Our readers share tales of their rambles around the world.
Who: Charlene and James Esaw of Leesburg
Where, when, why: A 30th-anniversary renewal of vows on a seven-day European cruise on the Yachts of Seabourn.
Highlights and high points: The cruise started in Nice, France, so we arrived a day early. We’d prearranged airport pickup and a private night tour of the Cote d’Azur that included Eze, Monaco and Monte Carlo and a morning tour of Nice. The view from the Rock, the Prince’s Palace in Monaco, was breathtaking and mesmerizing at night, and the casino with the rich and famous was magical. We settled for a cold beer and the slot machines. And yes, we were able to get in, even though someone in our party was wearing sweats.
Cultural connection or disconnect: A great moment happened when we were boarding the plane in Frankfurt, Germany. We told a flight attendant that we were celebrating our 30th anniversary. She hugged us both and told us how important family is, then upgraded us to business class with beds and more French champagne.
Biggest laugh or cry: The absolutely best occurrence was the renewal of our vows before Captain Dag. Our friends were escorted into the Midnight Sun Lounge, and then we followed. The director sang “Ribbon in the Sky” by Stevie Wonder. We agreed to do God knows what for the next 30 years! We were so overwhelmed and nervous that we didn’t hear what Captain Dag was saying! Our old and new friends toasted us with French champagne, then feasted on surf and turf, Key lime pie and anniversary cake. A new friend from England gave a special speech, and my husband gave a speech that left most of us in tears. We danced the night away and returned to our suite, where a bottle of French wine, a rose-covered bed and leftover Key lime pie awaited us. We were also given a CD of the ceremony.
How unexpected: I was a little surprised by the graffiti in Valencia, Spain. I thought that I was in a borough in New York. When we decided to head back to the ship on the hop-on-hop-off bus, we saw a beach and hopped off. It was the best decision of the day. Playa de las Arenas has a beautiful beachfront and a promenade with shops and restaurants. From watching two guys build a sand castle to people-watching while drinking a cold beer and snacks for about $2.50, it was a great stop on the cruise.
Fondest memento or memory: Thirty years is a long time to be together. What I know for sure is that through the good times and the bad, my husband has never given up on us. We have each other’s back. This vacation made me realize that we’re a team. And whatever Captain Dag said when we renewed our vows!