|Hotel am Markt Bacharach, Germany|
(our hotel the first two nights)
I'm going on an unexpected vacation! I've blogged before about my cousin, Barbara Pharo, with whom I share a common gg-grandfather. We met a couple of years ago through Ancestry.com. Although she lives in Tampa, she grew up in northern Kentucky, across the river from Cincinnati. In the less than two years that we have known each other, we've traveled to the home of our common ancestor in Kentucky and attended the Ohio Genealogical Conference together.
Barbara had a last-minute cancellation for a European trip she's been planning for the past year for a group of nine. It is part cruise and part land travel. With the encouragement of my husband, I jumped at the chance to go.
We start out in Germany and then take a train to Amsterdam. This is followed by a week-long cruise that will take us to ports in Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Italy. After disembarking from the cruise ship, we will head by train to Venice for a couple of days. With stops in Verona and near Milan, we will fly home on day 17.
I've only had two weeks to really get used to the idea that I am going. Although this is my 5th trip to Europe, I've never been on a cruise and I've never been to Spain or Portugal. So it will be a mix of places that I love (Rhine River Valley, Amsterdam, and Cobh, Ireland) with places I am sure I will love.
There are nine people in our group -- a nice blend of older and younger, and "crips" and "non-crips." I'm in the "crip" group with my knee and hip replacements, but it hasn't prevented me from doing anything I've wanted to do in the past and I don't expect that it will be a problem now.
As a fan of European trains, I am excited that our non-cruise travel will almost exclusively be by train. We are sure to see some beautiful countryside.
So I've got three days to "get my act together." I've given some thought as to whether or not there will be any blog posts between now and mid-September, and I've decided that I will just have to play it by ear. I don't know how full my days and nights will be, but taking in the experience will be my top priority.
One thing for sure -- as I have internet access, I hope to read a few of your posts. I'm sure I'll have a few symptoms of withdrawal when I don't have continual internet access -- but I'll deal with it. Know that I will be thinking about you and raising a glass of "whatever" to you all -- wishing you could be with me.