Monday, April 02, 2007

Where Can I Get a TARDIS? - Part 3

In hockey, it's called telegraphing your shot. In writing stuff down, it's called... errr....(KD, help me out here!).... lack of real suspense?. So I might as well confess; Part 1 and Part 2 of this silly tale were just preambles to the real story, and that is that we're biting the bullet and heading for Europe in July.

I'm excited for sure; largely because it's been Dee's Northern Girl Dream for as long as I've known her. Pre-Crazylegs, she had never traveled - and we've made a point of making up for lost time. Where other folks might save money for a rainy day, buy a new car, or put rainforest hardwood into the sunroom - we put our pennies into the travel account.

We've had this agreement of sorts that Europe would wait until (a) we'd saved enough pennies and (b) our youngest kid was at least 10 years old. As I've pointed out before, the agreement seemed easy at the time. There were lots of years and lots of pennies between Me and Driving In Europe.

Now it's time. And I'm anxious about it.

Guided tours aren't really my cuppa tea, but we've agreed that having something reasonably structured and worry free would be the way to go for the sake of both parents and kids. After leafing and clicking through countless brochures and websites, we were certain that there was no such thing as a 'family friendly' tour Over There - only the loathsome If It's Tuesday It Must Be Belgium kind of tours. Ugh!

We did find something, eventually, from a tour company called Adventures by Disney. Laugh if you must, but it looks like a winner. Family oriented (natch), first-class all the way, striving for a unique experience; we're excited. It'll be 4 days in London and 4 days in Paris with highlights such as backstage passes to a West End theater production, first-class seats on the (chunnel) Eurostar, a bicycle tour of Versailles, and a DaVinci Code-inspired scavenger hunt in the Louvre (for the kids). Here and there - a free afternoon and/or evening to do your own thing.

I thought this was going to be perfect. Disney picks us up at the airport in the England, they show us a great time, and they deposit us back on a plane when it's all over. Reasonably structured. Worry free. I'm so wrong.

Dee started like this, "You know - while we're there...".

I knew where this was going. "Yes?", I countered, using my patented ruse where I inspect a wall, magazine, birdfeeder, etc. with laser insensity, all the while avoiding direct eye contact with Dee.

She started her attack using the direct approach. "We could go to Europe a few days early, or maybe stay a few more days after the tour. You know, I've always wanted to go to Switzerland. And everyone says the train system over there is fantastic!".

"Ummmm", was all I could muster. I wasn't against this in principle, but I knew logisitics would end up killing us in a dozen different ways. My only defense in keeping the vacation scope in check was The Kids - the A-Bomb in our household. "Sure, we should think about that. But the kids... I don't think the kids are ready for the, umm, backpack experience. You know you have to travel pretty light on the trains."

I got bolder. "And what about hotels? I mean, if it was just you and me, that'd be different. Just kinda go somewhere with no the kids. You have to think of the kids. You don't want them wandering around some little foreign village after dark looking for a hostel, do you?".

It was unfair, and I knew I was going to win. But winning is subjective at our house. It's all about tactics - lose a battle, negotiate terms of surrender, end up winning the war. And win she did.

First off, we're staying in France one extra day to spend at EuroDisney. That was an easy one. We're in Paris anyways, so it makes sense to travel the 30 miles for a visit to The Mouse.

Also, we're arriving in England 5 days early. We'll land at Heathrow, pick up a car, and roam around Southern England for a few days before joining the tour in London. This is where I'm getting my angst. This is where I become Chevy Chase.

I'm sure this driving part will be okay. 20-odd years ago, I never worried about this stuff. Today, I'm older and more neurotic - so I worry about it all. While we'll have to drive in and out of Heathrow (and various places in the countryside we hope to visit), I laid down the law that we would not set foot in London with Crazylegs behind the wheel of any vehicle.

It's not a bad compromise. I don't think we're biting off more than we can chew travel-wise, and we'll get 2 full weeks of family fun. We're thinking we'll visit Stonehenge, Bath, Windsor Castle, maybe Portsmouth, etc. We'd love to head west out to Land's End, but that looks too ambitious for us. (Question - anyone have any advice on not-to-be-missed places in Southern England?)

But I am worrying, and probably will - until it's over.

So why the TARDIS? Simple; it would alleviate all of these travel logistics and angst. Of course, I'd probably end up driving the thing into a binary star. Or worse.


David said...

Holy crap, I got a stress-induced neck spasm just reading that post. I would say more, but I have to go and retrieve my balls from wherever I left them 10 years ago.

Sonny Drysdale said...

Crazy - sounds like you've got everything covered.

Except for one thing.

Why not tack on a couple more days and go check out that new Disney park in Hong Kong? You're going to be on that side of the world anyway. You'll only end up kicking yourself later on if you don't.

I think the Orient Express still runs. If not, you could probably rent a jeep or something. Maybe leave a day early and go check out that Great Wall of China. Or Anwar Wat. Anyway have fun - and don't forget to send postcards.

Judith said...

yknow take it from me driving around london is going to be a NIGHTMARE, trust me, it will be less stresshoofing it and doing the underground. If you look up the national trust uk theres a hefty clutch of places nay a veritable wealth of places to visit'down south', its only then Id recommend you get a car to explore. Good luck with your trip! (BTW france & Paris especially is extortionate !) sorry to be the chicken of depression and not the bluebird of happiness on some of the points if not all I have made..

Kid Dork said...

A TARDIS probably wouldn't solve your problems--it tends not to ever arrive where it should. You'd probably end up at Event One or something (birth of universe for non-Whovians who spent their teen years having relations with women instead of watching TVO religiously).

One note: between you and David, what is with you guys and Disney? I thought the fascination with Kingdom Hearts was just a fluke. But you guys are devout, hardcore WaltBoys. I'm impressed.

4 days in London--I've only been in London on my own or with friends, and I've always hated it. The farther north you get in England, the nicer the land and the country gets. York is the ultimate perfect place on Earth--you'd love it there. Walking the old walls, taking ghost walks through the Shambles, getting hammered at the Evil Eye...good times. Oh, right, you'll have kids. Sorry. Move along.

After you hit Hong Kong, as per Sonny's well reasoned advice, you may as well stop at the Kremlin and see if ole Vladimir Lenin is being used a doorstop or something.

And yes, send postcards! Or blog! Or send ICBMs! Whatever, we're good.

David said...

Mighty Mighty KD wrote:

"One note: between you and David, what is with you guys and Disney?"

A fair question, and one that in recent weeks has been much on my mind. CL can go first, as this is his blog. I am going to ruminate for a bit, and then post an earth-shaking, self-revelatory opus over at my squat. Or I'll get really drunk and cry about daddy. Hard to say really.

Crazylegs said...

Okay. Here goes...

Sonny - While I'd love to checkout the new Hong Kong park, I'm afraid it isn't in the cards. Hong Kong is still mad at me; really and truly. Okay - maybe not all of Hong Kong, but I did piss off a half-dozen of them several years ago (hint: it involved the impending Chinese takeover of the island). It was quite innocent on my part, quite embarrassing, and perhaps I'll blog about it sometime.

Judith - Welcome and thanks! There's no way I'll be driving around London. And thanks for the tip regarding The National Trust!

David - We are kindred spirits after all! I'll be sure to dish on our EuroDisney - errr, Disneyland Paris - experience. Oh, and as for 'balls', mine have completely disappeared as of late. Must be the frosty weather.

KD - Your wordsmithy awesomeness continues to amaze and impress! I mean - WaltBoy? Fuck yeah! WaltBoy it is! Like David, I'll ruminate on this a bit - but I'm guessing that any explanation of WaltBoy Syndrome will be akin to describing why sugar tastes different than lemons. Or why Star Wars is cult-popular. Or why Deus Ex was far superior to Deus Ex 2. We're just wired that way, man.

Anonymous said...