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28 DAYS AT SEA
It began in Dubai and finished 28 days later in Lisbon. Highlights included Petra and the slow crawl through the Suez Canal. There were stops along the way at Corfu, Cephalonia, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Venice, Ancona, Messina, Salerno, and Barcelona before I disembarked in Lisbon. My fellow passengers were venturing on, some disembarking at Southhampton, but the majority heading back to New Zealand and Australia.
Cruising is not my typical mode of travel, and certainly as a solo traveler you might wonder why I chose to be one of 2000 guests on a transatlantic crossing, when I'm best known for doing my own thing, usually getting lost off the beaten track. I was still recovering from two major knee replacement surgeries and decided 28 days at sea, with someone making my bed every day, someone else doing the cooking, plenty of on board entertainment, a gym and all that walking space around decks was exactly what the doctor ordered for a full recovery before I arrived in Europe for my usual 3-5 month adventures there.
Booking so late, as I did, meant a balcony room was not an option. No problems! I loved being cocooned in my inside room; the size of it more than big enough for two, so as a solo traveler I had more than enough space. Princess beds have a reputation and I have to say, in all my travels, the Queen size bed is a beauty.
Cruising with strangers gives you the opportuniy to mix and mingle if you so desire or its easy to lose yourself both on and off the ship doing your own thing, at your own pace. The day the ship docked at Salerno, where I'd been before, I took a fast taxi boat ride around to Poisitano to meet friends for lunch. These friends were from Victoria and had arrived in Naples on another ship early that morning. Like me, these friends love chasing the life in their life and didn't hesitate to take a fast train from Naples to Positano. On the surface our plan looked difficult. Seas were rough and I nearly didn't make it to Positano. My friends missed their first train which meant when we did eventually meet up our catch up was reduced to gulping down a wine and sharing slices of pizza, but oh how we laughed about the perils of our adventure. There were no boats back to Salerno that afternoon and so I had to take 2 buses to get back to my ship with just minutes to spare before it sailed. Solo travel has taught me that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. When doing something like this, it's always a good idea to carry your passport, a credit card and a phone charger, along with the ship's forward itinerary, and to know where your ship will be stopping next, and which airports will connect you. You can't always plan to avoid every drama that might beset you. My attitude is that if you are just a little bit prepared you might just find your best adventure in your drama's solution. Such dramas no longer phase me. I like to think of these moments as unplanned adventures. And, they always are!
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