How to convey the significance of a trip to Europe

Does anyone have a way to do this, for children? I am of course all over this Google search and have come up with 2 good sites so far:
(This one seems to brief in its description but I’ve only just started looking at the site.)
(This one seems too wordy and complicated to hold a child’s interest, but we’ll see.)

Husband says I should create a presentation.

Oh! Why am I doing this? We are traveling to British Isles next summer, 2014. We have been talking about this trip for months and I’ve started doing some planning, armed with Trip Advisor, Frommer’s, and Rick Steves. (According to my Google search, Mr. Steves is a Lutheran, has 2 grown kids and is divorced. Anyone else find it odd that this info would pop up on the first search result page for this man? It’s difficult enough to get divorced and live your life without it being the first result Google finds.) Right now I have too much information about the British Isles, too many must-see landmarks, and far too little about the significance of British history in a nice neat summary. I don’t want to get in-depth info about Oliver Cromwell and Sir Walter Raleigh. Just the high points here; I’m attempting to grab the attention of my brood. Hence Husband’s idea of me creating a presentation.

We will be traveling for about 5 weeks total to Ireland (incl Northern Ireland), England, and Scotland. I don’t think we will have the time for Wales nor the Isle of Man. I would like to make the effort to see the Orkney Islands if that destination turns out to have some interesting things for us to see. So far it looks like a collection of rag-tag homes on top of a rocky landscape, serving fry-ups to tourists while skipping over the history lesson the tourists crave. I hope I’m wrong about that one!

There are definitely landmarks I want to see, no matter if anyone else does. But I know all too well how important it is to get buy-in from the midgets (see Egypt, 2009). Otherwise I’m not only struggling myself to keep my spirits and energy up in a confusing land, I also have to prop up the others with false bravado. Yes kids, we have to get up at 3:30 to see Abu Simbel. It’s amazing, you’ll love it, and actually who cares because I want to see it and you can’t stay at the hotel by yourselves. Luxor was where boy midget had his travel meltdown. It’s a predictable event. It happens once a trip when boy midget has hit his limit for strange food, strange surroundings and lack of screen time. In Paris it happened at a laundromat. To remedy this we took him to the grocery store and bought him whatever he wanted. In Luxor we had luckily found an English pub being run by some expats from Britain (Thanks Margie!) and so at least the language and food were familiar within the confines of the pub. Boy was soothed by the sounds and smells of home, and fell asleep while the rest of us enjoyed lunch. In Lima his meltdown happened in a van on our way to see the San Francisco church, so we made a quick stop at Starbucks, where only rich tourists can afford to frequent.

Starbucks has turned out to be a bastion of western civility for me when we are traveling. Everything is the exact same inside, no matter what country you are in. Even the power outlets are western, whether or not the voltage is. It’s good to have a Starbucks as a quick pick me up, for all our sakes.

When we visited the Pyramids in Giza the midgets were impressed for sure. But since our return home boy midget has lamented that he didn’t fully understand the importance of what he was seeing at the time. Well how could he? He was only 8 years old. I’m determined with our next big trip to prime them more properly, not just buy them a book and entice them to read it. I will lecture, teach a mini-course? I guess. A fun one, though. I love history and have always done. I love taking my kids to foreign lands so they can see how small the world is and that there is more than one way to live our lives on this planet. I think I may be succeeding, but only time will really tell.


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