Friday, May 21, 2010

Time Between The Brackets

Jim and Sally's Trip to Europe
Part I

Closely bracketed by days when travel to Europe was either interrupted or not allowed, our departure and arrival flying dates gave us perfect flying weather. It was almost as if the dark cloud that had covered much of Northern Europe lifted at just the right time; thus, we were able to fly from Denver to Frankfurt, and then on to Vienna, on Wednesday, April 21, 2010, with absolutely no problems or interruptions. For nearly three weeks, we did not even think about Eyjafjallajokull. Why should we? Instead, we focused on enjoying our long dreamed of and planned for adventure in Europe. Around May 9th, just as many from our traveling group were planning on returning to the US, we again began to turn our thoughts the skies. Would they be friendly? Would we find a clear path home?

Through email, we began to hear that our friends who were scheduled to depart from Amsterdam on the 10th of May had not been able to fly out as planned. Some were delayed enough to have missed connecting flights. We were upset for them, but grateful that we still had a few more days of travel ahead of us and were not scheduled to fly home until noon on May 15 from Paris.

Again, on the date of our departure, the skies opened up, consequently, allowing us to fly smoothly, and on time from Paris to Dulles and then on to Denver. In my mind, I see our travel dates as days safely ensconced between two brackets of dates typified by dark clouds of menacing ash. Those brackets were dark days, but just inside of the brackets, those days were clear and safe for travel.

I promise I will not bore you all with long details of our trips that are accompanied by many pictures. I do hope to share some of the insights that we gained and new experiences that we found interesting as we left our comfort zone of living a quiet life of retirement and ventured out to cross the Atlantic Ocean to explore six countries of Europe in a time span of 25 days.

Our trip directors shared a great quote with us: "Life is like a book. If you don't travel, you only read the first page." We certainly found that to be true. While my insights and observations may be different from those experienced by others, I hope to at least capture some of my treasured times by writing about them in this blog.

Helen Hunt Jackson wrote about her adventures in Colorado Springs, Colorado, after she moved there in 1876 from Massachusetts. In one of her essays, A Colorado Week, she recounted the splendor and the awe inspiring journey of making her way with a group of people from Colorado Springs, Colorado to Leadville, Colorado. The first day had been quite scary as the horse drawn wagon scaled its way over steep, rocky mountains long before roads had been created to make the journey less treacherous. The difficulty of the journey did not stop the visitors from noticing and commenting on the trees, the flowers, the grasses and the wonders of the various mountains that surrounding them.

Jack, the touch old driver who had once been a stage driver in Mexico said, " There's great difference in folks noticin' things." When asked to explain, he said, "I was a-thinking of the two people I drove up here day before yesterday. I never heard 'em say one word from first to last about the thin' they see' an they wanted to turn right an' come straight down 's soon 's they got up. I don't know what such folk's them takes the trouble to travel round for. I s'pose it's just for the name on't--to say they've done it."

Hopefully, we never become such travelers. We tried to see and do as much as we could. Stay tuned, I hope to share a few stories in later posts.