Empress of Canada

Empress of Canada

The yearning to see beyond the fence line I attribute to my Mother.  My first travel experience was by the City of Denver train ride to Colorado Springs in 1953 to see my cousin David graduate from Fountain Valley Boys School. It was an overnight ride in a hot compartment with me in the upper bunk.  I leaned over looking down at my parents below saying “I don’t feel well!”  The Porter moved us to another room shortly afterward.  My sisters and I did a City of New Orleans ride down to Thomasville, Georgia the next year with an air-conditioned car with better results.

My first international trip was to Camp Owaconzie in the Lakes District of Ontario.  I spent seven weeks canoeing, fishing, and camping living with the ghosts of French Voyagers trapping for beaver.  I even left my mark chiseled in stone as they did.  That was 1956.  In 1957 we went back to Sinkola Plantation to see Uncle Stern.  In 1958, Mom, Dad and I drove to cousin David and Delia’s wedding in Connecticut cutting across Ontario to get there.

The serious adventures began with the prep-school graduation trip to Europe in 1962.  Cynthia and I flew to Montreal to board the Empress of Canada where we sailed out the St. Lawrence Seaway to Liverpool.  We passed Quebec and Newfoundland on the way out.  During the next seven weeks we traveled to England, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Monaco, and France.  We peeked across the Iron Curtain at Hungary and may have traversed Lichtenstein.  We flew back from Orly to Chicago.

Linda and I had dinner in Mexico crossing the Mighty Rio Grande at Yuma on our way west in 1968.  Vancouver, British Columbia was a short day trip from our home on Whidbey Island, so we ventured there often.  Hawaii and Subic Bay, The Philippines were the next ports of call on the way to the Tonkin Gulf in 1969.  For the next nine months I visited Viet Nam and Laos on a daily basis delivering unwanted packages.  During that time we visited Japan and Hong Kong as well as Cubi Point.

It was another decade before visiting Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in 1983.  There had been numerous business trips to Hawaii and there would be more.

In 1990, Linda asked if I was joining her on her visit to Israel to see Sheri and Alex.  That month long trip included two weeks in Germany experiencing unification day in a tiny village divided by the Iron Curtain.  The invasion of Kuwait affected travel to the Middle East for some, but not us.  We had Israel to ourselves for the second two weeks.

In 1998, we connected with Elizabeth and Gerhard again to travel Norway, Denmark, The Czech Republic, and Germany for five weeks.

In 2006, we went to New Zealand for a month with two weeks in Australia to see if we wished to return.  We did for nine weeks in 2007 covering the whole country.  In 2009, we did Chile, Cape Horn, and Argentina casting a glance at Antarctica from the southern tip of South America.

In 2010, we did a week at each end in England to break up the nine week excursion to Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and South Africa.

In 2011, we returned to Germany to start our adventure to Israel, Jordan, and Croatia for five weeks.

In 2012, we concentrated on France and England for 5 weeks.

In 2013, we visited family and friends in Cape Cod and Rome, Maine on our way to see the fall colors in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island.

In 2014, we were in South America again seeing the Galapagos Islands and the Sacred Valley in Peru.  Linda got deathly ill on the flight home which affected future travel by air.  So, we did a road trip to check out the new cameras in April and May visiting our National Parks and Monuments in the south west.  A possible return trip by car looms in October to catch images in another season.

Together, Linda and I have been on 6 continents in 8 years driving 30,000 kilometers on the other side of the road…she can claim 1,000 of those left side adventures.  Germany is a focal point with many connections through family and exchange students.  Brad was a Congress/Bundestag Scholar in 1985.  Christian Jäger was one coming the other way in 1986.  Brad had stayed with his family for awhile.  Linda’s cousin Karen is a citizen opera singer.  And, we love the country for its people and places.


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