Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic

 Yesterday we would have been

on the Danube River

Today,  traveling the Glass Road 

 through Bavaria

Tomorrow, exploring Prague

Way back in January we signed up to go on this tour, organized by a Unitarian Universalist friend, a retired college professor, who leads a group every year. Tom's last trip to Europe, specifically Germany,  was with the US Army,  years ago and I spent a study summer in Europe my Senior year in college more than 50 years ago.  Neither of us has been off the North American continent since, even on a cruise. We were excited, Tom less so because he thinks of a cookie cutter tourist-y trip as a trendy extravagance. 

But he said yes, to please me, and we paid for the trip a little along till we had the whole thing paid for. It was truly inexpensive for that kind of trip, because Don takes no commission. Everybody just pools their money and he gets the best deals for everything--and after all these many years, he knows where they are.

So we got 449 emails from him. He updated the itinerary.  He sent us the menu for our Mozart Concert Dinner.  He presented us the option and we voted yes to adding a visit to Dachau to the original list of sites. We received travel tips on what to wear, what to carry, how to pack, what and where to eat. We were educated about the currency, cell phones, rest rooms, shopping, electric converters and walking shoes.

Then Tom's gout/stress fracture happened.(See posts about Differential Diagnosis) That was at the end of June and we had till mid September to deal with it--13 weeks--so we weren't worried.  The foot would be well long before September 16th--our departure date.  July came. July went.  We attended the trip party and met our fellow travelers. The foot continued to swell and hurt. We purchased and began to read Rick Steve's travel guide to Europe. Things grew more peculiar as the foot stubbornly refused to get better. August came.  We bought our euros, after much consultation concerning how many we might need. Then, on our fourth visit to the orthopedist, exactly three  weeks before our plane was to leave for Munich,  Dr. B. found the second fracture!  And so our trip preparations came to an end.  Top priority was to find out why two fractures and to get the foot well.  Tom could not look forward to spending half the trip in a hotel room 

while we hiked to Hitler's Eagles Nest 

or walked through the Salt Mines, places where he would be unable to go.

We did recover some of our costs.  On September 2nd, 14 days before the plane flew, we found a good friend who was willing to buy the trip and some of our euros. We gave him a good deal and he found a friend to go with him.  She applied for a  passport renewal and received it 4 days before the departure date. We lost the cost of the plane tickets to Munich (unless we want to go sometime this next year.) and they had to fly out a day early because so many flights were full by September 9th, the day they booked, it was the only one available. But they made it and promised to return with many pictures, as did the rest of our fellow travelers. 

The group returns at the end of this week. I hope they bring me awesome I-feel-sorry-for-you presents.  They all said they would, but I don't know how long before thoughts of those they left behind were crowded out by the new experiences they have been encountering. 

Neal, Pat, Don, Carol, Jerry, Annie, David, John, do you hear me?


  1. I am really sorry, guys. It would have been cool. The sites, the food, the group bonding... You'll never get that back. But you are still going to Munich next year, right? I mean you can't give up the cost of those tickets. Right? And if that doesn't work out, there are still plenty of these old US states you haven't been to.

    Still, that's got to be tough. I-Feel-Sorry-For-You.

    I hope that foot is feeling better.

  2. Thanks Tim. My foot is doing much better now without the added pressure of getting it well enough to go on the touristy European odyssey. Anyway, we might use the tickets to go to Hawaii, the only state I haven't seen in person yet. When I was a kid we went out to Kansas and worked on the wheat harvest on up to Canada and then drove back down to old Mexico to check out the senoritas. I've done political organizing in most of the states and been to Canada several times to trial lawyer conferences and the wedding of a friend in Vancouver. We also drove up the ALCAN highway to Alaska one summer when I was in college to do construction work.

  3. I was born in Cologne [Koln] Germany.
    Last time I went back was to bury my mother in 1980.
    Unfortunately my son-in-law is in the Air Force.
    He and my daughter are stationed at Aviano Air Base in Italy.
    They hate it.
    They just got back from Oktoberfest in Munich.
    They loved it and Germany.

    There is always PBS and their European travel shows on Sunday nights. :-)
    I doubt I will ever be able to afford to go back.
    If my son-in-law goes to Germany after Italy then there is a chance.
    But I would rather that they come back home to me and my wife in boring Arizona. lol


    You'll always have Paris. :-)

  5. I do hope your foot is doing better, Tom. And I'm rooting for you and Judy to get to Hawaii!

  6. So sorry you missed out on the trip. I studied commercial arbitration at Johannes Kepler Universitat (Linz, Austria) in 2006 and was fortunate to get to visit Prague and Budapest during that time. My Army daughter was stationed in Illesheim, Bavaria, quite a few years ago, so I visited her then and got to experience Bavaria. Beautiful scenery, wonderful people & customs -- but likely not at all enjoyable in pain. Take care and heal quickly!

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