Cruising down rivers and canals from Amsterdam to Budapest had its lovely moments, but the experience paled in comparison to our visit to South Africa and to my own time in Liberia in February. Not that I’m ungrateful for a season so rich in travel opportunities, but I do understand why “Another Bloody Castle” is how many sum up travel to a string of cities in Europe. Among low points: cold rainy weather and head colds when the weather improved, stretches of time on buses instead of on the ship because of water levels and ship damage, too much dependence on buses where we thought we’d be free to come and go on foot. Of course these complaints were put in perspective the night we docked unexpectedly so that a sick passenger could be taken to hospital, along with his wife. They were still in Turin, I believe, when we boarded our plane home on Monday.
We bring home good memories, too, though. Meals and conversations enjoyed with a number of Australians on board. Our initial delight at the narrow cobblestone streets lined with old houses. How luxuriously relaxed it was to float along with scenery showing increasing signs of spring passing by. The loveliness of the Rhine Valley vineyards (and yes, castles!) A concert in Vienna. The sight of Budapest at night.
But it’s good to be home – despite the snow and the wind – reconnecting with family and friends, our neighbourhood and our work.