Stanley Feld M.D.,FACP,MACE
Cecelia and I believed it was important to expose our children to as much of the world as possible as they were growing up. The belief was not from our travels as children with our families. My longest trip was an occasional summer trip to the Catskill mountains with my parents and brother.
I did not travel in college and medical school but yearned to explore foreign countries. I worked in the Catskill mountains as a waiter for seven years including my senior year in high school to help pay for tuition.
College opened my eyes to the potential of world travel. When I met Cecelia I met a woman that had the same goals about world travel. We promised each other when we had enough money we were going to take at least one vacation trip overseas a year to experience other cultures
My philosophy is, “if you do not have goals you cannot score baskets.”
When Brad was 11 years old and Daniel was 8, Cecelia and I decided to take the kids to England during Spring break. We would start in London, go to Scotland and then drive back to London. The goal was to experience average British life.
We flew to London. We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast in Knightsbridge. Cecelia did a magnificent job planning the itinerary for both the daily activities and living accommodations. The Feld family was the only American group in this Bed and Breakfast that accommodated eight other families of similar size from all over Europe. The stay was an interesting cultural experience.
We walked all over London. We took the tube or bus to everything we wanted to see.
Our goal was to expose Brad and Dan to all the fine art London had to offer. Cecelia and I had been to London a few times before and knew where to go.
I did not realize how much pain we inflicted on the boys schlepping them though all the museums and galleries. It turned out that if there is no pain there is no gain. Brad and his wife Amy and Daniel and his wife Laura have a deep appreciation of fine art.
There were many memorable experiences during that trip. Harrods’ food court enchanted the boys.
One night, dinner ran late. The scheduled visit was the Tower of London. The trip on the tube was long. We arrived at the tube stop 30 minutes before closing. The Tower closed at 9 pm. We didn’t realize how long it would take to get there. Tension mounted on the tube ride.
I saw the excitement rising in Brad and Daniel. We ran through the dark streets and were the last people to go on the last tour. We got lost in the tube on the way home. All of this delighted of the boys.
On our last day we were scheduled to take a sleeper train to Scotland at 11 pm at Kings Crossing. I had arranged to have dinner at a medical school roommate’s cousin’s house outside of London. This cousin was a Family Doctor with four kids. They lived in a modest apartment. The doctor had a lot of negative things to say about America.
He compared Americans’ attitude to the British attitude. He said; if there was a black kid in the back of the bus in London and a man in a Rolls Royce the black kid would be thinking about how that guy ripped off the country and how he could be destroyed. In America the black kid would be thinking how he could achieve enough to own that Rolls Royce.
I thought this was very constrictive thinking. Our family discussed it in Scotland.
The doctor drove us to King’s Crossing. It was the first sleeper train for all of us. None of us slept a wink. We arrived in Edinburg at 5.45 am. Our rental car was a Ford Escort equivalent. It was not the most comfortable vehicle for the four of us but we managed.
We stayed at a farm in Tweed after having our share of lamb chops. It was beautiful but cold. The farmer gave us hot water bottle to keep our feet warm in lieu of heat. There was an overnight frost and not enough blankets.
I could not find the farm. I stopped at a house and ask a guy where it was. He jumped on his BMW motorcycle and said follow him.
We showed the boys more old castles and churches than one could imagine existed. In a bed in breakfast in one village a woman charged us the equivalent of a quarter to take a bath.
To an American boy this was certainly old world.
Lake Windermere was a great experience. We stayed in an old mansion. The structure was beautiful but again no heat. Cecelia and I had a date night to the best restaurant in England by the most famous chef in England. I found a pizza joint in town and bought a very large pizza for Brad and Daniel to share with the owner of the house. They sat in the living room before the fireplace wrapped in blankets watching the telie and eating pizza.
They were happy and we were off to have one of the best meals of our life.
The trip was wonderful. Brad and Daniel were great sports. I hope the warm memories of that trip linger in their minds as is does in mine. This is what family travel is about.