I awoke this morning at Barcelona’s cruise terminal, now a familiar sight. It’s debarkation day, and I won’t be marking time before another assignment in the Mediterranean. My season here is done, after three cruises and ground stays in St. Remy, London, Cornwall, Nice, and Corfu, along with short touchdowns in Barcelona, Marseille, Rome, and Athens.
I arrived in early April after a 24-day crossing beginning in Manaus, Brazil, down the Amazon and across the Atlantic to the coast of Northwest Africa before ending in Monte Carlo. I’ve been gone from San Diego three months now, and in the Western Mediterranean for a little over two.
Today I fly to Riga, Latvia for a few days before going on to Copenhagen for back-to-back Baltic cruises, and in about three weeks I will head home for the first time in My Year of Living Travelly.
A few observations are in order.
- I have never thought “I’ve had enough. I want to go home.” That was something I wondered about when I set out on this adventure. I have, however, looked forward to every change of venue, as in “Oh great! I’ll be on land for a while,” followed by “Oh great! I’ll be getting on a ship soon!”
- This morning at breakfast overlooking the port, I saw a ferry heading out and immediately thought,”the next time I’m here, I’m going to take a ferry trip somewhere.” On the Travel Bug scale of 1 to 10, I am way up there! If I am not already somewhere exciting, I am planning how soon I am going to get there.
- Despite having been to some ports a number of times, there isn’t one I wouldn’t return gladly to, if only to take a different shore excursion. Still haven’t seen nearly enough of Corsica, for example, or Catalunya, or Mallorca, and so many others.
- With every voyage, I feel more part of the family on Silversea and Seabourn, and I get a little better at my job. We really are a team, and I like to fit in, to play my role in making sure the guests have the best and most rewarding experience. Doing that feels really, really good.
- i need to stop buying things. I had to mail parcels home several times to stay under the weight limit for my flights. Another moment of truth comes today on my flight to Riga. On international flights, the check-in people are often kind, but these dirt-cheap hopper flights around Europe make their money off of the extra charges, so they can be merciless. On the other hand, I can’t wait to check out the shops in Riga, so observation number four doesn’t have a prayer.
- There is no way around it: cruising is hard on the gut. Gastric unhappiness is inevitable after this length of time. Even if I eat lightly, it’s too much, compared to the limited regimen I prefer at home. I say “I never want to eat again as long as I live,” then two minutes later it’s “Oh look! Food!” I miss my blender for my morning smoothie—and I could use a little detox from my new favorite drink, the Aperol Spritzer. Despite all the overkill, my clothes still fit, including my “reality check” pants ( the ones without the stretch waistband), but I can see a bit of a challenge brewing, and the battle with those pants is underway.
- I love the sociability of cruising, and I love the fun I have with Dan and the friends I share my cabin with. Still, solitude is important, and I am looking forward to a stretch of it in Latvia and as a solo traveler on my first Baltic cruise. Deep breaths….