Being a nice Catholic girl at heart, I've always wanted to go to the Holy Land since I was a wee thing. Long after I lost my interest in organized religion, that aim has taken seat in my soul, enough that I've always saved a little money "just in case" the opportunity came up.
Well, that never happened while we had kids at home, so once things were "organized" after the kids were grown, John and I started our "bucket list." It wasn't so much a list of things we wanted to do before we died, it's a list of things we want to do while we're still able to - be it physically, mentally, emotionally or fiscally.
It's been 6 years since the youngest turned 21 and John and I realized that we had a few good years between kids and grandkids. So we 'scaled back', sold the bigger home, bought a smaller one and started saving money for making our wishes tangible.
Last year, we realized that if we really wanted to go to the Holy Land, we could if we saved diligently for it. And voila, with the help of a really good travel agent, we found a cruise that starts up in Rome and travels the Mediterranean and winds up in Athens. Stops would include Cairo and Alexandria in Egypt Israel, Syria, and on.
So we opened up our purse and booked the cruise. It's all paid for and our tours scheduled, and we leave in the next few days. The only problem is that we didn't plan on all the political stuff.
It's hard to plan a trip to Egypt, Israel and Syria and NOT take the political climate into consideration. I suspect I'm the only person I know who just assumed that the status quo would remain during our brief foray into the Middle East, but there you have it, Egypt and Syria are now powder kegs.
So our tour has been rebooked to exclude Egypt and Syria. We are still going to Israel, and I'll get to see what I really wanted to see, Jerusalem and Bethlehem and Nazareth, but Syria and Egypt are off the radar.
We've been to Egypt when John had meetings at the Aswan Dam and in Cairo. So I'm not feeling sorry for myself at all. And, I really don't need to see Syria - especially when I found out that I needed a visa that costs several hundred dollars and won't be give to me if Israel is on my passport.
So, our schedule was changed to include more of Turkey and the Greek Isles. Works for me. This means I can leave my flack jacket at home and bring more sun screen. It means that we see exactly what we wanted to see. I've always wanted to see Ephesus, one of the oldest cities of the world, and the place where Jesus' mother spent her final days.
So here we go. We are 61 and 58 respectively, and happy to be seeing all that we will see. I'll try to keep in touch, if for no other reason than to confirm that there IS life after children yet before grandchildren. We are young enough to enjoy the trip, and old enough to pay for it.
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