Herald and Journal, April 5, 1999

Three chicks and a hen take to the air


I did something recently that I thought I would never have the courage to do.

I took an eight-hour plane trip to England. I have commented in this column before that I find air travel to be less than appealing. I still don't like to fly, but I did enjoy my vacation in Bath and London.

My daughter, Gina, was the instigator for the trip. She had studied art history in Leeds, England. She goes back to travel in England every few years. Gina mentioned that she was planning a trip in March. My husband suggested that I should go with her.

I know we sometimes disagree when we work together in the barn, but I didn't know what lengths he would go to get rid of me for a week. After I casually mentioned to Gina that her Dad suggested that I go along, she was determined to talk me into it. I'm glad she did.

Of course, my youngest daughter, Jessica, needed no convincing that she should fly to England. She was ready to go the minute we mentioned it. She loved flying, by the way. She must get that from her father.

Gina rounded out the group by convincing another daughter, Sara, that she should go, too. Gina served as our travel agent. She spent a lot of time checking out hotels and travel information on the Internet. She made all the arrangements.

The plan was to spend the first four days in Bath, England. We would sight-see around that area, and then travel on to London.

I prepared for the flight out of Minneapolis by taking Dramamine topped off with a tranquilizer. Flight time from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Gatwick Airport in London is eight hours. I had magazines and my electronic Trivial Pursuit game with me to pass the time.

It was eight hours of misery. I just could not get comfortable in the seat. I decided it was a good thing I have short legs. I can't imagine what a really tall person would do. They did have an in-flight movie. It was a Meryl Streep movie, "One True Thing."

Normally, that is just my kind of movie. I was reading when the movie started though, and I just never got interested in it.

I really thought I would be able to sleep, because I had gotten up at 5 a.m. that morning to do chores, and the plane took off at 6 p.m. Instead, I got a serious case of cabin fever right there in the plane. I was more relaxed than usual, though. I even managed to look out the window a few times.

Thankfully, we had an uneventful flight to London, not too much turbulence, and a smooth landing. Then we caught a train to Bath.

The train ride was much more enjoyable. There was more room to move around, and so much more to see. We enjoyed looking out the window at the countryside. The train made several stops along the way.

People came and went. We heard English accents mixed with French, and Japanese. Wherever we went, there were always other tourists.

When we arrived in Bath we grabbed our luggage and headed off to find our hotel. Gina had gotten the directions. We didn't need a cab, because "it's not far." Not far turned out to be a real challenge. I suggested that one would have to be part mountain goat to live on such a steep hill.

As we trudged upwards, Sara took pity on me and traded her suitcase with wheels for the one I had slung over my shoulder with the carrying strap. As usual, I had over-packed. She enjoyed pointing that out to me.

Though I predicted I would die of a coronary before my vacation really began, I made it to the hotel. Too bad I didn't have enough sense to stay there and rest instead of going out to see the sights. More about that, and our tour guide, John, next time.

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