Mother and Child Reunion is Only a Sea Away

by Tori Ward, Cruise and Resort Specialist, ROX Travel & Christopher Warren

Photo by Tori Ward.

When I invited my grown son to celebrate a mommy and me milestone birthday cruise in Northern Europe this spring, I asked myself if I could be a traveling partner and not a mom.

The answer was “yes,” except for the one time in Culzean Castle, Scotland when I wanted to shout, “Hands in pockets, hands in pockets!” That child has to touch everything.

When we returned I asked him to share his memories of the trip. This is our story

Christopher: May is a perfect time to visit the UK and Ireland. The skies are blue, the sunsets magnificent and the shades of green highlight the sturdy Hawthorne bushes bursting in soft white blooms.

If the natural beauty, the bobbing fishing boats and the rocky harbors weren’t enough to make you fall in love with the area, the locals were the main attraction. Friendly, helpful and relaxed with a yarn to spin about every mile we traveled.

Tori: The aforementioned Culzean Castle was just one of many castles we visited on our itinerary that included Guernsey, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and France. While a tour of Stonehenge was essential, my favorite moments were the little surprises we didn’t plan.

The antique book store casually supervised by two elderly men in rocking chairs. They seemed to exist on book dust and tea. Their shop was a treasure trove of Queen Elizabeth commemorative thimbles, literature from the Nazi occupation of the island during WWII and ancient nautical handbooks.

And, while we couldn’t not see Edinburgh Castle, the sprawling fortress that dominates the town, the port city of Queensferry and the morning we spent exploring and locating a forested hiking trail that parallels the harbor, was mysterious and energizing.

Christopher: Many of our excursions were pre-planned and shared. However, as a Navy veteran my most profound tour was a solo trip to the beaches of Normandy.

On Arromanches Beach, where the Canadians came ashore during the D-Day invasion, I broke from the group and considered how I would approach such a long, flat, desolate beach. Compared to this Gold’s Beach landing area however, our next destination, Omaha Beach, overwhelmed me with sorrow.

I witnessed countless white crosses at the battlefield grave complex that represented just a small number of the many sons and daughters that were lost during the war. The silence was respectful providing this shore with a blanket of peace for the souls lost there.

Tori: An unexpected treat, about mid-way through our cruise was a trip to Alloway, the childhood home of Robert Burns, Scotland’s famous poet who many of us know from the song, Auld Lang Syne. We stopped at the Brig a’ Doon’s Coven Restaurant where the door was staffed by a gentleman in full Highland Dress, bagpipes rattling. Soon the entry was flooded by men in kilts and ladies in fascinators who were assembling for a wedding reception.

Christopher: As a novice pleasure cruiser, I was fascinated by the technology on board this Princess ship. It took me a while, though, when I got home to remember the little medallion I wore on my wrist to summon a waiter wouldn’t work with my spouse.

Tori: I was feeling a bit sad as I packed on our final day, but cheered myself that in only two weeks I would be packing again for a Greek vacation with Christopher’s daughter, my oldest granddaughter.

Christopher and Tori: When people asked what the best part of the cruise was it was spending time with each other, great conversations and new memories.

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