To Be or Not to Be

Big Al asked me to elaborate on the cruise I am contemplating for David and me in the fall.  I will turn 70 this year and we will be married for 30 years and I graduate in May. So, we should celebrate..right?

Anyone who has noticed the number of Cretan pots I have purchased over the years or who knows me well, knows I am obsessed with the history of the Mediterranean. I saw the Mediterranean when I visited my son and his wife in Spain and we drove along the Straits of Trafalgar and spent some time at Gibraltar, but I want to see more.  I am haunted by “the sea in our midst” (Literal Latin translation of the name). For many years, David  traveled extensively in Europe and lived there both as a child and an adult, but he never saw some of the places visited by this ship. 

A cruise of interest to me is entitled, “The Great Mediterranean, Turkey, Greece, Italy and Spain and takes place on a specially chartered ship (boat, yacht?) sailing from Istanbul to Barcelona with stops in between at historical sites.  Elderhostel is sponsoring the cruise as part of its Road Scholar program.   The trip takes place from Nov. 3-17. Travelers listen to lectures and learn at sea and then have opportunities to visit sites along the way (below from the cruise description): 


Casa Batlló, Barcelona

Casa Batlló, Barcelona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Voyage deep into the history of the Mediterranean. From Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire, to the Greek isle of Mykonos, to Sicily and Italy (Naples (Pompeii, Herculaneum), Rome and Florence) and finally culturally rich Barcelona, learn about the great civilizations that rose along the shores of this sea and find the stunning treasures they’ve left behind.


• Discover Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace, Blue Mosque, Spice Bazaar and Grand Covered Bazaar with a local expert.
• Experience on your own or through shore excursions of your choice.
• A special Road Scholar field trip introduces you to the beautiful landmarks of Barcelona including the splendid architecture of Antoni Gaudí.

Activity Notes

Programs with Crystal Cruises are designed for the independent traveler. These programs offer a lower activity level and the ability to choose your own shore excursion based on your preferences and physical ability. Road Scholar will provide one exclusive shore excursion and private onboard lectures with our own Group Leader and lecturer.

Must be able to handle your own luggage, get on and off a motorcoach, walk a few blocks and climb a few stairs.

My concerns are these:

1/ Money – that’s a lot of $$ for pensioners like David and me. However, I always think of the episode of Waiting for God when Tom and Diana are debating how to pay for a trip on the Orient Express.  Tom volunteers he has some money in a ‘special’ account and Diana says, “Tom you were saving that for your old age.” Then Tom says, “But this is my old age.”

2/ Time away from home (arrangements of care for animals). This is an issue, but I can make arrangements for animal care.

3/ Health issues.The shore excursions are of concern.  David is having much difficulty from various problems. He may face surgery sometime this summer or fall. The activity level is “Easy” but it requires some exertion. I may find myself making the shore excursions on my own some days, although I know he would drag himself to Pompei.  

We have taken a few Elderhostel trips locally, and one or the other of us has always almost collapsed from standing.  Both of us have handicap placards, me for shortness of breath and heart issues, him for joint problems (He will be 83 when and if we make the trip). Generally, in museums and other historic places much standing is involved as you walk around with a tour guide. I can walk with my arthritis, but I have problems standing for more than a minute or two on hard surfaces. To the extent we can move around on our own and/or use a scooter to propel us, this trip might be feasible.

I appreciate all the support, but we must be pragmatic so I don’t know yet what we will do.  This cruise is only one consideration among many.



17 thoughts on “To Be or Not to Be

  1. Sounds like an interesting trip and you’re trying to realistically consider the pros and cons. The years I would have enjoyed some of these trips we were no longer able, even here in U.S. Didn’t feel right going — even to Hawaii — when husband couldn’t, given the elevation at Volcano on the Big Island. Much younger friend has taken hiking trips all over Europe though her husband wasn’t able to go — he urged her to go ahead, so she did. My husband told me to go, too, — maybe I should have.


  2. I think this is definitely a big decision and you need to be pragmatic while making your plans. I love to travel but think my days of foreign travel are over…I can’t imaging fracturing a hip (as I did in Oct.) or having a serious health problem while on a vacation in a foreign country. Of course I am 79 and that’s a big difference from your “young” 70 … but I still think you can plan a wonderful time while staying within some sensible guidelines.


  3. I have a picture of that very apartment building in Barcelona that I took a few years ago!
    The cruise sounds wonderful, and once my husband retires we’ll start doing more of these things ourselves. Since we can still walk and hike we are taking a “swan song” trip to Machu Picchu, but that will probably be our last one invoving a lot of physical effort. We are kind of getting lazy and comfort loving in our old age.


  4. Ever since you posted this story, I have been asking friends for advice regarding cruises. It looks like I won’t go on one, because of poor internet service on board the ship and because of our mobility issues. Perhaps, you should consider spending a few days at a resort. That’s what I plan to do. As I said on my blog the newest resort in western Oahu really appeals to me. I can see us spending time at other resorts around the world!!!


  5. That cruise sounds right up your alley and Tom states the case perfectly. You certainly have three great reasons to go, besides if you go and take lots of pictures, I don’t have to.


  6. Yes, three weeks. Oh, hurrah. I hope you can run David through his GP about the dozing off or he won’t enjoy any of the trip at all.That worry’s me. Can he haul his own suitcase? Crystal cruises offer a great platform, and Elder Hostel is always great.

    Solitaire….you cna learn in three weeks. If you have a PC, the program is filed under accessories.


    • Oh yes, among other things he has Sleep Apnea, which he refuses to acknowledge as a problem although he has been diagnosed. I am the classical nagging wife. He won’t go on the cruise so the issue is moot.


  7. Thanks Dianne. Sounds like a very worthwhile trip. Have you ever taken a river cruise through Europe? They are a little less exhausting and a lot more casual and cozy.


  8. David and I have similar problems with mobility. Just last week, he told me he was glad we canceled our China trip, because of his inability to walk for long. He realized this when he tried to walk to Wendy’s from his office for lunch. His hips locked and he could barely make it there!


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