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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

t-7 and counting!

11C, 52F...windy and cold, Lake Erie in Fort Erie, Ontario. It is time to get out of here before we have snow, it gets colder and we're freezing!

After a fantastic summer living on the lake in Fort Erie, we are on the move again next week! We are in the midst of doing all of the things we have to do to close up the house for the winter, and pack for our next adventure! Even our golf clubs are being shipped down south to Florida, so they will be there when we arrive at the end of the month!

So what are we up to now?

An even colder destination than Fort Erie! But more on where we are going shortly... first we pause for some very exciting news!

We have a new granddaughter! Her name is Allison Rose and she was born very quickly in Cranbrook, B.C. on September 15, 2023. So quickly in fact, she was born in the pick up truck that Jonathan and Christal own in the Cranbrook hospital parking lot!

Next week we will fly from Buffalo to Spokane, Washington, pick up a rental car and drive to Cranbrook to visit our wee new grand baby! We can't wait to snuggle her and also see our 3 year old very busy grandson Owen, and of course see Christal and Jonathan too!

After a few days in Kimberley/Cranbrook we will make the return drive to Spokane and catch a flight to Seattle, Washington when our next big travel adventure starts!

We will be cruising from Seattle on the Norwegian Encore cruise ship to Alaska!

We have never been on a Norwegian cruise ship before and we are very curious to see how Norwegian compares to Viking, and also to my most recent adventure on the new MSC Euribia. The Norwegian Encore has a capacity of 4,004 passengers, but I know the cruise is not sold out, as the cruise is still be advertised on I wonder how many braves souls will be willing to go to Alaska at the end of October??

Our October 22nd sailing from Seattle, to Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve, Ketchikan and Victoria, B.C returning to Seattle on October 29th is the last 2023 Alaskan sailing of the year for the Encore. Hmmmm....I wonder if it will be cold? Yikes! Better pack our woolies! We knew the cruise would be cold, but the timing worked out so well for us and we don't mind cold as long as we are dressed appropriately for the cruise.

The neat thing about this cruise is we are going with people we know! I casually mentioned to my golf buddy while we were playing the 7th hole at Ladies Day at Bridgewater Golf Club one Tuesday morning, that we were going to Alaska in October. My buddy and her partner had always wanted to go to Alaska and have never been on a cruise. The next thing I knew, they were booked and coming with us! Then my buddy also told another friend she used to work with and she also booked! We're really looking forward to sharing some adventures together on this fairly new (2019) Norwegian cruise ship. And we get to try out another cruise line too, which is always exciting to compare and contrast with other cruise lines.

Our cruise itinerary will allow us to visit my son Josh and his partner Alicia in Victoria for a few hours too on October 28th, so an added bonus of taking this cruise is we get to see our family!

The great thing about ending our cruise in Seattle is there are direct flights on our preferred carrier (Delta) to Tampa! So after our cruise, we will overnight near Seattle airport and fly directly to Tampa to spend some time at our home in Plant City, Florida.

And the great thing about having a home in Florida is having people come and visit! We've got 3 sets of friends all lined up to visit us in November and December and we cannot wait to entertain them with some Florida sunshine, golf, and some delicious Plant City strawberries!

As we know the world was a lot different two years ago when no one was travelling because of the global pandemic. The few brave souls who were travelling were subject to vaccine mandates, PCR tests, 14 days of isolation when returning to Canada, as well as the ARRIVE CAN app and all that came with using the app, like daily check ins with Canadian Border Services. We had originally planned to be in Europe over Christmas in 2021 on a 7 night 'Rhine Getaway' Viking River cruise visiting the Christmas markets along the Danube, but the vibe wasn't right for us with the pandemic, so we cancelled that cruise, upgraded it and deferred it to 2023.

On December 15th we leave for Europe from Tampa and fly to Budapest, Hungary to board the 190 passenger Viking Bragi longship for a 15 night 'Grand European' River Cruise on the Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers. We have been anticipating this cruise for quite some time and we are very interested to see how the Viking River Cruise differs from our most recent 138 day Viking Neptune World Cruise on a 930 passenger ocean cruise liner.

Christmas in Europe definitely has a nice ring to it and we can't wait to dock in the towns along the European Rivers we will be sailing on, to walk into a Christmas wonderland in each town we visit! I think we may have to bring an empty suitcase for our trip to fill it with with uniquely European Christmas souvenirs we find along our travels. Of course that means we might have to stay home one Christmas to actually decorate using those Christmas souvenirs!

Another bonus of visiting Vienna, Austria as one of the destinations on our river cruise for a few days will be to meet up again with our good friends Ulrike and Walter who live in Vienna! We were able to have lunch with Ule and Walter when they were visiting Canada this summer, so now we will visit them once again in Vienna! It is so nice to have friends and family around the world to visit on our travels!

I've packed Richard's roller board AWAY suitcase for our Alaskan cruise and I now need to stop procrastinating and pack my AWAY roller board suitcase too! We are trying to do this trip with carry on bags only since my last cruise adventure on MSC from Copenhagen had me arriving without my checked luggage! Imagine spending a week in a cold place with just the clothes on your back? I was able to get a full refund from Delta for everything I purchased, including a new Samsonite large suitcase, but it is not worth the risk of travelling across the country making stops along the way, and boarding a cruise ship for 7 days, to potentially lose a suitcase. I have learned my lesson once again on travelling with checked luggage on connecting flights!

So while I keep procrastinating and spend my time writing this blog instead of packing, at least I've had the chance to update our website which is something that was in the back of my mind to do.

I'm really looking forward to the photography opportunities that Alaska and Europe will bring too! I do plan to blog about our adventures as long as the wifi is good of course, so follow along and live vicariously through us as we continue with our 'GO-GO' years of travelling around the world!

Our view of the City of Buffalo and its skyline across Lake Erie. Buffalo International Airport we are coming for you soon! It is time in t-7 days and counting to begin new adventures, exploring fascinating, exciting places, visiting family and friends along the way and checking more things off our travel bucket list!!!

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