Tuesday, June 2, 2015

We hoped for the best and that's what we got

Beautiful skies and hungry seagulls as the Norwegian Star departs Stockholm

In making plans for a trip, one usually hopes for the best.

But it is also prudent to prepare for when things don't go exactly right.

Travel insurance should be included in one's expenses especially on roundtrip flights to Europe and a cruise to the Baltic states.

I’ve never taken out travel insurance before, but this trip was taking us far, far away. And we had a lot of money tied up.

There were three or four issues of which I was concerned and which insurance could help if needed.

One was making all the airline connections that would insure a good time and arriving at the dock in time to depart.

Another was the weather  -- before leaving the US and then once there.

And oh, I kept up on the news of the day surrounding Russia and the other countries that we were scheduled to visit. 

Was something going to happen that would cause our ship, the Norwegian Star, to have to skip a port or two? I had hoped not, especially not wanting to miss St. Petersburg, Russia, my priority stop.

And another issue, not anything to do with travel insurance, was how my wife, who is a stroke survivor, and I would make it through the airports.

There was also the matter of getting around the different cities, whether walking or pushing my wife around in a transporter.

We’ve been back almost two weeks, and its hard to believe that things went as smoothly as they did.

We missed one air connection, but was booked on the following flight and kept on schedule.

The weather also concerned me. I checked the reports for the Baltic area, and a week before the trip (early May), the forecast called for rain almost every day.

That wasn’t the case. There was a smidgen of rain in Warnamunde, Germany and a light rain in Stockholm, Sweden. The rain in Sweden was so light that I managed to take a two-hour walk throughout the city and barely got wet.

The temperatures were on the cool side with nighttime readings in the 40s and 50s and daytime readings in the 50s and 60s. Those are the kind of readings that I like.

Mostly, skies were clear to partly cloudy. But very windy at times.

Before leaving, I was concerned about the tropical low forming off the coast of South Carolina. But it didn’t have any effect on our plans.

The politicians managed to keep the status quo, for the most part, and there weren’t any so-called uprisings in the nations surrounding the Baltic Sea. 

The Finnish navy was investigating an underwater object, but it didn’t turn into an issue that would cause any problems.

Wife Linda on her way through the Paris airport

When booking our flights, we indicated that my wife would need assistance at each airport because she can’t walk long distances. 

I can’t believe how well prepared airports are for assisting the handicapped. Connections, although one was pretty close, were made conveniently with representatives meeting us at the plane and ferrying us to the next location.  I appreciated that.

Quaint cobblestone streets sound inviting. They aren’t for the handicapped or those assisting them. The going was also rough when one was pushing someone in a transporter over these “cute” roadways.

The 9-day cruise, and touring of the different cities was a challenge. But it was something we wanted to do and felt like we were up to the challenge although we were “challenged out” after two days on the go in a busy St. Petersburg tour.

Nine nights on the boat and six countries. It all seems a blur now. But a blur that was well worth the effort.

Next post: June 9, 2015

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