Twenty-six days, six countries and 1,725 pictures. To even to begin to be able to describe the experience is no easy feat for anyone, including David Naughton.
Naughton recently returned from his month-long trip to Europe with his son, Michael Naughton, and the wanderlust is evident. You can see it on his face as he describes being in Mozart’s house, or in his 1,725 pictures if you have the time. You can feel it as he discusses the miles walked through Paris to see the Mona Lisa and the Eiffel Tower. And you can almost taste it as he raves about the endless scoops of gelato that he and Michael devoured while in Italy.
It is day 20 of the trip, and it is approximately 2 a.m. as David stands in jeans, a T-shirt and socks, trying to explain to Austrian police officers that his passport is back in his sleeping cabin with his son on a coach that seems to be no longer connected to the train, David is not feeling the wanderlust.
In the early morning on their way to Vienna, David slipped out of his and his son’s sleeping cabin to use the restroom. David soon realized as he went to the bathroom the cabin door had locked behind him. There he stood for about an hour-and-a-half, thinking it would be best to not leave the coach. However, eventually, David decided to go off in an attempt to find the conductor.
With no luck walking the length of the train, he decided it was time to cut his losses and go back to standing outside the cabin on their coach, but when he came to where their coach should have been, he was met with a dead end.
A panicked David turned back and eventually met the police officers and did his best to explain the situation. The train had by that time come to a halt and one of the police officers had taken David to another platform where another train had just pulled up. He was told to go look on the train to see if that was his coach. As he walked the length of the train, eventually things started to look familiar. David banged on a cabin door, and Michael answered.
“That scared the living tar out of me,” David said. “I got in bed and I didn’t leave.”
Day 3 of the trip. David and Michael are looking for the Thomastown Cemetery, where other Naughton families have been laid to rest. As they curved around the lush, green countryside of Ireland, luck was not on their side. As Michael stopped at a station for fuel, he and David were able to find their family name. It was at the gas station and the car lot across the street instead, cars sold by Naughton auctioneer.
With the help of directions from the station employees as well as some local pedestrians, David and Michael were finally able to find their destination in an off-road pasture.
By the end of Day 6, David and Michael had made it to Northern Ireland and were wsurprised to find how grandiose their next AirBnB was. The estate was surrounded by a fence with a large house, in addition to other stone buildings, one of which they would be staying in. There was also a pond on the property with its own island, and their neighbors was a giant spa with a generous botanical garden.
That night David has a lengthy conversation with their hosts and listened to the husband, John, discuss his adventures in New Guinea and how he was working as an architect, how he renovated their home and even about when the well-known river dance group, Celtic Thunder, stayed at their place. These were the type of conversations throughout their trip that have stuck with David.
“People were so nice,” David said. “[John] was a real character. The guy was brilliant.”
The following day David and Michael went along with John and his wife to a local market. The market was in a parking lot and everything from fresh flowers, fish, clothing and building materials were available to be bartered for. As David and Michael were visiting different vendors John was walking around juggling — he had been clowning for a birthday party yesterday on his unicycle. David scored a new coat from the market and John scored a crocodile hat that he proceeded to wear throughout the day as he drove David and Michael around the Irish countryside.
In France, David and Michael walked through Paris to see the iconic Eiffel Tower and the enormous Louvre museum to see the Mona Lisa. David was surprised that as they got closer to the Eiffel Tower they were met with men walking around large guns. There had recently been numerous terror attacks in Europe.
“You got a certain distance from [the Eiffel Tower] and there are a bunch of men walking around with guns,” David said.
In Iceland, they saw enormous geysers in a sea of dark lava stone. Of all the places, David said Iceland’s landscape was vastly different than any other place. He described it as being on another world.
On June 6, David and Michael returned to the world they have known their whole life. David said his travels have changed him, giving him a much more deep understanding of the world.
“I’m home now watching TV and I’m bored to death,” David said.