For those who are keeping up, our original plan had been to be in Europe from March 2017 until Fall 2018 exploring potential locations for our next place to live, come back to the US late in the fall and spend the holiday with family, visit Cuenca Ecuador and San Miquel de Allende Mexico and then figure out where we are going to plant ourselves for the next piece of our (non-working) life. However, the vagaries of the Schengen Zone meant we couldn’t stay as long as we hoped in the EU. So, we figured we would go to the United Kingdom since Mike has never been and I have only visited London (and Leicester to meet my Dad’s WWII sweetheart and almost fiancée) but given the high summer season prices, we were worried about the impact to our budget.
As we were trying to figure out the UK possibilities, I happened to see a great business class fare sale from TAP, the Portuguese airline from Europe to the US and after some consideration, we booked it. Some of you may recall that after enduring 14 hours in economy on an overnight flight from Valparaiso Chile to Toronto after our “round the horn” cruise, that I swore (in my best Scarlett, “as God as my witness” voice) I would never do long haul in economy again and I have said for a while that after we stop work I hope never to have to fly long haul again…why not cruise in comfort instead? Well, there weren’t any affordable summertime transatlantics (trust me, even looked at going to South America) so when we saw we could fly roundtrip on lie flat seats for $1,300 roundtrip (and it is refundable) why not???
The downside is that to get this great deal we have to fly from Portugal to Copenhagen to catch a flight back to Portugal to change to a plane winging its way to Miami. So, we are planning a cheap Ryan Air flight from Porto to Copenhagen late in the day on June 27, 2018, hanging out in the airport before boarding our flight back to Lisbon early on the morning of June 28th arriving in Miami later that day. We are booked to return to Copenhagen on September 9th (maybe a Baltic cruise in our future???) so we have two full months to satisfy all our family members who keep saying, “we will never see you again” and work in the trips to Ecuador and Mexico so that by the time we finally come back in November we will have visited all the places we think we might want to retir…ahem, live after we cease work!
Speaking of returning in November, we are booked on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Star departing Rome on November 5th. This was one of the cruises I had been watching as our potential ride home but as Star is one of Norwegian’s few ships that doesn’t have a good outdoor non-pool area (where Mike and I tend to hang out when we don’t have our own balcony) it wasn’t my first choice BUT I was lurking on the rollcalls on Cruise Critic (the internet forum where I am very active) and discovered that two couples we met on our Panama Canal cruise were already booked on this cruise so decided to push the button on that too! So we booked an inside cabin, used points from our Norwegian credit card and upgraded ourselves to a balcony!
With most of the major travel planning done, we now can’t postpone figuring out any longer the two big issues of retir…ahem, ceasing work – what to do with all our crap and how we gonna get healthcare insurance. Please try to maintain your composure while waiting for that exciting upcoming blog post!