The Grand European Tour: By Rivers

I have been never so busy w travel as this year, 2022! It started in my perennial favorite Atlantic City, NJ, in the beginning of May, and I go there usually twice annually. I have to maintain my Gold status at my favorite hotel, in order to use their Amphora Lounge, which gives u all u can eat and drink, alcoholic beverages too, for a mere $12.50 per person, but only 2 person limit per party. And that $12.50 is payable by your compensatory dollar balance from gaming, so it’s just a bonus to eat and drink like that: the food is really good, and occasionally, I like to get an Amaretto Sour. But I also go annually to the Star Trek Cruise, which runs from late February to early March, usually. So that one preceded, and every year, we get new ports of call on that voyage. This year, we went to Nassau, the Bahamas, St Thomas, US Virgin Islands & Philipsburg, St Maarten via the Orlando FL area, by Cape Canaveral. I always go ahead of the cruise as well, in order to escape NY winter more, and just relax.

This year however has been quite unprecedented, as the pandemic changes were coming due: some reimbursements and deals were expiring this year, or else u forfeit the value offered. So I was loathe to lose my prior on call monies in London, Royal Caribbean, and other trips postponed, one of them since 2018 even! The result was I was only at home for short stretches of time, sometimes as little as 1 week between trips. I went to a panoply of nations, several never before seen, others just favorites of the past. Here it went, both solo and also w other dear friends:

  1. Reykjavik, Iceland: 2 hotels, on land only, a week there; June 2022. Solo.
  2. Edinburgh, Scotland: on land, The Glasshouse Hotel; June to July, w Vandy/Brad. Demanding excursions.
  3. Oslo, Norway to Stockholm, Sweden, w 5 countries in total, on trip, Cruise w Viking Star; w Susan, Max & Marna. We covered 3 weeks total, partly on land also, w pre- and post-cruise extensions. July into August. Countries: also Denmark, Poland & Germany. And we stopped at London Heathrow Airport on both ways, to transfer flights. Some demanding excursions, again.
  4. London, United Kingdom, England, on land only, w Vandy & Brad, a theater trip principally. Aug.
  5. Atlantic City, NJ: 6 days, same hotel, solo, beginning of Sept.
  6. Royal Caribbean Cruise to New England and 2 maritime provinces of Canada, solo. Went to St John, New Brunswick, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Boston, Portland & Bar Harbor, Maine. Mid to late Sept.
  7. Fishkill & Wappingers Falls, NY: visiting Susan & Max w Marna too, a weekend get together, Sept.
  8. Viking Aegir River Cruise from Amsterdam, the Netherlands to ending Budapest, Hungary, w post-cruise extension in Budapest. Solo. All 17 days in October. Other countries: Germany & Austria. They call it The Grand European Tour, and it was. Again, some demanding excursions, for me, who isn’t in fit condition.

Yet to come:

  1. DFW Airport Hotel 1 nt, then Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, 7 nts, w John & Jerry, in November. Will be my 1st time in that city in Mexico. On land.
  2. Fishkill & Wappingers Falls, NY for annual Christmas gathering w Susan & Max, family & friends. Dec.
  3. South Salem, NY & New Canaan, CT: gathering w Vandy & Brad, for Thanksgiving. Nov.
  4. Las Vegas, Nevada: w Marna, for New Years; Dec. into Jan. On land.
  5. Star Trek the Cruise 6, plus Los Angeles area trip, mid-Feb into early March 2023. Solo, but I have CA friends on board the ship whom I socialize with. Also, Long Beach, CA + Beverly Hills, CA preceding cruise, on land, 2 hotels. Ports of call r Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan & Puerto Vallarta, all in Mexico.
  6. Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas Cruise, Feb, w Susan, to Orlando, Miami, Nassau, the Bahamas & Perfect Day at Coco Cay, via Cape Liberty, in Bayonne, NJ port. Feb 2023. 8 days.
  7. Viking Sky Cruise solo, April to May, Italian Sojourn, w ports in Italy & also Croatia. Going to parts never visited in person on this one, including the city of Venice, Sicily, Messina, Bari, Crotone, Sibenik, Lake Maggiore, Como, Milan Airport also. 11 days total.

Yeah, I am living my best life thus, as I want to do as much as I am able, while I can. I am aware that your endurance and strength, health all change over time, especially when u aren’t in fit condition. But I do well, considering my limitations. I come back frankly exhilarated from most of these trips, amazed at what I accomplished. It’s remarkable, and much appreciated. Come look at some of the Grand European Tour pictures here. I have literally 1000’s of pictures, on both cell and on my trusty Canon camera.

So there r literally too many pictures on the Canon, some 1944 of them! Just from this trip, in datings from 10/6 to 10/18. I get disappointed about little things, like a video that didn’t upload to Facebook, from this musical scene at Marienplatz in Munich, Germany…because it would have been nice to share that. The bells ringing was quite fascinating to watch over the 10 minutes it did that, that day. We saw many parts of Germany never before seen also, although there was some duplication of ports, in the beginning: Amsterdam, Kinderdijk, both the Netherlands, and also Cologne, Koblenz, Germany. That was on the Rhine River, but then we diverged, to the Main River, then going to Miltenberg, Wurzburg, Bamberg, Nuremberg, Regensburg port stop, on to Munich, Passau…and then to Austria, Scharding, Melk & Krems, Vienna, then on to Budapest, including some countryside, Szentendre, an open air museum called Skanzen, w animals on site as well…and a special ending folklore dinner in Budakeszi, which took a while to get to, on the night before we left on a red eye flight, into London, at 7:10am. I was so excited that I couldn’t even sleep that night, after getting back to the hotel. From the Main River w its many locks, we then entered the famous Danube River. Yup, it’s a good life overall, even w some limitations.

I know this is a privileged life, and am very grateful to both God and my beloved ancestors whose hard work made it possible. At least someone lived to enjoy it. I am also following my ancestors on these trips, as many of these countries r in my own genetic heritage, as enumerated by 23andme 1st, then ancestry.com. I feel the spirits of my ancestors sometimes too, on these voyages. And I give thanks always, but all honor and praise be to my Lord, from whom all these blessings flow. Amen.

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