Isn’t it interesting how you can remember moments in time as if they just happened? I have reflected on one such moment several times over the past few days.
It was several years ago. I was sitting with my mom at her assisted-living facility. She had a perplexed look on her face just before she said, “If I live much longer, I’m not going to leave you kids any money.”
Of course I assured her we would rather have her hang around than collect inheritance. That’s when she said, “Well, I’d like to leave you enough so you and Dick could take a nice trip.”
Well, she didn’t live much longer. She did leave me some money. And I’m writing this column from the Viking River Cruise ship that is taking us down the Danube River on a “nice trip.” I mean, you can see the ad that was shown before “Downton Abbey” only so many times before a river cruise moves to the top of your bucket list.
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So off we went. We were doing great getting to our planes until we got to Frankfurt, Germany. That’s when we were told to go to gate B50. Just so you know, there is NO gate B50 at the Frankfurt airport. After a frustrating hour, we got booked on the next flight to Budapest, Hungary. The old saying “missed the boat” had a whole new meaning. Thankfully, it didn’t apply to us this time. We made it.
We boarded the ship in Budapest, where it was docked until the next morning. I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and had one of those very memorable moments. The lights of Budapest reflected in the water. It was a crisp, crystal clear night, so I just stood there on our little balcony and thought how fortunate I was to be able to travel with my fun and loving husband, who has become a very good traveler. The next day, we cruised along to Vienna and then to Krems, Austria. In the following days, we cruised through the beautiful Wachau Valley and explored Passau, Germany.
Variety is the name of the game. The food, the activities and the people come in a wide range of tastes, sizes, shapes and personalities.
The majority of travelers are from the United States, but we met Helena and Ian from London. What a delightful couple. We laughed all through dinner, because when Helena was asked her opinion, and sometimes without being asked, she stated what she thought clearly and without a bit of hesitation.
Judy, my new friend, and her husband, Dean Fraser, from Florida have added a lot of fun to the trip. They both spent time in Wichita and both had very good things to say about it. I think my husband holds his breath every time we tell someone where we live. He hopes no one says anything the least bit derogatory about my city or state. In my opinion, those comments are fighting words.
For Day 6, we’ll be in Regensburg, Germany, then through the Main-Danube Canal and on to Nuremberg, Germany. And then we’ll fly home. Actually, by the time you read this, we’ll be home and very jet-lagged. International flights can be a tough journey. Heck, anymore any flight can be a challenge.
It’s all worth it. This trip was Dick’s birthday present from me, but I told him who else was responsible for it.
Reach Bonnie Bing at firstname.lastname@example.org.