Friday, November 12, 2010

2010 Goldring Travel Food & Wine Cruise on the Seabourn Odyssey - The Beginning...Leaving On A Jet Plane

My bags are packed and I am ready to go…OK, those are the lyrics to “Leaving on a Jet Plane” by Peter, Paul and Mary (Yes, “age” is upon me), but that has absolutely nothing to do with this quest for a fantastic sojourn on the Seabourn Odyssey.

The fact is that it was utter chaos before I left for this cruise. A complicated admiralty turned bankruptcy case took an unexpected turn, a cruise line’s computers went down just as I was trying to make payments on an upcoming group cruise (I will write about that cruise in the months to come), the reality of Seabourn raising its prices and people realizing that a Seabourn cruise over the holidays is a great idea caused an incredible rush of bookings (THANK YOU) and, by the way, one of our miniature horses somehow locked herself in the tack room and after having a very good feed cut her nose.

So the car was coming to take us to the airport in an hour and I had not even started to pack. I can’t wait to discover what I forgot. However, pack I did. And we have tried to assure that my dear wife does not have to suffer from lost luggage on this trip. (My loyal readers know that the losing of our luggage is pretty much a sure thing.) We came up with the strategy of carrying on all of my wife’s clothes. (BTW, Travelpro has a fantastic carry-on that has a separate garment bag built right into it, so you effectively have two bags combined into one.) As for my clothes…wish me luck!

So now my bags are packed and I am ready to go. We breeze through check-in and security and head to the President’s Club before our first flight: Continental to Munich. In the ever degrading of air travel we have an old 767-200, but are in 16L&K, so we have bulkhead seats in the small cabin just aft of BusinessFirst with plenty of legroom. Sounds OK, right? Well, it was OK. The “food” was a bit rough (only hours until Athens and great food), but sleep seems not to be an option. Between the rush before the trip and the lady sitting across the aisle who has her light shining in my eyes as she reads Budget Traveler I am awake.

I am, therefore, working on the 2011 Goldring Travel Food & Foliage Cruise on the Seabourn Sojourn, departing Quebec City, Quebec on September 21, 2011 on a nine day cruise to New York City. I am trying to integrate some of my love for marine biology into the cruise so that my guests get a little different perspective of what I consider some of the most beautiful areas in the world.

But I digress! I am so looking forward to spending tomorrow night in Athens in a little restaurant (don’t know which one yet) near the St. George Lycabettus Hotel in the Kolonaki area having some great Greek food and catching up with some good friends and then lying in bed looking at the Acropolis glowing in the night. (There is a photo of this on my website.) Doesn’t take much to make me happy, right?

My weather service forecast calls for sun for our group’s pre-cruise trip to Corinth…after breakfast overlooking the Acropolis and Piraeus. Of course my wife’s weather service forecast calls for rain. Why do we look at weather reports? Regardless, there is a very interesting museum with skeletons and quality statues as well as the beautiful Corinth Canal there. And then, of course, more Greek food before we board the Seabourn Odyssey!

With a very diverse group of guests, I am really looking forward to learning from them, from understanding different perspectives and having a lot of fun. To be sure, I do not run “joined at the hip” groups, so I am also looking forward to spending some quality time with the couple we rented a villa with in Islamlar, Turkey. If you haven’t read those blog entries from this past summer, you should. It isn’t really about what you plan; it is about what you happen upon.

Let’s see what our 2010 Goldring Travel Food & Wine Cruise happens upon.