Over this weekend, we conducted a social experiment, GG and I, into how much excitement can be contained in one 6-year-old. It turns out it’s quite a bit when spread over three days. The plan was to fly to Hamburg on Friday, visit Minatur Wunderland the next day, and return to the UK on Sunday.
GG flew for the first time on Friday, 9th May. While it wasn’t his first trip abroad, it was the first time I had taken him from these shores – and on my own. In the run up my mind was filled with all the possible ways this trip could go wrong. In the end we had the best time.
I’ve attached with this text a selection of the photos captured on the adventure. They probably don’t do our airbourn road trip justice, but they are experiences that will stay with George for the rest of his life. What he came away with only he can say – and he’s already started. For me, I came away with even more pride for The Dude.
Ultimately, the size of the city, the things going on, sights, sounds and smells, overwhelmed his young mind. But he still managed to capture hearts on the way, and memorize the route between the airport and our hotel (thereby supplying the so-called responsible person with the right directions). He also had a great time at Minatur Wunderland (although he said he was disappointed – it wasn’t “outside”!).
Minatur Wunderland was in fact fantastic. The guys had clearly let the imaginations run riot in the best possible way. I do believe they have miniaturised everything that can be miniaturised. Trains, planes and automobiles. Helicopters hovered. Boats chugged through water. Juggernauts rumbled over grand canyons. A fire blazed incessantly in MW’s depiction of Hamburg. And everywhere you looked a train ran passed – underfoot, overhead, round the highest peaks these guys could craft and create. It was a wonderful day, and worth the money – and the trip!
Some of The Dude’s notable quotes from this weekend: “Land on the sea? That’s silly!” (before take-off at Luton); “People in Hamburg speak German,” (loud and proud in a certain busy fast-food set-up); and the word “awesome” nearly ran out. He was disappointed with Minature Wonderland. Why? I asked, amazed by the fantastic endeavour and creativity of the huge model railway lay-out. “It wasn’t outside,” was George’s excuse. On the way back, as we landed at Gatwick, George serenaded the other passengers with Christmas songs. Very seasonal. There was ice on the cabin windows after all.
Due to flight times, we had to get up at 4am (CET) – that’s three-in-the-bloody-morning o’clock to you. I fretted over the logics of this for quite some time: getting up, finishing off the packing, getting a half-sleep boy dressed and down to reception, and then to the airport. But cometh the hour, cometh the man. Or rather a very motivated Dude. The alarm went off at 4am (CET), and the lights went on shortly after. I went through the motions of waking George up. He rolled over. I repeated myself, and he was up – reluctantly. By ten past we’d checked out. We had so much time we walked to the airport again (George got a carry for the last half of the journey for being great!).
Coming back into the UK the Border Agency decided I wasn’t George’s dad after all as our surnames are different (that fact mine makes up one of The Dude’s middle names was lost on Madame Sherlotta “why-the-feck-do-I-have-to-work-on-Sunday-mornings” Holmes). For a horrible moment I thought she was going to give me a form to complete before allowing me back into the country of my birth. Fortunately, it was reading homework she set. And off we went to get the train home.
This adventure will live long in both our memories, and I hope it’s but the first of many of such we make together.