As we pulled into the port at Ft. Lauderdale, the sun was rising over the horizon just beyond a Holland America ship, the Zuiderdam. We watched as several other cruise ships made their way into port. There was a Princess, a Carnival and two more Royal Caribbean ships. All cruise lines we have traveled on at one time or another; each one bringing back wonderful memories.
After a very long and tedious effort to disembark the ship and exit the terminal, we boarded our bus for the trip home. It was 9pm before we made it back to the McDonald’s parking lot in Summerfield. Although tired, Randy and I were so happy to see the faces of our friends Bob and Sandy.
These lovely people had come to pick us up and bring us home. They had also prepared a dinner and breakfast for our return and left it in our refrigerator. We were just too weary to eat and just dropped our luggage, changed into our pajamas and dropped into bed.
We slept for what seemed a lifetime. Eventually, we got back into the swing of being home preparing for the holidays, socializing with friends and making contact with our new friends from the ship.
I ran into Dory one day at the doctor’s office and was pleased to learn that she had finally received her lost luggage and all was good. We chatted a bit about getting together in the New Year for lunch.
We made contact with Doug and Sue and arranged to get together over dinner. As soon as the door opened Sue said out loud what I was thinking since leaving the ship, “I missed you”. A week later we had a delicious dinner at their home and Jim and JoAnne were there too. Life is so very good.
Not everyone lives close by so Facebook has become a link for Sue, Barbara, Rachel and I to keep in touch.
Barbara is busy working on her mystery novel. Rachel and Paul have winged their way south for the winter and are enjoying the warmer weather. Doug and Sue are spending the holidays with family and friends up north before sailing away again on yet another cruise adventure.
We spent our holidays in Virginia visiting our children, grandchildren and friends. We were very excited to see granddaughter Madalyn in a wonderful production of A Christmas Carol.
There was lots of Christmas shopping just days before the big day. Then we enjoyed watching Madalyn, Derek, Kevin, Jennifer, Kristine and Elle opening presents on Christmas day.
We were also able to spend a wonderful evening with special friends that, unfortunately, we only get to see once in a while. We had a great time breaking bread together, catching up and having fun playing a gift exchange game.
Before leaving Virginia, Kristine finally put all the magnets we collected while on our wonderful trip on her refrigerator. Now, not all of these are from this trip, there are some from various trips we have made over the years as well as others friends have given her over time. I think the refrigerator looks really cool.
Between spending long hours in the car and hotels, Randy and I found ourselves reminiscing about our tour through Europe.
I started the conversation asking Randy, “What were some of the places or events you enjoyed the most about our trip?”
“I loved Seefeld, Austria, The Castles in Germany, going up in the Eiffel Tower in Paris, seeing London and, I really enjoyed going back to Naples to revisit the places I remember from my childhood,” he answered.
“My favorite event of the trip was attending Oktoberfest in Munich,” he continued.
When Randy asked me the same question I did not have to think before telling Randy all the places that we visited that were my favorites and those that I would like to return to someday.
“To tell the truth,” I said, “I loved everywhere we visited and everything we did”. “I loved Seefeld and would like to return and stay awhile,” I said enthusiastically.
“Without a doubt though Oktoberfest was one of the most exhilarating events I have ever had and would love to attend another sometime in the future”.
I explained to Randy that I would love to return to the medieval city of Rothenberg and spend a whole day exploring this beautiful medieval city.
“I want to return to Florence and visit all the museums, churches and stand on the Ponte Vecchio once again.
I loved going up into the Eiffel Tower but I would like to visit Normandy if we return to France. I loved the beautiful city of Florence, our first day in Montecatini, visiting the Eiffel Tower and the wonderful restaurants in Paris, and I loved the hotel in England,” I said to Randy.
I went on to say, “But one of my very favorite evens of the trip was getting to visit with my nephew Steve, his partner Dave and their dog Olga”.
Since returning home I have been asked by the German-American Friends club here in our community to prepare a video presentation and talk about out visit to Cologne, Rothenberg and Munich. I am so excited. I will begin work on this project at the beginning of the new year.
Today is the last day of 2014. What a year it has been! And, next year promises to be just as exciting as our first grandchild will be graduating from high school, we have already booked two cruises and, we are working on a third.
One of our cruises will take us to Ireland, France, Belgium, England, Denmark, Estonia, St. Petersburg, Finland and Sweden. I am so excited.
Until then, I will be back in the kitchen whipping up some delicious dishes to share with everyone.
I would like to thank all my loyal followers and new followers for not only stopping by but also for leaving encouraging words; they are greatly appreciated.
I want to wish everyone a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!