Note: This is a trip we took to Rome in 2017. Chronicling our trips has always been fun, and this is my travel diary from visiting my favorite city.
Day One – Travel to Rome!
It is so much work to get ready to leave and have a good time. There always seems to be a point when I wonder if it is worth it. I have to say, this trip is so exciting to me that the thought was only an occasional flitter. I’m pinching myself that I’m writing this as we wing our way over the Atlantic. Woo hoo!
We weren’t woo hooing at 2:30 am this morning. We had to be at the airport at 4 am, and it is an hour’s drive. George is a man who likes his sleep and the poor guy had to work late and didn’t get home until 11 pm. He got about two and a half hours sleep. As I hadn’t had time to pack all week, I laid down at 1:30 am and popped back up at 2:30. Let’s just say there wasn’t any joyous happy dances or marital hugs and kisses. George’s longest sentence was “Did you feed the cats?” I grunted in response.
Best Friend Hall of Fame Award goes to our friend Cheryl, who drove with us to the airport at that ungodly hour so we wouldn’t have to leave our truck at the airport. That woman is going to find a special place in Heaven.
George has turned the corner into the Old Man Driving Time of Life. I have formally moved from Back Seat Driver to full-fledged Medusa. As a graduate of the Shrew School for Back Seat Drivers, I have honed the fine art of shrieking and screaming repetitive little ditties like “We are going to DIE! “ And the ever-popular “This is a 55 mph zone, could we go faster than 20?”
We took the truck so Cheryl can borrow it to get her husband to take some loads to the dump while we are away. They usually borrow the truck when we are gone, and she knows the first load to the dump will come from the inside of what George has left in the truck. An ardent supporter of the Let Litter Live movement, he believes all garbage has the right to live free, and will forever have a a home in whatever vehicle he is driving. Cleaning his car is like going on an archeological dig. When he realized Cheryl was going to drive the truck, he did fill up a garbage bag and removed enough that we could find the seats. At three this morning, I was wearing a gas mask and towel, trying to wipe the seat free of granola, dog food and bananas.
One of the best things about being retired is having time to try new recipes. This Cauliflower Parmesan recipe was posted by a friend on Facebook. I made a couple of modifications because the recommended ingredients weren’t handy, and it is a long way to the grocery store from my house. But that’s what is great with this recipe – substitutions work great, and exact measurements are not necessary. and it was quick to make!
My husband George swears he is a vegetarian (when not running through the drive thru for a quick hamburger), so I thought he might enjoy this cauliflower “steak” recipe. He ate it up, but he did drink his Red Zinfandel wine even faster. I really liked it and am looking forward to having the leftovers for lunch. It’s low calorie, tasty and good for us!
It always strikes me as odd that we seldom take advantage of the wonders of the world right in our neighborhood. Okay, in my case, the state of Oregon, but unless we have company coming, there always seems to be reasons not to get out and check out some pretty awesome stuff nearby.
Mt. Angel, an hour south of Portland, is home to the World Famous Oktoberfest. They might not have invented it, but it is easily one of the largest in the United States. The town has 3,500 permanent residents, and most own lederhosen or dirndls.. Every September, the city roars to life and 350,000 people descend on the tiny town. The town may be small, but it boasts more giant beer halls than you can imagine. Huge, permanent structures, they each have bands, dance floors, and rows and rows of tables. All of which, of course, can hold gallons of beer.
We attended years ago, when we had six small kids. My memories are of corn on the cob, dipped in butter, and trying not to lose the children. People packed shoulder to shoulder is a great place to misplace short family members, and that’s all I can recall. This time, we came as two old farts, looking for a good time. And found it!
My new passion is Volkswalking – something done around the world. What a wonderful way to get out and enjoy the outdoors and good company – without pressure, and at very little cost. Cheap fun is the BEST! Especially when recovering from the cost of a trip to Europe…
Walkoregon.org has a great listing of local walks throughout Oregon and southern Washington. We live on Mt Hood, and I was excited to see a walk that was only a few miles down the road. We drive an hour to get anywhere, and here was fun right in the neighborhood.
George works hard during the week and his natural state of grace is to be a couch potato on the weekends. Get his feet up in the recliner and place a remote in his hand – well, it has to be something like a fire or volcano erupting to get him up. As Mt. Hood is considered active, and wears the dubious title of Most Likely to Erupt in Oregon, one day we might have to test whether it could blast George out of his Lazy Boy.
Our last port has been visited and now we are headed back to where we embarked. It will take us two days to reach Southampton, England.
This is the time of our vacations when I fight depression. I just don’t want it to end. The idea of packing up and trying to jam in any ship activities that we have missed makes me want to pull the covers over my head. It’s been so much fun; why does it have to end? Attitude is everything, and wasting the last two days in a depressed funk, is ridiculous. So I suck it up, hitch up my big girl panties and see what we can still do.
This will be a short paragraph on Day 10. We woke up late, ate, rested, ate again and read our books. The previous four days had been an energy sucking (but fun) experience, and we were ready to relax.
We had thought we had two days at sea and then would be in Berlin. Wrong! We had one day to Berlin. This took the wind out of my sails a bit; I was really looking forward to two days of rest. This cruise has had a lot of stops. I know there is a possibility that I won’t be returning, so I feel compelled to get in as much as possible. Doesn’t always make for a relaxing vacation – but I can be a inactive at home. This is my chance to see a bit of our world. That’s why a Sea Day is lovely – it is a chance to recoup from the previous days adventures – and the couch is there for me to curl up on with my book.
Day 11 – Berlin
George has decided to pass on Berlin and explore the local sites of Warnemunde and Rostock, which is a 15 minute train ride. Rostock has the oldest continuing university in Europe, founded in 1419. Both cities were heavily bombed in WWI and WWII, because of naval and aerial factories. When Rostock went to rebuild their city center, they chose a happy Swedish village model for their architecture, in order to take the focus away from the grim past. Continue reading “Days 11 & 12 Scandinavia – Berlin, Germany – It Was the Best of Times and the Wurst of Times”