|The archway in our yard that ventures out to the winding, hilly roads, kept locked for privacy. these small villages in Tuscany it is difficult to determine where a house and yard begins and ends with most houses “stuck together.”|
It’s hard to believe in less than three weeks we’ll be leaving Boveglio to drive to Venice to fly to Kenya the next day, the 3rd.
|We’re reminded that fall is near, by the pumpkins and gourds in our yard.|
It will be the beginning of almost a year of living in Africa, ending with two and a half months in Madeira, Portugal, an island located off the northwestern coast of Africa.
|A pepper plant growing in the lower garden. These are most likely too hot for our taste buds.|
1. What are the most enjoyable and sensible means of us traveling back across the Atlantic Ocean toward Hawaii when we’ll be getting together with our adult kids and grandchildren at our upcoming rental house in Kona, Hawaii at Christmas time in 2014?
2. With the added expense of airfare for 13 family members, how can we spend this period most economically to perhaps offset a portion of the cost?
3. Do we want to stay in Europe until December 1st when our rental begins in Hawaii, as we end the upcoming one year stint from Portugal?
4. Are there cruises available to use as a means of travel, which we prefer?
|The doorway and patio of a house below us where we heard cheerful Italian chatter last night.|
Tom has been spending considerable time at Vacations to Go and Cruise Critic in an effort to determine our best options. Once we pin down possible cruises, we’ll contact our representative, Joaquin at Vacations to Go to book our chosen cruises.
|How dry and brown the yard is becoming with a lack of regular rain.|
The further we continue into our world travels, we’ve determined that we love cruising for several reasons:
1. Cost-effective in many cases with housing and meals included.
2. No enforced luggage restrictions.
3. Ease of living: no cooking, no cleaning, no laundry (although it does pile up)
4. Meeting new people almost every day while meandering on the ship and during meals.
5. Date night every night with the option of ordering included room service. (After eight cruises, we’ve yet to order room service).
6. Opportunity to visit many countries in a short period of time with the numerous scheduled ports of call.
7. Movies on board.
8. Exercise facilities on board.
9. Often interesting classes on board.
10. Chefs on cruise ships make every effort to accommodate my restrictive diet. Although boring and bland at times, it’s much easier than trying to communicate my restrictions in a new restaurant with possible language barriers.
|The herb garden in the yard, separate from our patio garden.|
After extensive research these past days, we’ve finally come to the conclusion that we’ll wait until the 90-day ticker begins (until sail date) with discounted cruise fares for 2014. In reviewing the ticker for cruises in the next 90 days we’ve seen how beneficial it is to wait with discounts as high as 82%.
|Impatiens growing in an old wooden barrel in the yard.|
Yes, by waiting we run the risk of a particular cruise being sold out. Willing to take this risk, we accept the reality that if our means of transportation by cruise is sold out, we can always fly to our next preferred location. In a rare position for this flexibility, it makes sense for us to proceed in this manner.
|A cozy corner of one of the covered garden areas.|
With most of our first two and a half years traveling well planned in advance, we now feel experienced and confident enough, after almost a year to attempt last-minute planning. Doing so opens the opportunity for us to experience cruises normally priced beyond our budget, at suddenly lower pricing.
|The morning sun filtered through the covered garden.|
As we’ve mentioned in the past, Vacations to Go has a policy whereby they will honor price reductions on cruises up to 90 days before sailing. If one watches the pricing on their pre-booked cruises, one can request the reduction which becomes effective immediately which will be guaranteed through sailing. However, neither the cruise lines nor Vacations to Go will watch this for a customer. One must do this on their own.
|Few roses remain as summer winds down. Often, I wanted to make a bouquet for the kitchen table, deciding against it, knowing it would attract bees indoors.|
Learning the nuances of enhancing the quality of our travels is an ongoing process. Many have asked us why we booked so much in advance for the first two and a half years. The answer is simple.
|Last year, we left Minnesota to begin our travels on Halloween. It seems so long ago.|
As neophytes, if we weren’t able to find and book the next desired leg in our travels, we may have become frustrated questioning why we ever took this enormous life-changing challenge. With bookings planned and deposits paid, we were committed which proved to bring us comfort, excitement, and peace of mind as we learned the ropes.
|These variegated green and white leaves are vinca vine, always a favorite of mine when planted to hang over a rock wall.
Now, it is becoming clear to us that we can patiently wait. Unless, of course, some amazing opportunity presents itself that we cannot turn down.
After all, the world is a big place.