Expect the Unexpected in the British Isles - My Family Travels

“In Ireland the inevitable never happens and the unexpected constantly occurs.”

     This quote by Sir John Pentland Mahaffy completely defines my trip to not only Ireland, but all of the countries of the British Isles. Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong. However, when you are given an opportunity to visit countries that you have always dreamed about you never stop to think about what could go wrong. That was my first mistake.

     I was young, not yet in high school, and naïve enough to believe that I was prepared for the adventure ahead. I was all smiles as I said good-bye to my parents at LAX, and my smile broadened as we landed at Heathrow Airport in London. I was astounded by the city as we flew over. The houses and the cars seemed alien and strange, but so wonderfully inviting. I never believed that this would be the pretense of what was to come.

     The troubles began that very day. After we ate lunch, we walked to Windsor Castle where we were allowed to look around and buy souvenirs. We looked through the castle and I took dozens of pictures, including one of the famous guards. We, like every other American that has been to England, tried to make him laugh. We finally arrived at the gift shop and I found a small pin that I wanted to get for my uncle. I pulled out the pre-paid card that my mother had given me and gave it to the cashier. It didn’t work. He tried several times and nothing happened. I was flustered, but I thought maybe it was just that particular shop, so I walked to another store and attempted to buy a t-shirt. Again, nothing happened. Needless to say, I was enraged. I called my mom the next day from the Tower of London telling her what happened. She called the card company and, despite what was previously told to us, it was not an international card. After a string of foul language, my mom wired me two hundred American dollars, which turned into about half of that once converted to pounds.

     I thought that everything would be alright after that. For the rest of the trip there were no huge mishaps. We traveled from England to Scotland, where we visited Gretna Green and St. Augustine. From there we traveled back through England into Wales where we visited Penrhyn Castle, and I repelled down one of its towers. That was easily one of the highlights of the trip. We then took a ferry from Wales to Ireland. There, we visited the Blarney stone and the Heritage Museum.

     It all seemed to go smoothly until we arrived in England again. Throughout the entire trip I had taken close to six hundred pictures of various things. On the bus I was looking through my pictures, deleting ones that I didn’t want, and it happened. My camera had a strange feature so when you choose to delete a picture you can delete one or delete all. I accidentally deleted all of my pictures from almost three weeks. I was in hysterics. When I finally got through the last three days of my trip I had taken about two hundred pictures since deleting the others. I felt a little better about that, but they were all of the same area of Nantwich, England. It was depressing.

     That trip taught me so much, and I will never be the same. And now, due to the unfortunate events, I will never be able to forget it.


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