and I left the car and our children in the hands of their loving grandparents and flew off to England for a “holiday”/ work combo trip!

Cheers from London!

Cheers from London!

For 10 ten days we navigated the city of London by foot, train, Underground and river boat and were able to capture the true essence of London.  Staying 25-minutes outside of the city for the beginning portion of our trip, each morning with our Oyster Card in hand, we boarded the train and headed into London.  With a quick exchange in the Underground, we made our way to my husband’s office.  Work first and recreation in the afternoon was our motto and it served us well.

The sun shining and the temperatures in the 70’s was quite unusual for London, but we took advantage of all the city had to offer.  A river boat trip down the Thames gave us a glimpse of the hustle and bustle from both sides of the river.  A walk past Parliament, Westminster Abbey and to Buckingham Palace allowed us to take in the sights by foot.  A stop at the local pub allowed us to converse with the locals and rest my poor feet, who had become slaves to my poor shoe choice.

Each day brought us new discoveries – a ripe enormous fig tree nestled in the middle of St. James Park – and visits to sites we enjoyed on our last trip together to London – a walk across Tower Bridge.   By the end of our first week, we had traversed most of London and I didn’t need to think twice about minding the gap and found myself looking left at each corner!

The weekend brought us to England’s countryside as we carpooled with our local friends to the cities of Ilminster, Glastonbury, Wells and quick stop at Stonehenge.  Thatch roofs cottages lined the country roads and just the most quaint villages welcomed us with endearing conversations and delicious foods.  But like all good things, our weekend came to a close and we returned to the city of London.

With my stint of the trip coming to an end, I did my best to consume every last pound on my Oyster Card.  A trip to Kensington and some last-minute gift shopping in Harrods brought my card to just enough to get me to Heathrow Airport.

The morning of my departure was most fitting.  The rain that is very much England-norm fell lightly as I made my way to the Underground to the Station to the Airport.  This leg of the trip was mine to take alone, since my husband still had work to finish and reality was waiting for me on the other side of the pond.

As my flight took off and we reached higher and higher altitudes, I was thankful for this opportunity for a Change in Latitude.