Today is warmer than the last few days. The air smells of spring. The breeze is so slight it barely moves the end branches of trees. When Henry is out, I stand on the deck in the sun and watch him. He runs all over the back of the yard with wild puppy abandonment. He frolics.
One of my last trips to Europe was to Iceland with my Mother and sister. We arrived in the darkness of an Icelandic winter morning. While we waited for our rooms to be ready, we sat in the lobby. My mother kept looking out the windows. At around nine she turned and asked me if it ever gets light. She also watched the bus stop across the street. There was a small glass enclosure around three sides. The people waiting for the bus were huddled. They looked frozen. Later we decided to go to town. I told my mother we’d take the bus. She looked horrified and asked if we had to go across the street. We did. My mother froze. We walked all around Reykjavik and did a bit of shopping. My mother despite her frozen state actually found an Irish pub. She was delighted to warm up with an Irish coffee, a couple of Irish coffees.
My mother and I went to Italy together. We stayed in a small hotel in Rome. During the day we wandered the city. My mother was a great traveling companion. At Dinner one night I ordered bruschetta. She had never heard of it. She loved it and ordered it just about every night after that. We’d get back to the hotel and sit and have a drink before going to our room. Each night my mother ordered cognac. I had never seen her drink anything but whiskey and coke, a sort of weird cousin to a Cuba libre. When I mentioned that, she said this is a vacation. Anything goes.
When my mother visited me, I’d give her a cup of coffee and a biscotti at breakfast. She never drank coffee or tea. The coffee was for dunking purposes only. She did love biscotti.
My parents and I traveled together many times. I’d plan where we were going. I think my favorite trip with them was to Vienna and Budapest. My favorite day of that trip was Easter Sunday. We heard the Vienna Boys Choir at mass and saw the Lipizzans in the early afternoon. We stopped for a Sacher torte. Later we sat in a park, drank wonderful iced coffee and listened to Mozart, Schubert and Strauss being played by a small orchestra. My father loved the whipped cream on the coffee and smacked his lips every time he tasted it. That night we ate dinner in our hotel, the Palais Schwarzenberg, the most expensive hotel I’ve ever stayed in. The dinner menu had no prices. A man in a weskit worked the elevator, an old fashion one with a gate. The dinner started with a gift from the chef, quail eggs. The meal was sumptuous. My dad paid. I said let’s got to the lounge by the bar, and I’ll treat for after dinner drinks. We ordered Irish coffees. The bill was close to 60.00 for the three drinks. My dad thought that was funny. I wondered about the cost of dinner. He wouldn’t tell me.
I am blessed to have these wonderful memories of me and my parents traveling together. It was always fun.