Travel is intoxicating, the more you do, the more you want to do. My husband, Chris & I were able to test this theory recently by traveling for nearly a month. We were in a period of transition, we had sold our house, city apartment and Chris recently retired. We thought this summer would be the perfect time to take two, back-to-back cruises in Europe. After exploring several options we were able to seamlessly blend two cruises together with no lag time. The first was a Uniworld River Cruise of the Rhine and Main Rivers in Germany. The second was a Princess Cruise of the British Isles (England, Channel Islands, Ireland, Scotland and Northern France).
What an amazing adventure! The only complaint I had for the entire trip is that the weather in Prague and Germany was uncomfortably hot (mid 90’s) for most of our visit. The second half of our trip was the complete opposite. It was cloudy and cool with max temps around 70. The British Isles trip we experienced very little rain and calm seas. This is highly unusual in North Sea locales. A couple of highlights from our summer vacation that Chris and I enjoyed the most were:
1. On the last day of the Rhine cruise we enjoyed the views of the beautiful castles on either side of the Rhine river. On this 50 mile stretch of the Rhine there were over 40 ancient and picturesque castles. It was the most gorgeous day. There were so many castles you didn’t know whether to turn your head to the left or right. We were served authentic German fare with beautiful music playing in the background. Our last day on the Rhine was perfection.
2. One of the most memorable highlights of our Princess Cruise happened on our last day also. We had the choice of going to Paris or Normandy. We had visited Paris several times on other trips and we were very eager to visit Normandy and Omaha Beach. It was a unique, worthwhile and memorable experience. Omaha Beach & the memorial area are beautiful and spiritual. It was very moving to see all of the evenly spaced, identical white, marble crosses, Stars of David & monuments. There are over 10,000 troops buried there. It’s worth the long bus ride from the port and it’s a good chance to visit one of the most critical battlefields of World War 11. Chris & I are both veterans, and visiting Omaha Beach had a lot of special meaning to us.
3. I was going to only share two memories of our summer vacation, but then I remembered how much we enjoyed Dublin. After a long bus ride from the Dublin port we arrived at Blarney Castle where the famous Blarney Stone is located. We waited in line for over an hour traversing these uneven stone stairs to get to the top where the stone is perched. I had no idea what to expect while waiting in line and when I witnessed the people in front of me kissing the stone, I almost took off running. I think it’s one of those crazy, touristy things that you need to do only once. You need to see the pictures to understand how crazy this is. These guys at the top of the castle are literally holding your feet, as you are balanced over a hole in the floor. I was practically upside down & when I kissed the stone. If you are in the area and have the time I think it’s a fun thing to do and the pictures are pretty cool. The myth of the stone is that if you kiss it you will have the gift of gab afterwards. My gab hasn’t changed and you can bet that I immediately visited the restroom to wash my face.
The beginning of this column mentioned that travel is intoxicating. I find that the more opportunity you get to explore highways, byways & ports of the world, the more that you want to travel.
On this trip we were gone nearly a month. Even though I have always thought that I couldn’t get enough of traveling, when all is said and done, 25 days, for us is a bit long to be away from home.
Next time we will try to limit our vacations to two or three weeks.
So what’s on your bucket list?Where do you want to go next? How long will your next vacation be? Let’s start a conversation.
Click on the “ask Sheila a question” and share. I look forward to hearing from you!
Sheila Korte, Korte Travel Online
Pic #1 & #2 #3 Castles on the Rhine #4 Chris & Sheila enjoying a perfect day in Germany.
Right before kissing the Blarney Stone
Omaha Beach Memorial
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