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Europe 2003 - learn from my mistakes! Part I

Sometimes, in spite of all your planning and good intentions, things go wrong. Our trip to Europe (Paris, Amsterdam and London) in November 2003 in a good example. A series of (what seem to be now) almost comical errors made this trip one never to forget.

I’ll be writing up this trip over the next few weeks. It was one of the few trips where I didn’t keep a real journal/diary so I’m working from notes and memory (some things you just never forget!).

Our decision to travel to Europe as a family in 2003 was made at the last minute. My hubby had planned to go several months earlier but I was going to stay home with Loll, who had just turned four. But persuaded by cheap airfares and the chance to meet with friends living in Europe we booked our tickets with Qantas/BA for a lightening 10 day mini tour.

The year had been fairly stressful for us and so the chance for some time away from the daily grind was a welcome one. On top of work stresses we were struggling with our third year of secondary infertility and the anniversary of a miscarriage. The trip itself would coincide with the end of our first IVF cycle (having had a failed IUI cycle earlier in the year) - we figured that we would either be celebrating a pregnancy or getting over yet another failed cycle. As it turned out, the cycle did fail and it was a good distraction to have a trip to plan.

It was going to be a short but jam-packed trip. Work commitments only allowed me minimal time off and the whole trip was only 10 days in total - including flights. Our original plan was to fly direct into Paris but our plans were thwarted by airline timetables and so we had to fly via Heathrow, not something I looked forward to given my previous history of delayed flights. We would then spend a few days in central Paris before heading to EuroDisney for 2 days. From there we would drive to Amsterdam with a short detour via the Somme. In Holland we would stay with my old flatmate and her family for 2 more days and then fly to London to stay with my husband’s best friend and his wife who had recently moved there. From London we would fly directly home to Sydney.

I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for the trip as it was a busy time of the year, coming straight after a work trip and coinciding with my cousin’s wedding, daily trips to the IVF clinic, organising the preschool fete and a visit from my parents who live interstate. Being on artificial hormones didn’t help much either. So I was still packing on the morning our our departure. In fact, we had to go on a quick shopping expedition that morning to buy a new suitcase, travel hairdryer and a small booster seat for Loll. I was also tired, stressed and desperately trying to ward off of migraine - so not in the best condition for travelling.

My parents, who had been staying in our house, were going to drive us to the airport. The men busied themselves with packing the car and then we piled in and drove toward the airport, over 50 km away. As we were driving along the freeway the fuel tank light came on causing a moment of panic and stress. The tank was almost empty and there were no service stations in sight. In fact, there are no service stations on that side of the road once you join the freeway until you reach the airport so we had to do a few U-turns (causing my dad to utter many swear words) and fill up the tank. But even with this delay we made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare.

To be continued…

on pnt neuf


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