Friday, June 12, 2009

Mixed Emotions

Well, it’s over…almost. Today is day 34 and tomorrow is our final day, day 35. We woke up early enough this morning to go to the beach one last time before having to hit the road. I had my last apple croissant and Erica her last chocolate for breakfast. After the beach we got take-away gyros one last time…yes, from Pepitos. I am now sitting on the ferry from Santorini to Athens and I’m just not quite sure how I feel about it. I suppose I have plenty of time to reflect as we have over 37 hours of travel between our shuttle departure from the hostel at 2 pm until we arrive in Omaha at 7:30 pm tomorrow. This entire trip has flown by; Killarney National Park seems like ages ago, Paris even seems so distant. When describing our time in Europe I use the word trip a lot, I’ll explain…

There are “trips” and there are “vacations,” we definitely went on a trip across Europe not a vacation. Don’t take this as being ungrateful; I don’t say this in an unhappy way…we knew what we were getting ourselves into when we planned this whole thing. What I mean to say is this…a vacation is intended to be relaxing where things are easier to come by and are more accessible, e.g. an amusement park or a resort. Our journey (perhaps journey is an even better word) across Europe has been work and at many times not glamorous at all; it’s placed us in a dead sprint situation trying to catch a train located at a different station, on a crowded ferry deck with no blankets, on hostel floors with a paper thin mattress, on dark streets with maps in different languages, and in unfamiliar places with little or no connection to the rest of the world….but the end result that occurred from traveling to each place has definitely been worth the work. We’ve seen things I never thought I’d see and done things I thought I would only dream of doing. Perhaps the best times have been the unexpected ones, yes the major sites and attractions have been great too, but the unpredictable experiences might be what I remember most…biking through Ireland’s historic countryside, spending an evening with an Irishman who participated in “Hitler’s War” (as he liked to put it), walking along a beach on the coast of France, cramming into a gigantic, full capacity German beer-hall and restaurant, being right in the middle of a truly European championship sporting event, and arriving on an island that I knew nothing about…it’s these experiences that will stick with me the most. I don’t know if this entire trip has completely sunk in yet or not…all I know is that it was 5 great weeks that Erica and I will never forget.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful! I don't believe I read this post 7 years ago...maybe just eager for your return that weekend. A good review of a great journey, and now you've been on an even more amazing journey: family life! The Europe Trip certainly taught you perseverance and how to handle the unexpected with Grace. Family life will continue those lessons. May God bless your journey and your lives. Trust Him for the outcomes. Love always, ~m