How to travel with your Dad and stay friends after :-)

Laughing is good. I always smile and laugh, as I am a pretty cheerful person. So, I told myself ‘Let me pass this state on to you – maybe you need it’.
And hopefully, my Dad will laugh, too.
[Especially as we’ve got another trip planned at the end of July/beginning of August. Together. I just hope that our too-cautious authorities don’t mess our plans up. And yours either – if you’ve got them.]

The following stories are from the summers of 2018 and 2019 (when REAL travelling was still possible – this is sadly possible now only if you find loopholes). [I didn’t have the time to publish this article so far – actually, I’ve been struggling with time lately, but I think its moment has now come.]

So, how to cope as a weathered :P traveller with your Dad on the road?

By leaving him do things his own way (marked ♫)
The first time I crossed borders with my Dad was to Bulgaria. Late August 2018. We stayed close to Durankulak – at Black Sea Holiday (EUR 33/apartment/night).
♫ He immediately made friends with the man in charge of the house, Simion (whose mother was Romanian; he couldn’t speak our language, but we managed). A very kind man, indeed! He even woke up early to prepare two bicycles for Marcel and I, so we could explore the countryside. My Dad still keeps in touch with him and they hope to see each other again.
That evening, we had dinner at a very sought-after restaurant near Durankulak Lake, called ‘Kibela’ (many Romanians were crossing the border only to have dinner at this place). Of course, the fish dishes were the stars, but ♫ my Dad stuck to what he knew – chicken. The same happened the following day, for lunch, when we got back from Tyulenovo (via Ezerets, where the beach and sea were stunning – and we’ll return).
Ezerets, Bulgaria
The night before, Marcel and I did encourage my Dad’s first kayaking session. He liked it, but he was not crazy about it. So, we kayaked and snorkelled at Tyulenovo (the waves were very high and the sea was rough outside the bay, but the views over the reddish cliffs were grand), he swam. ♫ I suggested that he put on the fins right before getting into the water; of course, he didn’t (stubborn father, stubborn daughter) and he fell, as the shores were quite rocky.
Durankulak, Bulgaria

Durankulak, Bulgaria

Kayaking in Tyulenovo, Bulgaria

The cliffs of Tyulenovo, Bulgaria

Snorkelling away; Tyulenovo, Bulgaria
No damages registered, we moved on.

By taking it slowly (marked ♦)
Back to Romania and a short stop in Vama Veche to meet up with Maria & Vlad; they were going to leave for a long time, so we took advantage of the opportunity to meet up.
With Maria and Vlad in Vama Veche, Romania
♦ Later on, though, we relaxed at Casa de langa lac (EUR 45/2 en-suite rooms/night). One shouldn’t assume that three persons have the same pace even if they’re travelling together. We were in Năvodari, Marcel didn’t like the industrialised waterfront; we still kayaked and my Dad gladly took pictures of us.
Cherhanaua Taşaul disappointed us all – after so many good things heard about it, the food was average (and some dumping grounds were discovered by us on our way to it).
All of us had a surprise the following morning, as we left to the beach – pelicans had gathered some meters away from our accommodation. 
Pelicans in Navodari, Romania
♦ We did some beach hopping and my Dad didn’t mind, as we shared some fresh bread and chocolate croissants in the car, the way travellers should. I wasn’t impressed by Corbu Beach, but I absolutely loved the sand dunes and views of Vadu Beach. And I wasn’t the only one!
Vadu, Romania

By finding new experiences that he embraces (marked ►)
At the beginning of last year I found out that one of my closest friends, Graham, was travelling from Australia to Europe, accompanied by his wife, Betty. We had been enrolled in the same Scottish History Postgraduate Programme at UHI and there was a connection from the start between us. I couldn’t miss the chance to meet them!
Marcel didn’t have any free days left. I had an idea – my Dad had never flown, so I bought him the tickets to Italy for July.
…and here we were, landing at Roma Ciampino. The AirLink ticket allowed us to reach Roma Termini (EUR 3.2) and then take another train to charming Tivoli (EUR 2.6).
From the airport to Rome, Italy
► My Dad was happy with the streets and the atmosphere of Tivoli and our accommodation was simply delightful La Mensa Ponderaria (EUR 50/en-suite double room, delicious breakfast included). He kept filming and uttering wows in Villa d’Este, while I kept cooling myself with the cold drops of the fountains around.
The streets of Tivoli, Italy

Tivoli, Italy

Breakfast at La Mensa Ponderaria; Tivoli, Italy

The streets of Tivoli, Italy

The streets of Tivoli, Italy

Villa d'Este; Tivoli, Italy

Villa d'Este; Tivoli, Italy

Villa d'Este; Tivoli, Italy
I convinced him to have a panino for dinner and he treated me to gelato.
► Our best moments of the day had been, however, those spent walking back to our accommodation from Villa d’Este and enjoying some pineapple juice in that tremendous heat. He liked it that much that we are still searching for that perfect pineapple juice to replace that flavour we couldn’t forget!           
By living in the moment (marked ☼)
Tough days on the road should begin with a nice breakfast and beautiful views. It’s how we left Tivoli, jumped on a train to Roma Tiburtina (EUR 3), then on a FlixBus to Naples (EUR 23.98 return trip), and then on another train to Pozzuoli (EUR 2.2).
Goodbye, Tivoli! (view from our B&B's terrace)

Buying train tickets (Tivoli -> Roma Tiburtina), Italy
My Dad didn’t mind the long trip and was delighted by our final stop. Even though our flat (EUR 82/2 nights, light breakfast included) wasn’t much, the view of the sea was.
Pozzuoli, Italy; Bay of Naples - view from our rented flat
☼ The prize for a happy day spent together included a Neapolitan pizza at Pizzeria Marzano and some typical snacks that the owner and staff offered us. I was crazy about the hospitality of the south!
Neapolitan Pizza in Pozzuoli, Italy

By being empathetic, flexible, and mature (marked ♠)
We had listened to the people at the terraces beneath our flat until 3am. Or maybe 4. I didn’t mind. I only missed Marcel. ♥
Still, I woke up easily, had breakfast, and left very fast, because we knew that it was going to be a very hot day.
Through areas of litter and accents of the locals that I couldn’t decipher, we did reach higher Pozzuoli and found a supermarket open (where we stopped to stock up). ♠ Marcel and I had told my Dad not to take his new shoes on the trip… but he did. :D So, we couldn’t walk to Cuma Archaeological Park or get to Baia and snorkel above the ruins because he got blisters. He simply wanted a swim and that’s that. I was initially disappointed and I cried, but then I let go of my expectations for the day. Even though we ended up at a private beach (EUR 9/person, 1 bottle of water included), the sea temperature was perfect. We couldn’t have wished for more. The currents of the Tyrrhenian Sea were surprisingly strong and the visibility was not the greatest, but we were happy.
Heading to the higher parts of Pozzuoli by foot; Italy

Swimming in the Tyrrhenian Sea; Pozzuoli, Italy
♠ At a point, we did leave smiling. The shower taken in the apartment was the coolest and my favourite of 2019 (after that heat, just imagine tepid water turning suddenly cold and refreshing you all the way)!
We went shopping again in the evening and then… we had our treats. Dolci Momenti al Porto had my first Babà in store (delicious Neapolitan pastry soaked in rum) and an Aperol. I also discovered a super-cute shop with beautiful souvenirs and organic products – and you should visit it, too; it’s called Bibì Nature Bazar.    
Babà, gelato, almond cake, and Aperol in Pozzuoli, Italy

Bibì Nature Bazar in Pozzuoli, Italy

By sharing your world with him (marked ☺)
A very humid morning in Pozzuoli… and we needed to get to Naples and catch the bus back to Rome. It didn’t start well, but we got our smiles back and explored contrasting but charming Napoli for a bit. As we sat down to wait for the bus, ☺ I started sharing travel secrets with my Dad, discussing safety concerns and luck on the road (much needed for those tricky connections).
On the train from Pozzuoli to Napoli, Italy
A train ride (from Tiburtina to Trastevere; EUR 1) and a longish walk later (it seemed like that in that day’s heat), we got to 4321 B&B (EUR 36/double room/night, light breakfast included), which we used as our base, as it was a very safe area at all times. ☺ We were able to meet my dear friend Graham and his Betty. We exchanged gifts, travel stories, smiled a lot, had dinner – everything in Piazza di Santa Maria, in Trastevere. 
A special reunion: Betty and Graham; Rome, Italy
It is so wonderful to meet up with friends in a corner of our world – I just hope we will be able to do that in the future, too!

By finding the silver lining in every cloud (marked ♣)
A morning walk, a history lesson, and some refreshing sorbets later, we hugged Betty and Graham goodbye. I was sad, but optimistic – of course, we were going to see each other again. ♥
History lesson with Betty in Graham in Rome, Italy

Trajan's Column; Rome, Italy
♣ I had already thought that my Dad got lost somewhere around Trajan’s Column… It turned out that he was fascinated by the ancient buildings all around and couldn’t stop filming.
It was time to get back to our accommodation and it should have been an easy task, but we got lost. There was also a severe heat warning in place in Italy that day… and my Dad wouldn’t drink enough water. So I bought him some (sparkling – and to this day… there were some connections made in my mind… and I always have frizzante when I suffer from intense heat), several times. ♣ We calmed down, found our way back to the apartment that gave us the chance to freshen up before heading to the airport. Wonderful house rules, if I might add. Also, we discovered a different area of Rome together.

I won’t lie. It is not easy to travel with a parent, especially if you’ve travelled a lot with your partner or on your own for the past 13 years… if you have different personalities… and, of course, there is the generation gap. There was a lot of fighting, especially in Italy.
But you can make it work, make it fun, allow your parent to see and experience new things. Why not share if you can?  

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