Over the last month we’ve cruised the still waters of the Douro, taken trains in two countries, subways in three countries, and buses in four, ridden the streets of Copenhagen by bicycle, glided down the side of the hills of Porto by funicular and cruised the verdant byways of New England in a luxurious Volvo station wagon. That we would rumble into Charlottetown at 1:30 a.m. last night in a rented Chevrolet Impala thus made for something of an ignominious return.
It’s easy to understand why General Motors is in such dire straights as soon as you sit behind the wheel of an Impala: it’s a car designed to completely isolate you from the driving experience, and the “road” thus feels like an abstract concept located somewhere underneath several layers of padding. It is not at all a pleasant car to drive.
But it got us home to our own beds, and for that we were thankful.
The whole “car rental costs less than Halifax hotel” idea was eliminated when I neglected, in my early morning haze, to fill the tank up on the way to return the car to the airport, and found myself stung with a $69 fuel bill. But $69 was a small price to pay for avoiding the check-in, security lines, and flying stresses involved in a hop from Halifax to Charlottetown this morning.
Charlottetown appears much the same as when we left in early May. There are a few more bricks in the new federal building, the new grocery store downtown has a month under its belt, and the trees are in full bloom. G. decided to renovate our house while we were gone, which included repainting our front porch pewter green. There have been two deaths among friends and acquaintances while we’ve been gone, and three cancer operations. Apparently North Korea is preparing to attack Kansas City and someone was plotting to behead the Prime Minister. And we missed the hockey play-offs. Oh, and I forgot how to order at the Formosa Tea House. But it’s summer on Prince Edward Island, and that’s nice to return to.
Here’s a brief summary of our time away in numbers:
- Days away: 42
- Days spent working at Yankee: 7
- Photos uploaded to Flickr: 1,096
- Countries visited: 6 (USA, Ireland, Portugal, England, Denmark and Sweden)
- Currencies in my wallet: 5 (US dollars, Canadian dollars, Euros, Danish Kroners, Swedish Kroners)
- Modes of transport used: 11 (automobile, airplane, taxi, tram, subway, bus, funicular, river-boat, bicycle, monorail, dugout canoe)
- Value of Playmobil and Lego acquired: $150.00
- Ways of saying thank you: 3 (Thanks, Tak, Obrigado)
- Medical emergencies: 1 (puffy eye)
- Airlines flown: 4 (Air Canada, US Airways, Ryanair, easyJet)
- Lost luggage: none
- Aeroplan miles earned: 7,526 (US Airways Boston to Dublin return — they’re a Star Alliance carrier)
- Mobile SIM cards acquired: 3 (Denmark and two in Portugal)
- Telephone calls received: 4 (two from Johnny, one from a client, one from a distant relative)
There was about 3 cubic feet of mail waiting for us on the dining room table, and my “inbox to zero” plan is faltering with 52 messages waiting for my attention (where you’re used to zero, 52 seems like a mountain). And Catherine seems convinced that the inside of the house is covered in dust.
Bring on the summer…