Friday, March 22, marked the beginning of my whirlwind adventure through Europe, but the real whirlwind began less than two weeks earlier when I half-jokingly suggested to my mom over Skype that she come travel with me over spring break.
“Naw, I couldn’t…but it would be fun.”
No hopes were up from that response, but throughout the next day or so I kept receiving emails and Skype messages beginning with, “So IF this were to happen…” Then three days after my jocose invitation I received an email copy of a flight from St. Louis – DC – Amsterdam. My mom? A spontaneous trip to Europe? No Gatsby for a week? Whatttt??
It was going to happen!! We spent the week beforehand planning where we wanted to go, what we wanted to see, and how to do it via choppy Skype connections and a zillion emails. Eventually, without any concrete plans other than exploring, we packed our week with a city-jumping, train-riding, sight-seeing itinerary. Everything else would be up to us and whatever the moment presented.
March 22-24 Amsterdam, March 24 overnight train to Munich
March 25 Arrive Munich, train to Innsbruck, mid-day walk around Innsbruck, train to Venice, arrive Venice
March 26 Venice, overnight train to Salzburg
March 27 Arrive Salzburg at 4am, Salzburg
March 28 Train to Munich, Munich and Dachau
March 29 Munich, Fly to respective homes
It was a continuous adventure and a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience Europe, just my mom and me. I wouldn’t have traded it for anything and I still can’t believe it happened. I learned a lot about foreign cuisines, customs, and some bizarre laws and I became a better navigator and traveler. As the trip went on, I learned that this time in my life signifies a turning point, or more so – an evolution: Growing up and becoming independent from my parents. Gradually I came to realize what this evolution means. It means that I will cook my own meals in Rome but still get scolded for getting us lost on empty stomachs in Venice. It also means that I can accidentally break a beer glass in a restaurant and on the same day my mom can knock over an entire tray of cheese samples at a market. The Harry Wormwood dictum is becoming obsolete. No longer am I small or you big. We’re both smart and dumb sometimes, and although you may be older and wiser (unfortunately that’s not part of the quote), you won’t always be right because nobody is. Still I know that I will always get the same lectures and reprimands from my parents, but in the end, after laughing or arguing or both, I can sit down and have a drink with my mom, toast to a great day, and on a once-in-a-lifetime occasion – watch the same woman who sang me lullabies join in to sing drinking songs from when she was my age. Put that in your Book of Awesome.
So thanks for visiting Mom, and thanks for everything, Mom and Dad. You’re the best.
And don’t worry, Dad. I’ll save a trip and a beer for you 😉