The Flight is Booked

When I was in my early twenties, fresh out of college, my company (Varian Data Machines) transferred me to Zurich for a few years where I worked as a computer analyst, installing a home banking system for Swiss Credit Bank. The years were 1976, 1977, and 1978. During those years I traveled (and worked) on both continents, traveling back and forth eight times. The more you travel, the smaller the world becomes. And after returning home permanently, I still traveled to Europe to vacation and ski. At that time I had every right to imagine that my life would always be like that — traveling wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

When Howard and I married, I even dragged him on one of those whirlwind “if it’s Tuesday it must be Belgium” tours of western Europe. Two years later Matthew was born, and then four years later came Erica. And my world become smaller. Much smaller. And even the thought of European travel got harder and harder.

Now Matthew is sixteen and Erica twelve. If I want to take my kids to Europe, I had better do it soon.

One day, while cruising the travel site I saw a great fare. I hemmed, I hawed. I waited three days … until my sister-in-law said “JUST DO IT!” But then the fare was gone. Erica (who inherited a huge dose of wanderlust) took it upon herself to check the fares everyday… until one day last weekend, the fare returned! And I booked the four of us to London for two weeks in August.

I’ll keep you posted as my plans progress.


  1. Chantal Horchler says

    I will be thinking of you tomorrow. You do get nervous the day before. Waiting is the worst part. I went through it and once it’s done, it’s great.
    Have a good trip too.

  2. Heidi says

    Hi, I regularly take students to London from Germany and -man, it costs a fortune. But here are some tricks to keep costs low: If you want to see Mme Tussaud’s, try to book in after 5pm. It’s a lot cheaper. Tel: +448704003000. Be aware that they deduct the costs from your credit card right away. The planetarium is not worth the money.
    Buy a one day travel card for rides on all subways and buses. Zone 1+2 will cover nearly all of the major sights. Better stil, a travel card for 3 or mor days (with photo attached to it). If you are not fuzzy about food and like Chnese: Mr Wu near Leicester Square gives you as much as you can eat for under 5 Pounds p.p.
    Questions?Feel free to ask.

  3. says

    I am so sorry about the above misspelling of “too”, I meant to write “to” and now don’t know how to change it…

  4. says

    Hi Barbara-
    London is nice but there are so many other places here to take your family to!!! They could be exposed to so many different languages and cultures if you started your trip here in Zurich your old “stomping grounds” and trained around into France, Germany, Italy… Or even just the French,German and Italian parts of CH:-)

  5. Joan says

    Dear Barbara,
    Re: your trip — I am another who loves to travel and am glad you have decided to introduce your children to Europe. There is a treasure trove of information online that I’m sure you are utilizing. I definitely recommmend limiting the number of countries when travelling with a family. London and a few side trips to other English cities and the countryside — by coach or train or car — would be a wonderful start.
    I just want to prepare you for the high cost of London — especially food and transportation (much more expensive than NYC where I live). Though it’s still a good idea to have Traveler’s Checks as a reserve, the fees for exchanging into pounds can be high. I recommend using ATM’S — but you should check on your bank’s policy for fees. (My savings bank was less than others.) In addition, as in all cities, please be ‘aware’ — I recommend photocopying your passport info, carrying that with you at all times, and leaving the real passport in the hotel safe. Each adult should have a credit card and some of the money. Also, make a copy of all credit card info (your # plus customer service telephone #s). All this can be stored on your computer (with the #s for the T.C.’s)!
    The English theater is still excellent and there are 1/2 price tickets available. However, if you don’t need to sit in the orchestra, there are often much cheaper seats at the box office and, sometimes, special prices for students. Also, if you are a coffee drinker, you will find a great many coffee shops (Starbucks and others) that have mushroomed all over London.
    Have a wonderful trip!

  6. says

    I couldn’t have said it better myself. The use of ‘drug’ as a past tense of drag is one of my pet peeves. I think it must be somewhat of a colloiquialism ( did I spell that right?) because many people seem to say it without thinking. Anyway, thanks for being open to criticism. Have a great trip this summer.

  7. says

    Hi Barbara,
    I hate typos and grammatical errors too. Even more so when there are my own! I knew “drug” wasn’t correct as I was writing it, but in my rush I simply failed to correct it afterwards. But the wonderful thing about the Web is that it is “erasable.” Unfortunately the email newsletter that was sent this morning is not.
    Thanks for reading so carefully,

  8. Barbara says

    I enjoyed your May 12 letter; however, “drug” is not the past tense of drag. It is “dragged.” And, “I better do it soon” should be “I had better do it soon” or “I’d better do it soon.” I don’t mean to be picky, but if we expect students to know and be tested on English grammar, the least we can do is set the example. One of the most frequent misuses from other sites (not yours) is “it’s” which means “it is.” The possessive of it is “its.”