• James Eric Fristad

Ah, to wake up here


... in Venice, obviously. Which we will do, I trust, exactly here along the edge of this very canal--our neighborhood for three nights. I love this photograph (from Booking-dot-com's ad for the place). Love that the hosts, Marco and Laura, communicate quickly and graciously with their renters, us two.


Somehow this scene, and the pastel yet vivid three overnights it suggests, give me some reassurance about this whole fresh and cunning plan (Baldrick's words, apt here) of mine, which may turn out to be a house of cards after all. Remember the snowstorm of airborne playing cards at the very end of Disney's Alice in Wonderland movie? Ouch.

So going back a couple of weeks. Holland America Lines cancelled our reserved cruise. Again. It was the third time they had done this to us, in a row. Had beguiled us into leaving our payments in their coffers with promises of an extra 25% credit for a future cruise.


Ooh, ooh!


I could understand the first such instance, with Covid and all. The second I was a little less generous about, but realized that after all we weren't sure it was going to be an acceptably semi-healthy environment onboard a cruise ship, by then. This recent time, well, no. Not acceptable. I have asked for a refund which, after a couple of months, they will likely grant. Grudgingly but still.


And it isn't only the inconvenience of cancelling and then rebooking different dates, or of shuffling locations and sorting through transportation routes that nags ... yes all that is a pain, and yet the terrible impact on my inner self is discouragement. Not quite depression in the clinical sense of the word, but rather a sadness at lofty hopes of adventure being dashed. Again.


*****


Actually, you know, I am getting pretty good at revising these journeys. This present layout is version "O" and it is, I think, better for the most part than any previous plan -- all the way back even to version "A." Not without a few wrinkles to iron out (digital metaphor: our steam iron has been on a shelf, untouched, for months) along the way, but that makes life interesting. Which I keep needing to remind myself about.


When that fateful email arrived with tidings of the latest cancellation--of a week which had involved steaming around the Adriatic from Rome to Venice over the course of a week ... I determined, "Well, okay, maybe it's all for the best because this empty place in our scheme will take eight-plus days off our stretched budget (and nerves, likely). We will come back fresher and a little less drained in dollars; we'll just visit fewer places for less days, and get home earlier. We merely need to have our travel agent convince Lufthansa to swap our reservation for returning to the USA, from a Venice departure as now reserved, to a Rome departure about 10 days earlier. A token fee would be well worth it."


Hahahaha, well, um, no. It would cost us about $1200 apiece to make such an alteration. Grumble, grumble, gnash gnash. At some point I decided: you know, if it's that expensive to remove/replace our present reservations, which now mean flying Venice to Munich to Denver to Boise, why don't we just fill those now-Holland-America-free, empty days with yet more adventures a-roaming, and keep half of that penalty in our own pockets (while putting the other half into the pockets of European locals, where it belongs)!? Do more stuff, in other words, rather than pay dearly to come home early and sulk.


So that is what we have done. Removed Avignon, but added time in Orvieto and re-inserted a week in Cinque Terre area, kept Rome days intact, gave Venice three nights and intervening days in the above adorable digs. And, and.


And we're booked on another Adriatic/Dalmation Coast cruise, this one arguably better than HAL's. At least for places we want to go. Good old Oceania.


It's all there in the website now, as correct as my tired yet thus far pandemic-free brain can make it.


More anon. The current thing to lie awake at night and fret about, involves making plans to get our pre-boarding Covid-19 tests set up. I am developing a taste for quick-dissolving melatonin.


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