And we’re off!

And we’re off!

It seems strange, really, to start a three-week vacaton from the back parking lot of Cozy Diner, but that’s just what I did yesterday because that’s where the shuttle to Sacramento Airport does its pickups in our community. Mark and I kissed and said our goodbyes (for almost three weeks!) in sight of diners pouring maple syrup over their pancakes. How romantic, huh?
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Where we’re headed–and planned port activities

Where we’re headed–and planned port activities

Mom told me she had always wanted to see fjords. She’d heard about fjords in Norway, in Alaska and along the South American coast. She was kinda partial to Norway.

The “Viking Homelands” itinerary was a Goldilocks discovery: “just right” in so many ways. Not only do we get to sample a bit of the fjords on the western coast of Norway, but several Baltic ports are bundled in, too.

I have to be honest with you: I had to go look up the Baltic region on a map and really study it when an opening on this itinerary came available. I knew it was a big area and it was up north, but when I heard “Baltic” my brain short-circuited to the purple-banded Monopoly property (you know, with Mediterranean as its fellow purple-banded brother; and I was pretty positive we weren’t going anywhere near the Mediterranean).

I’m all packed–but I have a question…

Last year I was pleased as punch to finish packing for my river cruise and weigh my single bag (a 25-inch Eagle Creek Tarmac that’s about eight years old) and discover I was at 28 pounds total, bag included.

My goal this year was the same–but I didn’t make it. Everything’s still fitting in the same bag but because this is an ocean cruise on a big boat, not a river cruise on a little boat, my packing mantra changed a little bit. Of course, as I write this, I’m sitting in Sacramento Airport, waiting for the flight to take me down south where I’ll meet Mom. That means we don’t have our “leaving for Europe” flight until tomorrow so I have time to reconsider my “heftier” packing this year and leave some stuff at Mom’s place…but I’m still debating what to remove…
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We got lucky!


lucky
 The Viking Star is a new ship. As in, I’m guessing we’ll be only the third or fourth set of passengers to ever enjoy the waves in our reserved cabin (fifth floor, starboard side, Deluxe Veranda 3 classification, to be precise). That’s pretty special—but if Mom and I hadn’t been so lucky, we’d have been booking our trip for 2016 instead of embarking in Stockholm on May 30 of this year.

We’d heard about the Star on our Viking River Cruise last year. We’d seen glossy marketing photos and artist’s renditions of how this classy Scandinavian-pedigree ship was to look. But we also heard that the cruises were completely booked for the first year.

Mom laughed that, at her age, she wasn’t planning on even buying green bananas; booking a cruise two years’ away didn’t seem too smart. So we browsed through the brochures and figured we’d give a pass to the Viking Star.

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