I watched a series of videos on YouTube, posted by a guy named Robert Morales. His channel is called “Traveling Robert”.
He and his wife travel all over the country, towing their small camper trailer. He covered a lot of areas that I would love to visit myself, and probably never will. He also visited places that I would never have dreamed were as beautiful as they are and, in some cases, magnificent.
If I was a few years younger (well, maybe 20) I’d probably give it a try myself, but I don’t know if Sharon would be as enthusiastic as I am.
Our overseas trips have been with tour operators (with the exception of our very first overseas trip to Britain with our daughter Carrie and her husband David, which I wrote about in my column a few weeks).
We found wonderful travel partners in Sharon’s cousin, Lynn Brown, and her husband Mike. We did three European getaways with them.
An epic adventure, was a month-long odyssey, starting with a week-long bus tour from northern Munich, Germany to Kiel, Germany, where we boarded a cruise ship and we are headed to New York, with a few stops in between.
We found the package land tours to be comfortable and easy. The tour guides we had were all knowledgeable and friendly.
It’s a simple process, your guide takes care of all the reservations at the various hotels, collects the room keys and distributes them to the tour members. Your luggage is taken care of by the tour director and the bus driver. You go up to your room, and a few minutes later, your suitcases are delivered.
On the day of departure, you deposit your luggage in the hall in front of your room, and the reverse is done. It repeats every day of your visit.
Mike, Lynn and Sharon and I had all been to Germany on previous trips, but we traveled to areas we hadn’t visited so it was still fun. Once on the boat, we could choose to take pre-arranged tours or, as we did, hire a taxi (with an English-speaking driver), paying him to show us the sights. It’s a much more informative way to see the sights and cheaper than tours.
Our first cruise stop after leaving Kiel in the afternoon was the next morning in Copenhagen, Denmark. We hired our taxi and saw the sights.
You’ve probably heard of the Little Mermaid sculpture located in the harbour. I imagined a work of fairly good size, in the bay. Well, it’s “Little” and a few meters from the shore. Anyway, the tour we had was fun and when we were ready to return to the ship, all we had to do was let the driver know. Easy.
Next on the agenda was the city of Zeebrugge, Belgium. Another cute little town, the most memorable thing I remember was a little catholic church. It was absolutely beautiful.
The next morning we found our ship in the port of Southampton, England, the same place from which the ill-fated Titanic had set out on its maiden voyage.
We found a very friendly taxi driver when we got ashore and asked if he would be interested in taking the four of us for a tour of the sights. We saw a section of an ancient city wall that had been erected in the 1400s, the oldest lawn bowling green in England, some 500 years old, and lots of other interesting things.
Vigo, Spain was our next port and it was a beautiful city, with a suspension bridge that looked amazingly like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Once again we found a friendly driver, who seemed to be better as a tour guide than a driver – but we survived.
The next stopover was the one we were looking forward to – Lisbon, Portugal – and we signed up for a package tour. Our visit took us to Fatima, the village where the three young people saw the Blessed Virgin Mary. Sharon was disappointed that the site had obviously changed over the past 100 years. It is now a huge shrine surrounded by gift shops. Inspiring, but too busy.
So back to the boat for a nice dinner and waiting for the next morning and our next stop (the one I was really looking forward to) the Azores. The port was Punta Del Gada. Here we took another tour package. It was worth it.
We spent five days at sea, blessed with glorious weather and smooth sailing, made a brief stopover in Bermuda and the next day docked next to the WWII aircraft carrier Intrepid.
We were ready to go home. One night in Newark, New Jersey, and I was definitely ready to see the Front Range, Denver International Airport, and good old Loveland.
After everything we saw on the trip, we both decided that Loveland was the best of them all.