On March 7th, 2017, we booked our cross-Atlantic cruise to Barcelona Spain. This past year has gone fast, and here we are with just 5 days before we fly to Puerto Rico to begin this journey.
We have talked about returning to walk the Camino since 2013. We even had tickets booked for 2014. Unfortunately, I blew out an ankle and the surgery with lengthy recovery nixed those plans.
We never doubted that we would return, it was the when and the how that were left to be decided. Over the course of 2015 and 2016 this became a frequent topic of conversation and plans began to take shape. The idea of crossing to Europe by water fascinated us. Research into “repositioning cruises” followed. There were a number of cruise lines offering the trip, but Viking became a clear choice even though they were not “cheapest”. We were attracted by the smaller ship, adult focused amenities, and the all inclusive character of the pricing. We hate being “nickeled and dimed”.
Once the cruise was secured we then began the process of constructing the journey. A flight was confirmed to Puerto Rico where we would spend 3 nights before boarding the ship.
We booked 60 day unlimited Rail-Europe passes, and secured accommodations for Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon, and Porto Portugal. Flight arrangements were made to return us to Kansas City from Oslo Norway with a one week layover and rental car in Iceland. This began to look, metaphorically speaking, like a sandwich. The bun and condiments were in place, we just had not selected the meats and cheeses! In other words, once we completed the walk to Santiago the itinerary was to be determined.
Contacts by us and to us with overseas friends have further fleshed out the plan, yet much remains “open”. We know that we will head to Ireland from Spain to meet dear friends who are from Wales. We estimate spending up to 2 weeks in Ireland. From there we feel certain to ferry to Scotland where we will spend an estimated 2 weeks before heading to Amsterdam. We plan on visiting Netherlands “Camino friends” and then a young lady in Brussels Belgium. Germany, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland are all in the “mix” with definite plans to visit former exchange students in Berlin and Bratislava. Our final Europe leg will take us to the home of a former exchange student near Oslo Norway. From there Iceland Air will carry us to it’s capitol of Reykjavik. We have reserved a rental car for our week wandering the countryside… and then back to Kansas City.
This last weekend has seen an increase in my anxiety level. I have loaded, weighed, unloaded, re-loaded and re-weighed my pack at least 4 times. It looks like I have made it to 18 pounds. We have secured currency in Euros and Pounds. I have made pdf images of all our important documents, “just in case”, and arranged for auto-pay on as many bills as possible. There is more preparation stuff that I have done, but it is pretty certain that I have forgotten something.
Enough for now, I need to figure out what is left to do this week!!
Peace Everyone. Pete