During the summer of 1980, I spent 30 days in Europe with a group of girls from my high school, along with our ancient history teacher, her husband, and a German foreign exchange student named Jorg Eichhorn. There were countries which I absolutely loved (Italy, Greece), countries which were impressive in certain ways but which didn’t capture my heart (England, Switzerland, Austria, Germany), and two countries which I did not enjoy one bit (France, Turkey). Despite the fact that I wasn’t enamored with every country we visited, I truly enjoyed the entire experience immensely.
One major highlight we experienced was a cruise we took on the M/V Aphrodite, a cruise ship which we boarded in Ancona, Italy. We spent a week on the M/V Aprhrodite, which docked in Santorini, Athens, and Istanbul. Our first night on the ship, I remember sitting out on the deck, looking up at the sky, and being dazzled by a glorious display of stars, completely unobstructed by pollution, the distraction of electric lighting, or ominous storm clouds. The next day, when we docked in Santorini, I was even more awestruck by the gorgeous turquoise water of the Aegean Sea. Once I set foot on the rocky shore, I saw the waves lap against the rocks and realized that I could see fish swimming in the water. I had never seen such a shade of water, and for that matter, I had never seen any major body of water except for the Pacific Ocean until I went on that cruise. It was an experience which left an indelible impression on my 14 year old self.
You might want to think twice about booking a dream vacation ANYWHERE these days after all the recent mishaps with air travel.
Below are several links to news stories pertaining to airline passengers who in some fashion were mistreated or misinformed.
One woman was bumped from an overbooked Air Canada flight and missed a $10,000 Galapagos cruise which she had booked well in advance. Another passenger, traveling on United Airlines, flew to San Francisco International Airport when she believed she was flying to Paris. A third incident involved a family who deplaned after the parents were bullied into giving up the seat which they purchased for their two-year old.
Then there’s the woman who was denied restroom access while mid-flight, and the United employee who cancelled a traveler’s ticket after an argument ensued regarding fees on his checked bag. I have also included a link to the now famous story of the Vietnamese physician who was dragged off an overbooked United flight.
Even our furry friends aren’t safe while traveling these days, as evidenced by the story of the giant rabbit who sadly met his demise while on a United flight. He was then cremated by the airline without permission from the rabbit’s owner.