An enticing brochure arrived in the mail.
It offered a cruise to far off lands and distant ports-of-call. A cruise on the Baltic Sea. Seven countries in 10 days on the luxurious "Love Boat," the Crown Princess. Perfect!
The trip organizer was my lovely and gracious neighbor, Rhoda Garfinkel. Her tours were renowned for their elegance and precision. Her husband and able assistant Seymour was an added bonus.
It was for a worthy charitable cause, The Jeri Feinsilver Cancer Foundation. It also featured seven places to which I have never traveled. Included were two days in St. Petersburg, Russia, a destination I have always secretly yearned to visit.
Without even consulting my beautiful and working wife Lorraine, I said, "Yes, Yes, Yes."
The ports-of-call included:
1. Copenhagen, Denmark, City of Hans Christian Andersen or Danny Kaye, whichever came first.
2. Stockholm, Sweden, noted for smorgasbord and the Nobel Prize.
3. Helsinki, Finland where they make all those cell phones you see in use all over Nassau County.
4. St. Petersburg, Russia, home of the Czars, the Hermitage Museum and a center of Russian culture.
5. Tallinn, Estonia was an enigma. It later proved to be one of the most fascinating stops on the cruise.
6. Gdansk, Poland was called Danzig when I was studying geography in public school.
It was also the home of Lech Walensa and the Polish Solidarity movement, that helped bring down Russian Communist domination and eventually freed all of Eastern Europe.
7. Warnemunde, Germany which featured a Becks Beer factory and a railhead that connected to Berlin in two and half hours.
Blocking off 10 days on the calendar proved to be gut-wrenching and disappointing. At least five events that Lorraine and I both enjoyed would have to be bypassed because of the conflict of times.
Decisions! Decisions! Decisions!
Well, you can't make an omelet without cracking an egg and sometimes you have to bite the bullet (two obvious cliches, but true).
Pay the deposit and then welcome the daydreams and fantasies of far off countries and new and glorious adventures.
To be continued...