We’re back traveling

We’re coming back from the dead in our blogging hiatus, ’cause we’re traveling again! It’s been a long time and it will take us a while to get back in the groove. This time Steve will write the stories and MonaLiza will provide lots of photos.

As everyone knows, traveling these days is a massive hassle. But having booked, cancelled and rebooked our Viking cruises for the past two years for various reasons, we had to make a go of it before there’s another lockdown, war or anything else that will prohibit us from getting out there again.

We’re embarking on a 56-day adventure of back-to-back-to-back Viking ocean and river cruises. Our journey begins in Iceland and ends up in Jordan as we visit ten countries via a Homelands Ocean Cruise, a Seine River Cruise in France and a Nile River Cruise in Egypt. This has been planned since the beginning of the pandemic, when travel was just a dream. Now we’ve put it together and we’re ready to explore the world again!

The first day of our trip was a disappointing disaster.  After hearing all of the recent news about canceled flights, lost luggage and huge flight delays due to pilot, flight personnel and ATC (Air Traffic Control) shortages, we quickly learned that it was all true.  Throw in other problems we experienced and you have the makings of a bad start for our exciting trip that was two years in the planning.

We had each paid $85 and went to interviews to sign up for TSA Pre-check at airports, since we’d be visiting several countries.  For some unknown reason the Pre-check emblem did not get printed on Steve’s ticket, so we ended up going through the regular line at security. Not disastrous, but maybe ominous?

We were seated on the plane and after a while we realized we were just sitting there.  The captain finally came on and said there was a problem with the left engine starter and we’d have to de-plane.  This was much closer to disastrous, since we had a short turnaround in Chicago for our connection to Reykjavik, Iceland.

It would take several hours to fix the aircraft so we had no choice but to book another flight, and Mona Liza worked on that for a couple of hours. The luggage was on hold, because some people wanted to wait for the plane to get fixed so they could get to Chicago, while most others had to book new flights due to connections. The only upside to this fiasco is that we were stuck at our home airport in Phoenix.

Result: the baggage workers had to sort through all of the luggage “by hand” to separate the ones going back on the plane from the “re-bookers”.  This took several hours, so we were at the airport most of the day fixing our flights and retrieving luggage. The new flight was to Newark, NJ for a connection to Reykjavik, and that couldn’t happen until the next morning.  United gave us hotel vouchers and we spent the first night of our trip at a bad Hilton near the airport.  We also lost our business class seats and got assigned economy seats on the flight to Newark. Of course all of this meant we would miss our first day and excursions in Reykjavik.

The following day we packed our patience and returned to the airport to start over. We suffered small heart attacks when our shuttle to the airport got a flat tire, but the hotel called a taxi and we arrived there unscathed. This time Steve’s Pre-check came out OK, and we were on our way!

A view of New York City during our approach into Newark
Cleared for our nighttime take off to Reykjavik, Iceland!
Cheers! we got upgraded to Business Class for the Reykjavik flight at the last minute

What a mess, better luck tomorrow! 

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Next up: We made it to Reykjavik!

25 comments

  1. Oh, hooray, blogging!! I was going to try to convince you to do it this way and not mainly on Facebook, so I’m tickled to pieces you’ll be recording your adventures here. Sorry for the ultra-bumpy start and here’s to smooth sailing from now on!

  2. I sure admire your bravery in attempting travel again. Looking forward to reading about your adventures and seeing your great photos. Love the one of NYC from the air.

  3. Glad to read your post about getting back to traveling. A bad start is better than no start I think. Looking forward to more posts.

  4. Once travelling gets into your blood, you can never quit! Nice to hear you’re back. We look forward to hearing from you and we will meet up on the road one day! We followed you vicariously for years and now we are on the road with our RV as well. Welcome back, Bev Sitter and Marc Spencer Calgary, Alberta

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  5. Flying today can be really stressful. But Kevin has said that flight cancellations are back to normal. What bad luck to have a mechanical problem. Geesh! Getting a new flight is tough because every plane is full. Glad you at least got upgraded for the Iceland flight. Now you’ve arrived and the fun has begun!!

  6. Oh, what a crazy, stressful beginning to your trip! But you sure do look relaxed on the plane to Reykjavik. 🙂 Great idea to split up the blogging work. Have fun!

  7. Sorry to hear about your ordeal on your first day. Hoping the rest of the trip will be much easier. Best wishes on your journey and have fun.

  8. Shocked to open my feed this morning and see your blog on top! Hope the rest of your adventure goes smoother than the start. Looking forward to following along!

  9. Hope the rest of your trip goes better. It’s not good when it starts off so stressful.

    We got lucky with our very recent trip to Alaska out of Phoenix. The flights were all on time. Thank you Alaska Airlines!

    Most of the others in our trip arrived the day before, because they were afraid of delays. They also had no problem.

  10. So glad to see you’re back on the road! I just got back from a Viking cruise (inspired by the one you took years ago to Vienna :)) and they certainly know how to take care of their passengers. Have lots and lots of fun!

  11. Yay, so glad to see you back here! Hopefully the rough start to your travels will soon be a distant memory. Sounds like an amazing trip you have lined up!

  12. Man, what a hassle you had right out of the box! I’m so glad to see that things have progressed from there and that you’re on your way. It’s been a long road but I know it will all be worth it. Sounds like producing this blog collaboratively will be great, we look forward to the voyage. Relax and enjoy!

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