I'm just landed back in the US after what was, hands down, our worst vacation ever. It was supposed to be a nice week in the UK with family, a week in Normandy with the kids to speak French and then home. But everything went wrong. We knew things were going to be funky when we tried to do all the flying on frequent flier miles and could only get coach seats with extra stops on inconvenient days, including red-eye legs. And we knew that I wouldn't have Internet access in France (scary!). But it got oh so much worse.
I'll just list some of the catastrophes and you'll get a sense of my last 19 days. First, that weird rash I had on my arm just before we left turned out to be Lyme Disease (from a tick bite three days earlier). Fortunately the rash looked like a blood infection in the hours before we got on the plane so I went to the ER and they gave me an antibiotic prescription, which happens to be the same way you treat Lyme Disease. So there was nothing to do but just suffer what turned into a full-body rash, a fever, flu symptoms and chronic joint pain. But that lasted for ten days, during which I was just useless.
Then there was the small matter of the rain. It rained Every. Single. Day. For 19 days. It rained in England (widespread flooding, and the wettest June in history). It rained in France (also the wettest June in history, and a good start on the wettest July). When we got back to England, it rained some more. Those of you who tried to watch Wimbledon have a sense of what it was like.
Then the airlines lost our luggage TWICE. Once permanently. We had to wear the same clothes for two week and share two toothbrushes between six people. (Yes, I know we could have bought more toothbrushes, but they were eight euros each at the airport and we refused on principle).
Then the youngest girl got head lice.
Then airports were attacked in the UK, so every check-in turned into a two-hour ordeal.
The kids refused to speak French. Indeed, despite a whole week of drilling in that very country, the youngest one still couldn't even remember the word French.
Now I'm at the airline lounge in Boston, waiting six and half hours for my flight home to San Francisco.
The only good that came from this fiasco is that it was so decisively terrible that I may never have to go for a whole-family vacation in Europe again. It's road trips to Tahoe and the beach from now on. Hurray!