Since I can’t get the blog to post with pictures, I thought I’d write an overview of how we got here.
Last January, when we kept the kids out of school for a week to go on a Disney vacation with the New Zealand more than half of the family, it was wonderful and brought all 12 of us together in a joyful celebration that broke the sadness following Ned’s mom’s memorial service. But when we got home, Harper and Penn were so stressed about what they missed in their classes that we resolved not to take any trips that didn’t align with breaks.
This August, when we made our annual trip to visit friends in Pennsylvania, we started talking about dream vacations. I mentioned that a Viking River Cruise seemed like it would be fun; then, later that morning, I opened the NYT to see that VRC was having a 2 for 1 sale. Being me, I immediately (and surreptitiously) searched out dates online. Bingo, there was a Danube trip that overlapped with the kids’ December break–and it would take us to Germany, where we had already talked about visiting because Ned took German and Penn was taking German. By the time we were halfway back to Rochester, I had a grudging, tentative maybe from Ned and two quotes on the cruise.
I agreed to forgo any February and April 2016 break trips plus Christmas and Birthday gifts if we took this trip.
Ned was in! Really in … like “Hey, since we’re flying across the world anyway, let’s add on a few days in Prague but plan this ourselves rather than use VCR to save money” in. Love him!
Five days before leaving, what I thought was a painful ankle turned out to be a stress fracture … as in, “Hey, when you go to the ER straight from the airport after business meetings, you get the wrong mix of painkillers in the truly awful ER so that you simultaneously vomit and pass out and then vomit again in the hospital parking lot but still have to go to work the next morning yet manage to get in to see your truly wonderful doctor who gets you a pneumatic boot, makes you swear to take only Aleve and Tylenol, and wishes you a happy vacation” stress fracture.
We’re here: having a truly magnificent time seeing gorgeous sites, learning lots, eating tons of food, and spending a ton of time with each other being a family away from screens and calls and emails and texts. Oh, and I’m barely limping 🙂
The first time Ned and I went to overseas, we were grad students who went to England after a spate of airplane bombings and IRA bombings in London, so fares were dirt cheap because no one was flying, especially not to England. We stayed in B&B’s where we had to put money in boxes to pay for electricity and hot water in the shared hallway bathrooms. We ate our way across the country on buy-one/get-one coupons from Pizzaland to save money, and I once jumped off of a moving train that was headed in the wrong direction rather than pay a second fare. How we got here, sailing down the Danube after a glorious Christmas in Prague, I’ll never know, but I thank my stars every day for my life, husband, and children.