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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

Showing Dad Around London

Dad and me getting pumped for the Vikings game

Dad and me getting pumped for the Vikings game

My father and I are back home in Minnesota and Colorado, respectively, after one of the most fun trips abroad I’ve ever experienced; London was a blast! It certainly helped that the Minnesota Vikings – our football team who we traveled to see play at Wembley Stadium – beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in a very dramatic game. (I can only wonder what the tone of the trip would have been like had our team lost.) It wasn’t only about football, though, as we had a lot of other great times.

At the top of my list is the celebration of two birthdays. As luck would have it, my aunt and uncle were on a cruise sailing out of London to celebrate my uncle’s birthday. I found out about this only a few weeks before dad and I departed, so it truly was a coincidence. And a good one at that. It was great to see Uncle Chuck and Aunt Cindy, as well as their friends who they were traveling with, and have dinner with them over our first weekend in town.

Celebrating Uncle Chuck's birthday

Celebrating Uncle Chuck’s birthday

The other birthday was for Zoe, my friend’s girlfriend. She and Stephen, my friend, live on the north side of London. Last year I traveled to town to see them…and drag them to a slew of sights around town that, despite them living there, they’ve never seen. This year, after dad and I were done sightseeing on our own, we took the train out to their place and spent a few days with them. And once again, as luck would have it, we arrived the day before Zoe’s birthday. So it was great fun for us – hopefully it was for her, too – to be able to celebrate her big day with her in person, right from a very tasty table at a Brazilian steakhouse in town. Om, nom, nom…

The London Eye at night

The London Eye at night

As dad said while we were staying with Stephen and Zoe, “I’ve seen a lot of things that I’ve only seen before in books.” I said that very same thing long ago to my friend when the two of us were in Egypt. Hearing it from my dad this time around was something very special, since I knew exactly what he meant; it wasn’t just about sightseeing, it was more about the wow-factor. As in every time you see something you’ve only seen in books, you just say all slack-jawed-like, “wow!”

My trip last year made it easy for me to find our way around, since I knew where to find so many things this go around; Buckingham, Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square, and so forth were a cinch. Even places I hadn’t been before – Kensington Palace, Churchill’s War Rooms, and the like – were easy to find, since I knew my way around. And talk about fun and convenient when you’re staying all of three blocks away from the incredible Tower of London. We spent the better part of two days there, as we toured the tower on one day and witnessed the nearly century-old Ceremony of Keys on another night.

The Tower of London at night

The Tower of London at night

Our trip to London wasn’t just about sightseeing or the football game, though. Granted, the game was the impetus for the trip, but it was more about spending time together. Since I’ve lived in Colorado for over thirteen years now, I don’t get to spend as much time with the family as I would like. But taking a trip like this with dad, and spending eight solid days with him, really makes for some good time to connect.

Of course, with so much time together there’s the possibility of burnout. We ran across that toward the end of our trip together to France about five years ago. By the time our stay was wrapping up, we were starting to get snippy with each other. That didn’t happen this time, though, and I attribute it to breaking things up with the coincidental stay by my aunt and uncle and our time spent with our friends, Stephen and Zoe. So, as it was, dad and I had a lot of great time to see the sights and have a few beers together, but not so much so that we got sick of each other, since, while we do share a lot of interests when it comes to things we want to see while we’re traveling, we were able to spend time with some other people during our stay.

Hanging with dad and my friend Stephen at Stonehenge

Hanging with dad and my friend Stephen at Stonehenge

During our flight back to the States, I ran through the trip in my head. Did I see everything I wanted? Dad asked me the question. He asked if there was anything else I wanted to see. But, meh, it didn’t really matter. Sure, I saw some fantastic things. Sure, a few others – the Harry Potter studios, cough, cough – would have also been nice to see. But, in the end, all I really wanted to do was spend some time away with him. Seeing my friends and aunt and uncle was a really great icing on the cake. And so, after eight days in London spent seeing our Vikings, my aunt and uncle, and our friends, I’d most definitely say mission accomplished.

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6 Comments on “Showing Dad Around London”

  1. rayh526@msn.com October 8, 2013 at 9:57 am #

    Good story……..more photos of the sites would get more people to the UK.

  2. Isabel White October 8, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    One of my bucket list is to ride the London eye…

    • Jason's Travels October 8, 2013 at 11:34 am #

      We had our tickets to ride it, and then it was shut down for some unannounced issue. As soon as we turned in our tickets and walked away, it started up again. 😦

  3. Agness October 13, 2013 at 12:59 am #

    That must have been the best holiday ever for your dad Jason. I’m bet you are a good guide. Looks like you have shown your dad a lot of decent places and introduced him to English beer!


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