I couldn’t be more excited that my husband and I just booked a Mayflower trip. Of the choices - cruising, exploring national parks, and rail experiences, we were most excited about river cruising. Choosing between cruises was as tough as choosing the style, but I loved the time I spent researching. Did we want to see charming castles and vineyards, or explore the treasures of Tuscany and the Italian Riviera, or should we choose “Tulip Time on Jewels of the Rhine?” Since the Rhine trip includes castles, wine tasting, and viewing acres of red, purple, yellow and orange tulips, it won out.
This senior citizen has a new bounce in her step. In two time, I get to achieve a lifelong dream and join my fellow travelers for a European cruise. I can already feel the gentle breeze while on board a small ship where I’ll delight in the sights.
Since our river cruise includes the possibility of borrowing bikes and peddling around the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Switzerland—something I’ve always dreamed of doing – I need to get in shape. I dust off my bicycle seat. Soon, I’m pedaling down my familiar local bike paths. I can hardly believe that in eight weeks I’ll be biking past Dutch windmills, canals, and colorful tulips. Maybe I’ll also get to bike through charming cities in Germany, France, and Switzerland, stopping to visit with the locals and soak in the picturesque countryside.
I pedal home and head to the grocery store. I pick up a celebratory bottle of French Pinot Noir and a variety of foods representing Germany, France, and the Netherlands. While I boil potatoes for my grandmother’s German potato salad, my husband prepares a charcuterie board with Gouda cheese and herring in honor of the Dutch. We nibble and I move on, eagerly preparing the dessert. Thinking of how much I loved my French classes in high school and college, I find a ,“Learn French by songs,” and immerse myself in the language of romance. I finish the potato salad, pausing a few times to dance along with the lyrics. Once I finish reviewing my French, maybe I could try to learn a few Dutch, German, and Swiss phrases.
I pour a glass and refresh my wine tasting skills. I take a small sip and swirl the wine in my mouth. Similar to my anticipation for this trip, I take the time to fully absorb the flavor with my taste buds. I hold the wine for several seconds, then swallow, savoring the experience. While my husband grills the bratwursts, I melt chocolate for the Swiss Pears dessert. I arrange canned pears in a fancy dish, and then top it off with whipped cream and drizzled chocolate. Voila!
We raise our glasses and make a toast to our upcoming trip. We’re finishing our Swiss pears when our son calls. “You must be excited about your trip,” he says. “When is it again?” I close my eyes and happily sigh. I’m already there.
About the Author: Amy Laundrie is an author, blogger and avid traveler on several Mayflower trips.www.laundrie.com