Baby Girl left on Friday and although we’ve had a tearful weekend, we’re doing okay.  It helps that her CASA worker reached out to me and said he would keep me updated on how she is doing.  I’m sure she’s fine and I want her to be doing well, although there is that tiny piece that hopes she misses us so terribly that she’s making everyone’s life miserable and they want to send her back.  That’s the selfish part of me.

But this post isn’t going to be all about Baby Girl or even about foster care.  This post is going to be about another love of mine . . . . .



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We really do enjoy traveling, although foster care is making travel a bit challenging.

Our main travel the last few years has consisted of cruises and travel between Texas and Illinois.  The girls and I hit the road a few years ago and went to California, but that’s pretty much it.

Between hubby and I, we’ve seen almost all 50 states.  While in the Army, hubby spent two years in Germany, but didn’t take the opportunity to see other parts of Europe.  Other than Guatemala, Ethiopia and cruise ports, I’ve never visited many places outside of the U.S. and think I would very much enjoy seeing Europe.  I think the girls would enjoy it as well, plus, what a great opportunity for some road schooling.

We currently have a deposit down on a cruise for next year, but are discussing the possibility of canceling the cruise and planning a European vacation.

At one time, we had a European cruise scheduled, but we switched that to a Caribbean cruise because hubby really doesn’t want to waste time on a ship when we could be traveling around Europe.

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Tonight, he asked me where in Europe I would like to go and I didn’t have an answer for him.  There are so many choices!!!!!

Do we visit Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Great Britain, Italy, France, Ireland, Austria, Belgium, Spain . . . . the list goes on.

It’s not like we’ll be able to spend a month traveling around Europe, although that would be awesome.  Financially, we just can’t do that, so if we can make it happen, we’ll likely only have 2 weeks.

So here is my question to you.

If you had two weeks to travel around Europe, which countries would you visit and why?




Next Cruise

Every morning, we would head out to breakfast at the Windjammer and on our first sea day, the girls were anxious to go to Adventure Ocean.  So after breakfast we headed to Deck 12 and dropped them off for a morning of kid-filled fun and activities.

Hubby and I headed down to the pool deck, sat at a table, and got something to drink.  We sat there talking and enjoying the ocean view.  Our conversation centered on future travel plans and hubby asked me when we were going to go schedule our next cruise.  I don’t know for sure if it was the look on my face as I sat there in pure enjoyment as I sipped my drink while gazing out over the ocean or if in that moment he was caught up in the enjoyment of being on a cruise once again.  However, his question was unexpected as I thought we had made the decision to take a trip to Europe and that he was not interested in a European cruise.  None-the-less, I was very excited at the thought of having another cruise on our agenda for the future and quickly finished my drink so we could head down to the Next Cruise office.

Upon arrival, we discovered that many others were anxious to schedule their next cruise.  All the cruise agents were with customers and there were others waiting, so grabbed several cruise flyers and headed next door to Café Promenade to look them over while we waited.

A short time later a couple came in and sat across from us.  They saw the stack of flyers and asked which cruise we were scheduling.  I told them I was interested in a cruise to the Southern Caribbean out of Puerto Rico, but was also interested in taking a European cruise and then spending another week in Europe after the cruise.  With confidence, they told me we should go on the European cruise.

As the conversation continued, we found out that this couple was celebrating their 66th Wedding anniversary.  They started cruising in 1999 and have gone on over 100 cruises, all but a handful had been on Royal Caribbean and they were part of the Royal Crown and Anchor Society’s Pinnacle club.  They knew a thing or two about cruising and we were more than willing to listen to their expert advice.

They also told us about their two sons and grandchildren.  They talked about their pre-retirement life and about some of the cruises they’ve taken.  The conversation was maybe 15 or 20 minutes, but it was a precious few minutes that we will always remember.

We headed back to the Next Cruise office, waited a few more minutes and sat down to book our next cruise.  We discussed option and when we left the office, we had booked our cruise to . . . . . . . .


It is scheduled for this fall, but once Royal Caribbean releases their 2018 European cruise dates, we’ll be pushing it out into 2018.

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Hubby and I had a short discussion about seeing castles in Europe.  I jokingly said we should go on a castle tour of Europe.  He didn’t agree.

He did suggest we see the Neuschwanstein Castle (or is it Castle Neuschwanstein) in Germany though.

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And of all the places we’ve talked about visiting in Europe, here are some of the possible castles we could see.


Castle of Coco in Spain

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Brodick Castle in Scotland


Eltz Castle in Germany

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Mont Saint-Michel in France

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Castle Frankenstein in Germany

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Chateau de Versailles in France

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Prague Castle in the Czech Republic

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Like I said, I was just joking when I told hubby we should go on a castle tour in Europe.  Although, maybe seeing a few of these wouldn’t be so bad!



Traveling Europe

We’re 6 days away from our next cruise while hubby and I discuss a possible trip to Europe.

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Hubby lived in Germany, but that was 32 years ago and as he tells me now, he really didn’t care about travel when he was there.  He regrets that a bit now and as we discuss what countries we would like to visit, we realize our dreams of seeing Europe will require many weeks of travel.  We’ll likely only have a couple of weeks at a time, so we are beginning to do a little planning around which countries we want to see first.  We are making decisions on what we want to see in each country and deciding the best order in which to see each country.  We’re also checking into the best form(s) of transportation to get from country to country.

Hubby and I are in agreement on several countries . . . .

– Ireland

– Scotland

– Sweden

– Denmark

– Germany

– The Netherlands

– Switzerland

– France

Hubby is also interested in seeing Italy, where I’m interested in seeing the Czech Republic, Norway, and Spain.

At least we have a start and can begin planning our Great European Get Away (GEGA).

We’re also hoping to make a trip up to Toronto, Ontario sometime in the next year.

Great adventures await!

If you have traveled to Europe, which countries are your favorite?

Are there any others you recommend we consider?  If so, why?





Cruising or Something Else?

Hubby, the girls and I will leave soon on our cruise.  This will be the 4th for hubby and me, but the 3rd for the girls.

I truly love cruising.  I love how relaxed I feel.  Each of our cruises has taken us to new destinations and I love going to new places.  Each cruise we’ve been on a different ship, even a different size ship.  Our next cruise will be no different.  We’ll be visiting two new places on a different size ship and I can’t wait.

As much as I love cruising though, hubby and I have been discussing future trips.  Do we take another cruise?  Do we visit Europe?  Do we visit Canada?

We’ve seen most of the U.S.

We’ve visited several different countries in the Caribbean.

We’ve visited Ethiopia in Africa.

When hubby was in the Army, he spent two years in Germany and I believe he visited Austria, but that’s pretty much it.

He’s been to Canada on business.  Toronto to be exact and I think he visited another time as a child.

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I’ve never been to Canada.

I’ve never been to Europe.

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Until fairly recently, neither were on my bucket list of places to travel.  As I’ve learned more about these countries though, they have not only made the bucket list, but have quickly moved to the top.

It doesn’t seem like this is a decision that needs to be made in the near future.  After all, we are leaving on a cruise soon.  However, if you’ve never cruised, you may not be aware that the cruise lines often offer some good deals to those who book their next cruise, while on their current cruise.  I am in favor of taking advantage of a good offer.

Hubby has pretty much nixed the idea of a European cruise and after some discussion, I think I agree with him.  It is a long way to fly just to go on a cruise.  Our time would probably be better spent traveling around Europe and seeing as much as we can.

But what about a cruise to from the U.S. up to Nova Scotia?  Get off the ship, stay in Canada for a few days and then fly home?  Cruising and a trip to Canada all in one?


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