Our summer holiday started with a flood of tears in the early hours of a Thursday morning.
On departure from Heathrow (London) my son’s beloved travel companion, a blue mini micro scooter, managed to get on board of our plane with no trouble whatsoever (and even travelled first class!). However, on arrival in Vienna, as we were going through security to catch our connecting flight we heard a very sharp “No, you can’t take your scooter with you!”. That was all we were told. You should have seen the face of my son! He never cried so hard and I couldn’t stop myself crying with him – so unexpected and abrupt was the whole experience and I did not know what to do. We tried to follow The Most Cruel security guy on the planet to his office, but he walked so fast we couldn’t keep up with him. Very sad and disheartened we found our gate. This was a great start to our holiday.
If a four-year-old could express any sense of attachment at his age – this was it. He loved his scooter! I was also relying on it to keep him happy and get to places quicker and easier. And how is a mother supposed to explain to a small child that someone took away his/her property without giving any explanation? Definitely, a cruel lesson to learn.
I obviously got hold of the business card of the guy and wrote to his boss, Austrian Airlines, management of the airport and look forward to hearing back. Suddenly you feel you’ve got no rights. Did it have to be dealt in such a way that we would now want to avoid Vienna (and Austria) at all cost?
So we left our scooter behind and got on the connecting flight to Ukraine. This is where babushka lives. You have probably heard this word before, which was immortalised in Kate Bush’s Babooshka song, which means a grandma (or a nan) in Russian.
We were very excited to see babushka and my brother since we didn’t make it to Euro 2012, which both Ukraine and Poland co-hosted. Don’t get me wrong, we applied for tickets as soon as we knew, but they never materialised. I was very curious to see my native city, Kharkov, transformed as a host of three key games (Germany, Holland, Portugal) and as a welcoming nation to such vast number of football fans. To be honest I was also on tenderhooks. Having watched a rather disturbing BBC’s Panorama about football racism in Poland and Ukraine I was worried that the general public would decide not to go.
Luckily I was proved wrong and heard amazing stories from my family and friends. My brother and some of his friends helped fans find their way to the stadiums and then escorted them back to ensure they were safe and sound. And they weren’t official game makers! When I watched some of the matches held at the Metalist stadium, my heart was bursting with pride. Ukraine has been through so much, it deserved this gig.
As we were approaching the landing strip of the Kharkov airport I couldn’t help, but notice how green the city is. Beautiful golden globes were shining brightly in the sunshine. There was so much to do to keep my son a very happy boy indeed. There was a trip to the lake on a tram. Babushka also took him regularly to ride on trolleybuses. Local parks had brilliant rides and we had a very special time before we had to come back and start school for the first time
A couple of photos from our trip
Babushka being all cheeky with Mr Cheeky