It’s been 12 years since we last visited my relatives in both England and Portugal, and a trip was long overdue. None of my aunts, uncles, and cousins had met my kids, and there were a ton of youngsters that I’d never met. It was a wonderful reunion.
The trip itself left a lot to be desired, what with missed connection flights, delays, overzealous security measures, airport food, long flights, etc. But it was all worth it. And funnily enough, the kids actually loved the traveling. Sure, they didn’t appreciate the waiting or the long lines of “yet another immigration”, but they did like the trains, planes, escalators, their own TV on the long-haul flights. In fact, they had so much fun that Leo has decided he wants to “travel” when he gets older, which sounds familiar!
After the dry heat that we experience at home this time of year, England was amazing. So green and cool, and of course it rained most of our days there. We had to wear sweaters and socks! Abe was enchanted by the quantity and size of all the trees and plants, and we spent a fair amount of time walking through the woods by my grandparents’ beautiful home.
The highlight for the kids was definitely the cousins. They got to spend time with my uncle’s kids, another uncle’s grandkids, my sister’s boys (who all came over from the States). It was a genuine kids’ convention. They actually all got on really, really well. Nicky is still sad at having to leave Daniel, who’s a little older than he is and has three sisters.
We also spent a few days in Portugal, seeing my dad. Although we have seen each other more often (at reunions at my mom’s house), it’s been a long time since I’ve been back to the place where I spent my formative years. His house, which he built himself, is truly amazing. The kids loved the pool and beach most, but for us the highlight was a drive up into the Alentejo (and of course the food). We went and walked around a village and castle that overlooks hundreds of miles of surrounding lakes and hills. It dates back to prehistoric times, with the main castle being built in the 8th century when the Moors invaded.
The main drawback to the trip was definitely the lack of time. We could have happily spent longer in each place, with each set of family, and I would have loved to have caught up with some old friends too. Still, two weeks was better than nothing, and maybe next time we can go for longer.
To see the full flickr set, click here.