Getting up at the crack of dawn has never been especially appealing to me, so setting my alarm to get up at 4 for the ferry to Wales was not my favorite part of the trip. This was back when I wore contacts and they were not pleased with me putting them in my eyes so early, making my eyes water. Not helpful. If I thought it was crazy for me to get up so early, imagine how it was when I went around to the apartments of my students to get them moving. The first door I knocked on was opened by students from other groups on our tour who were sharing rooms with my kids. Yes, they were up and moving, but my students weren’t quite as on the ball. Maybe they were still jetlagged or something. I had to cajole, and drag, and plead with those kids to get moving, and we barely made the bus. But the ferry ride was well worth it.
When I say “ferry,” I think of a small boat taking a few people from one place to another, a nice small trip in a nice small boat. Yeah, our ferry was nothing like that. It was massive, what I would have imagined the Titanic to look like, and there were so many decks that I lost track. It also carried along a bevy of vehicles on the lower deck, something that freaked me out when I first found out, thinking the boat would sink, but except for when we left, when we docked, and for a couple of times during the trip, it was almost as if we were on dry land. At least to me. A couple of students in our group had to take seasickness medication to stay alert and well.
And the trip was three hours, so just enough time to negate a chance to sleep. Oh, and it was raining all the way across, our run of good luck just about over. The showers came down nonstop, which I took as the perfect sign to go topside, something no one else seemed to be up for. I was in the mood to take a few pictures while we were on the water, and no rainstorm was going to stop me from it. In fact, those photos turned out to be some of my favorite of the entire trip. Of course with the ship being so large, too, though, I couldn’t stay up there too long. There were way too many nooks and crannies that needed to be monitored to make sure that the children were behaving themselves.
Now, remember I said I had the good kids along with me? Well, even the good kids have libidos, especially since they were still teenagers, and by this point in our journeys it was pretty obvious to pick out the ones who had gotten close to members of the opposite sex from the other groups we were traveling with. So I had my chaperones and the other group leaders helping out with rounds of the decks to keep all of our members together with no stragglers. It helped that because they were teenagers and it was so early in the morning that many of them just dropped back to sleep once we were on board. I did sit down with large groups of them, though, and had some conversations with the ones who were still awake, and by all accounts they were all having a great journey.
It was a journey that was half over already, though, by that point, having gone through our Ireland portion and having only Wales and England remaining. I was excited to visit the place of Shakespeare’s birth, and of course London too, but Wales would have its due, and as we docked in the country I only remembered for being the place attached to Charles’ name I was looking forward to seeing how it was different from Ireland, but I was also mourning the loss of Ireland itself as we wouldn’t be returning during that trip.
And the rain kept coming down.