I love to travel. Anyone who has been with me over these last few months probably got that idea. Paul and I have been fortunate enough (worked hard enough) to be able to take some pretty nice vacations. Most of our trips are not about relaxing, however. We're not big beach people. I'm a redhead who gets a sunburn from the bathroom light while putting on my mascara. Paul likes to be moving so sitting on a beach only holds his interest for a short time. We're not big on cruises either for the same reason, we like to move. We prefer to fly somewhere and then drive and explore.
Until 2001 most of our travels were in the States, the lower 48 specifically. We still haven't been to Hawaii (it's on the list) but we did visit Alaska in 2001. I won a trip for two to Russia and converted it to Alaska. (They are close) Seriously, I won it. I'd never won anything of any value before in my life. It was the grand prize at the 2000 RI Realtors Statewide Convention. I had no interest in seeing Russia at that time. Paul would have gone but I won it and we weren't going there. The prize had a cash value which we used towards two weeks in Alaska. We did a week on land and then a cruise. A wonderful trip that I would recommend to anyone.
The week after winning the trip to Russia, I won a trip for two to Los Angeles. Again, seriously, I won it. It was a reception for the grand opening of a new Marriott Hotel in Providence. One of those deals where you drop your business card in a bowl. I was at the reception as my friend Gisele's guest. When we dropped our cards into the bowl we made a pact..."if you win, you have to take me," never expecting either would win. The trip included airfare and 3 nights in a fancy Marriott in LA. It was some famous location where they'd filmed some movies. I forget the name. Gisele and I extended the stay to a week and had a great time. What a fun week that was!
The only vacations Paul and I have ever taken where we spent most of the time on a beach were in Mexico. I lost my father in November 2001 and Paul's dad passed away in January 2002. So those few months were particularly difficult. In late winter I called our travel agent and said you have to find us a place to go to relax. She asked if we wanted an all-inclusive resort. I didn't care. My exact words to her were: I want a hotel with a pool AND a beach. I want to be able to walk to the beach from my room. I don't want to have to take a bus, a taxi, a donkey, nothing. I want to be able to walk back to my room from the beach if I want to use my own bathroom. And the only decision I want to make is whether I want red wine or white with my lunch. And, oh yeah, make sure the bars have top-shelf liquor. I don't want Jose's Vodka. Bless her heart, Donna sent us to the Rui Palace in Playa del Carmen where they actually have palm trees for the pale face right on the edge of the beach! We went back four winters in a row, we loved it so much.
So where are we going next? We are taking a cruise on the Danube River from Hungary through Austria to Germany. I have always wanted to do this. It's a much smaller ship than ocean ships, of course, with only 150 passengers. They stop in cities and towns along the way and you are able to just walk off the ship. We are going on Viking River Cruises.
They kept sending me brochures with what looked like great prices so I booked one. Without really discussing it with Paul, by the way. We are going next July to celebrate his birthday. It's sort of a birthday present so I didn't have to ask him, right? Actually we tried to talk about it but everything was so crazy busy and the deadline to take advantage of these prices was looming and there was no time, so I just did it! It's a long way off but it's always fun to have something to look forward to. In the meantime, I'll be getting together information about things to do and see.
I would rather take a trip than.....just about anything!