Subject: Re: First travel
Hi Ziners:

Interesting thread and it starting me thinking as to our first travels. The U.S. Navy sent me to the Gulf of Tonkin, but I do not consider that travel (although I got to explore some of the wonders of Guam and the Philippines on the way) and I really do not consider a few nights in Tijuana travel. Travel for us started with a daughter at the University of Madrid. I went to visit her after a business trip to London and was enthralled with Madrid. Jan went to visit her to inform her that she was going to spend her senior year in the U.S., not in Madrid. (She returned after graduation for a year anyway).

Our first trip with our now traveling companions was to Madrid via London. We flew directly to Madrid, stayed for a week and then spent another week in London before going home. In Madrid we stayed at the Reina Victoria, the hotel where the bullfighters stay. It is a small hotel on a back street, but it was wonderful. We dined at the Casa Paco and the Casa Botin (Europe's oldest restaurant). We visited the Prado. We walked the streets of Madrid. We enjoyed tapas for the first time. In restaurants we had to point to food that we wanted to order, but we did not starve. We immediately went on Spanish time and it was great. When friends passing through Madrid called to invite us to dinner we regaled when they suggested dinner at 6. We told them that we would be fast asleep at 6. We settled on 9 PM, but the restaurant did not open until 10 PM. At 2 AM we had to put them in a taxi to take them back to their hotel; we were still going strong. Viva Madrid was across the square from our hotel. That place does not seem to close. I have fond memories of Madrid and that first travel experience there.

In the second week it was London. We learned that "Sorry!" is a balm to cure all transgressions. Run someone over in the street? Just pop out of the car, say "Sorry" and all is forgiven. We saw the changing of the guards for the first time as companions. If you love pomp, you have to love the British. We learned to drive on the wrong side of the road (my British friends may dispute that) and probably scared them as much as it did us for the first time. We found out that the Pound is the heaviest pocket change you might ever carry.

That trip we consider our real first trip. It was infectious. It was exhilarating. For us there is no cure (well lack of money and old age may have something to say about that) and as long as we can, we will travel.

Tom packing in Carlisle