I know, I know. It’s a generational thing. This summer, the Colorado kids went on vacation to Costa Rica while the Minnesota kids were Ireland bound.
Actually, it wasn’t that big of a deal, both families had already lived in London and Paris for a couple of weeks back in 2018. To put it in some perspective, Charlotte, our youngest grandchild, was eight when she traveled to London for the first time. Conversely, I was almost twenty-five before I went overseas. But I guess it’s all relative if you look at our stair-stepping generations.
Back in the early nineties, Sharon and I had a preview of later family trips when we took Brian and Melanie to London for the first time. It was part of a group travel package we had put together for friends over the Christmas holidays.
Since then, our two kids, together or separately, have travel throughout Europe, Asia, South and central America and circled the globe. So, I guess the fact that our grandchildren are now globe-trotting too shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. But still.
I’ll try to put it all in perspective from my generation to theirs. I didn’t leave the state of Minnesota until I was twenty-one and drafted into the United States Army. I hadn’t gone airborne until I was twenty-two and flew in a turbo prop airliner from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Sharon’s first jaunt out of Wabasha, Minnesota was to Washington, D.C.
Now two generations later; my how things have changed. I thought about that as I was flipping through a Snapfish book of our family’s London-Paris trip of several years ago. I remember Charlotte, upon entering our townhouse with her brother and cousins, scrambling up and down four flights of stairs in our London VBRO. They were right at home in Paddington.
Living in London for almost two weeks was a wonderful experience for our entire family. We were ensconced in a four-story townhouse in the Paddington neighborhood not very far from the tube. It was particularly interesting to watch the five grandchildren take in their new surroundings with their innocence, curiosity and adventurous attitude in tow.
Surrounding us were row houses, public housing, apartment buildings and the English version of condo complexes. The atmosphere was all very urban, urbane and ripe for big city living. If you’re going to pretend big city living, one can’t do much better than London. And kids always give the trip a whole new dimension. As seasoned world travelers themselves, Brian and Melanie now got to watch their own kids have the same experiences in London for the first time.
There were tours of the National gallery, the British Museum and The Tate. The grandkids soared high over the Thames in the London Eye They discovered Harry Potter hideaways, strolled along the Thames, took in a show in the Theater District and wandered the lush green parks.
Things have changed a lot since our first family trip to London. The adults had their phone apps which told us when the next tube car would arrive, where to find the closest restaurants, shops and entertainment. If we got tired of waiting, we can just dial up an Uber or Lyft. For daily use of the tube, we had our Oster Pass which got us on all buses and the tube throughout the city.
It was a first for all of us, Charlotte included, when we boarded the metro liner for Paris via the Chunnel. It had been a long time since I wandered the streets of London back in the sixties and later on when Melanie led our group around as a thirteen-year-old tour guide and Brian played cool with his trench coat.
My, how things have changed from my generation to theirs. I can’t imagine what their kids (my grandkids) will expect for their ‘family vacation?’