Europe, finally (and Iceland specifically!)

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, November 22, 2022, 10:33 PM | comments: 0

We finally booked a trip to Norther Europe, which we originally expected to do in the summer of 2021. We'll start in England, then France, then three days in Iceland, then Norway and ending in Denmark, specifically the very sunny, very beautiful, Copenhagen! (#pitchperfect) We're doing it by way of cruise, partly because I feel like I need to make up for lost time and see as many countries as possible on a single trip, but also because I know that Simon will eat something every night on the ship. I'm picky, but he's picky like I was as a kid.

This is a long time coming. I had not crossed the Mississippi until I was 24, visiting Portland, then I think Las Vegas when I was 26-ish. Hawaii came when I was 27. I didn't set foot in a new place out west until I was 34, which was Seattle, which I unknowingly would move to when I was 36. By this time, I was thinking, shit, I haven't seen much of the world at all, but then in the recession that was happening, I had a child right after that. I've felt "stuck" ever since because it's hard to unload a kid on someone for more than a week, especially one that is challenging. I finally visited a non-Canada country on our first cruise when I was 39. Meanwhile I see friends going to all of the places and I'm jealous. We at least expected a half-victory in 2020 to go to Alaska without Simon, because we could leave him with my brother-in-law on the way, in Seattle, but you know how 2020 went down. But cruising, especially with Disney, offered an out. We know from experience that he can roll because even in various ports the late afternoon and evening are predictable and there's food he'll eat. It's funny how your whole world revolves around your child eating.

But if I'm going to dump it on autism, I have to include myself. As I've acknowledged since my own diagnosis and therapy, travel anxiety is very real for me. It's not that I don't want to see all the things, it's that I'm constantly consumed with being late or not being able to eat what I like or relax. That's one of the reasons I've loved doing weekend cruises out of Port Canaveral, because for a few nights I just drive to Canaveral and turn off my brain. So I relate to what Simon goes through when we travel. I would actually like to spend some extended time in England and Norway, but I think we need to see how this goes. He's old enough too that I don't want to leave him at home anymore, I want him to make memories with us.

The original itinerary for this cruise had two nights in Reykjavik and an additional day at sea, but now it includes three nights in Icelandic ports, all different. That's amazing because no fewer than four different people that I know have been to Iceland in the last year or so and described it as life changing. That resonates with me. I guess it's my closet rock star and non-conformist, but everyone goes to the Mediterranean and Italy and whatever. Who goes to Iceland? The cool kids do. Already I'm looking at shore excursions for this trip and wondering how we'll choose.

We are planning to shoulder it with a day in London to be total American tourists... Big Ben, Tower Bridge, London Eye and whatever, while we're up until 4 a.m. because of the time change. Then at the end, since we disembark early in Copenhagen, drop our bags in a hotel, and maybe enjoy Tivoli Gardens or something and ride that 1914 coaster with the dude pulling the handbrake the whole time to avoid flying off the tracks. And they have a B&M too, small and compact. This is all unless I find something else more compelling to do in town, which is certainly possible. I don't think Tivoli will take much time anyway. Also, I was relieved to see there's a McDonald's next to it, and I know Simon will eat that.

There are also days at sea, which means the usual things like mixology classes and pedicures. And probably the strangest thing about it will be that the ship is the Disney Dream, the primary ship we've been on more than any other, as the Wish has replaced it for the 3, 4 and 5-night Bahamian cruises out of Canaveral. I can't imagine anything more strange than seeing the ship we've boarded countless times at Castaway Cay in European ports. So weird that things that big can move around the world.


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