Woo hoo! Today begins my 11-day trip abroad. We land in Basel, Switzerland, where we’re whisked away on a fast and furious bus to our boat. In just a few hours said boat will embark on a cruise up the Rhine River. Destination Amsterdam, which I visited last year and loved, loved, LOVED!
Finally, the R&R I’ve been need after working so hard all year is here and I can’t wait. I mean, who doesn’t love a vacation abroad??
Best of all I get to see Jean, who I met on last year’s cruise and who was absolutely lovely and fun. It’ll be terrific to see her. We’re going to make so many wonderful memories. Except for one thing.
Jean has arrived sick. She is coughing and wheezing and absolutely miserable. But she’s as strong as they come and not letting any flu bug get the best of her. Not on this trip! She’s going to power through her illness and have a great time, I just know it.
Uh-oh. The crew just dropped Jean’s suitcase into the river. Everything’s soaked and muddy.
But no ruined clothing bothers Jean. She’s powering through!
Today is our first stop in Germany, and because I love bike riding so much, I’ve signed up for a special excursion through the Black Forest on e-bikes. We’re going to ride through what I imagine to be beautiful picturesque paths with gads of black trees. We’re even supposed to stop along the way to eat Black Forest Cake and sounds good to me!
Wait a minute.
Nobody told me the Black Forest was a mountain and that we’d be going up steep hills. Up…up…up…
Yep, that’s me. One sharp turn and I gobsmacked fell on my face, smashing into the bushes—the only one in the group to have such a fate. Yikes.
This is me, red-faced with embarrassment, but I’m going to power through this disaster.
One of our guides, taking pity on me, offers to take me (only me) on a different route, where we can meet up with the group later. One that is a tad, ahem, flatter and less grueling. Have I ever been more humiliated? I think not.
Still, the e-bike was fun until I crashed, and I liked that I could zoom over dirt roads. Gravel ones, too.
That evening, exhausted and overheated and feeling agonizing aches and pains from the bike ride, I decide best to cancel my plans to go on an excursion the next afternoon that involves climbing hundreds of steps up a steeple that is alleged to be the tallest church in Cologne.
What was I thinking, anyway, signing up for this excursion? So I throw myself on the mercy of the cruise staff, hoping they’ll give me a refund. They look at me with suspicion and say they’ll take it under consideration.
“You must power through,” they say.
Thankfully, though, they take heart and cancel the excursion. Meanwhile, I learn Jean was unable to go on any excursion due to lack of clothing due to soaking wet, now mildewed suitcase. The cruise personnel must be washing and drying her river-soaked clothes one item at a time and it’s taking forever. Good grief!
Another excursion to a castle in Heidelberg—and Jean’s still sick but at least the crew gave her back one outfit she can wear so she’s going to power through on the excursion today, sitting right behind us on the bus.
Poor thing, she’s still coughing. Well, it’ll be okay as long as I don’t get sick. In fact, I never NEVER get sick. I’ve been taking the flu shot for years which has been key to staying healthy. This year I didn’t get the flu shot and still didn’t get sick, even when all my colleagues at work were dropping like flies.
Is that my throat feeling sore? Oh yeah, it’s getting sorer by the minute.
And was that the chills?
Must not get sick. Not while on vacation.
I am a mess, dammit. Fever, stuffed nose, you name it. But I must power through like Jean’s been doing. I go on an excursion, dinner in a monastery, and power through while shaking like a leaf. I dream of bed and decline the wine. Someone, stop this shivering and toss me a blanket.
Power through, power through.
The next few days bring more of the same. Sightseeing and chills, coughing while snapping photos of the colorful scenery. Ah, vacation. How much more of this can I take??
A lot it seems. After six more days of sight-seeing, it’s departure day and I’m terribly out of sorts. I want to climb into my bed at home and never leave it. I try to remember what sleeping comfortably is like as I board the plane back to the states and then I feel it. A pang in my eye, and just like that, my eyelid droops, getting watery and crusty by the nanosecond.
An eye infection!
I’m sicker than a drunk pig dancing the polka in an outhouse. By the time I land in San Diego, two planes and 15 hours later, I have infections in both eyes. What’s more, I can’t remember what its like not to have a sore throat. Hurts. To. Swallow.
Home at last. I crawl into bed with the last ounce of strength I can muster. Henry, my Cavalier King Charles, looks at me askance.
“Vacation hangover,” he assumes. “Why don’t you power through it and take me on a nice, long, leisurely walk?”