My apologies for not attending to my blog last year. I know some of you count on me for your vicarious travel thrills and I let you down. I recently started this year’s three month adventure and I haven’t written about last year yet! Here’s the recap: I made four big, semi-exotic trips last year and several other fun, less ambitious ones.
May 2016 saw me on an eight-day river and camping trip through the spectacular Grand Canyon. I am indebted to my niece, Denise, who was the initiator of the trip. Joining us were my children, Dane and Bryn, sister Barb, brother Mike and his wife Linda, my partner John and Denise’s friend Jan. Two boats travelled together down the Colorado River, with a total of 28 passengers and three boatmen. We camped along the way, traveling 270 miles, and enjoyed every minute. It was my first experience of sleeping outside without a tent and the star-filled sky was so incredible, I found it hard to close my eyes at night and sleep.
In June my man-friend John and I returned to my beloved Svanholm for two months of life in the country.
In addition to the refreshing and life-affirming time with my Danish friends and colleagues, we took a one week holiday to Lithuania, visiting both the capital Vilnius, where John has friends who studied in Norway with him the summer of 2015, and the tiny coastal resort town of NIda, where the German author Thomas Mann built a summer house.
Shortly after we returned to Minnesota in August, we boarded the Empire Builder train in Saint Paul, bound for Seattle. We stopped for two nights and beautiful hikes in Glacier National Park on our way west and then hopped on board the m.s.Maasdam for a two week cruise to Alaska with Garrison Keillor and a ship full of musicians. Talk about sensory overload! Days in port were filled with hiking, kayaking, and exploring nature. Evenings and days at sea were a challenge with amazing musicians performing on multiple stages…not to mention naturalists on deck spotting whales, seals, otters, etc. and dance instructors offering fun lessons. What is a person to do? Stay up late, get up early and be exhausted trying to take it all in, that’s what. I loved it.
In November, after celebrating Thanksgiving in southern California with my kids at my late husband Mark’s step-sister Jan’s home, Bryn and I flew to Havana for a week, via Mexico City so that I could visit my dear friend Martha on our return trip. Our timing was unique, arriving the day that Fidel died and the country’s mourning for their leader seemed very sincere. We were charmed by the retro cars and the active street life. In Mexico City I stupidly left my backpack in our Uber car, losing both passports and my tablet. Many hours at the American Embassy the following day earned me an emergency passport and we made our plane home without a hitch.
Other travels took me to California to visit my kids, Michigan to visit my sister, Arizona to visit my brother John and his wife Judy, Ohio to celebrate my brother Mike’s 50th wedding anniversary with Linda, Missouri to visit old high school chums, and Door County, Wisconsin to open and close up my partner John’s family cottages.
It was a busy year…now maybe you will forgive me for not writing sooner.